A couple months ago, I was blessed with the wonderful opportunity to shoot my first wedding with Mariel & Keone Madrid. The love that surrounds these two is astounding, their happiness was absolutely contagious. I think everyone that attended could agree with me! The whole day was filled with…
First off I would like to open up by saying that I feel extremely blessed and humbled to be surrounded by so many wonderful dancers. The community I live in has anything BUT a strong dance community. My initial reaction to arriving at theTOUR was not my ecstasy of meeting great people like Lyle, Shaun, Jeka Jane, etc. But my pure, blissful joy of finally, finally being surrounded by a LARGE group of people who share my passion for dance completely wholeheartedly EMBODY It. These people not only dance because they love it, but because it is all they want and need to find blissful joy.
So I would first and foremost like to offer my thanks to all of my new friends from theTOUR, particular those of Kodachrome NC and Kodachrome VA.
Now then, off to my experience:
I arrived at the location, knowing only one person. A guy named Isaac from KNC. Needless to say it was pleasant knowing I would not be a fish completely out of water and at least know one person. From then on it was a simple transition from just chatting it up, to introductions, to amazingly fun cyphers.
The Kodachrome group quickly got together and stretched together. I was outside of the circle and as soon as a space opened up I quickly jumped up and ran for it. Moments later I look to my right and see a guy. I look back to my stretching and enjoying everyone’s company. DOUBLE-TAKE, and realize that I’m stretching next to non-other than Shaun Evaristo. The only thing I can really think to do is tell him “thank you” for coming to theTOUR.
The first piece we learned was a spectacularly FUN one by Mari Martin to Stevie Wonder’s “Do I do”:
For this, Mari had some wonderful messages. “Be happy and really enjoy dancing.” “Solos are meant to be LEARNING experiences!” To which everyone would ask for a solo and constantly say “I need to learn MORE!” hahahaha.This piece had high energy, and I admit I had quite a bit of difficulty doing the little spinny move she had us do but I still had fun!
Tony Czar then taught us two pieces, one the first day and another the next and they both had different flavors to them. One I forget the name but the other was a sexy groovy one to sequel by Bslade.
What I love about Tony’s teaching style is that he very much ENJOYS it and has a lot of fun joking with us (not saying that anyone else does not enjoy it). What I learned from Tony through his dancing and his words is to “dance with [my] soul” because ” no one can do you better than you.”
NEXT UP was Keone Madrid who taught a spectacular piece to The Way You Make Me Feel by MJ. What I love about this is that it definitely encompasses what Tony said about “doing you” however, at the same time it stresses a dancers ability to create and use a character when performing certain pieces! Such as this one that you had to put YOU into an MJ mindset.
Next up was none other than Mykell Wilson’s choreography to We Found Love by Rihanna! It had a very African dance feel to it and it was not something I expected to that song! However, it was very cool! The lesson I learned from him was to really chase your dream (as in he really talked about it). He gave a lot of awesome speeches but most of all what I got from him was “if you feel like it is what you’re meant to do then use what God gave you.”
Next up wasssss none other than LYLE BENIGA!!!
I mean I feel like this speaks for himself. He taught us two pieces over the two days, one to gimme some more by Busta Rhymes and Murder to Excellence by Jay-Z/Kanye.
Lyle is hecka impressive, he choreographed the first piece right before class started. However, the second piece is where his lesson came in. He wanted to teach us how to dance BIG! But controlled. And that’s a lot of what I got from it. However, dancing like a ninja and doing all of the moves to time was VERY difficult =]
And then, ANDYE-J!!!!
Andye-J taught a VERY groovy piece and started off the second day RIGHt with a piece to 702 by Steelo. I actually had the easiest time learning this piece because I can relate to grooving a LOT. And I just had a TON of fun doing this dance. I mean, that’s really all I’ve got to say. I also very much appreciated Andye’s “sexy dance” she would do when people were talking too much hahaha. What I most appreciate about Andye is the fact that she helped me so, so, so much while I was trying to learn the choreo. so Thank you Andye-J
Mari Martin and Keone Madrid taught us a duet piece! TO NONE OTHER THAN THEIR “PLEASE DON’T STOP THE MUSIC” PIECE!!! With this they stressed the importance of dancing with OTHERS and really bringing unity in the dance community. And Mari hilariously commented on how you can “dance with others without grinding.”
Finally LAST BUT NOT LEAST.
The tear bringer. Shaun Evaristo taught a very emotional and “simple” (i use this world loosely) piece to Who You Are by Jessie J. This piece..
was is absolutely spectacular. Never in my life had I ever felt so emotionally connected to choreography like that. Shaun wanted us to just be natural with the piece, not go hard, or hit hard, but just interpret the music as we would and come from our own place to bring it to the floor. And when he performed his solo….yeah we were all brought to tears.
I just want to say that, this was the most spectacular experience of my life. This was only the second time I have ever taken actual dance lessons because of where I live. And I could not have asked for a better experience in my life. The most important thing all of the choreographers/teachers taught was this: Dance is a community, it’s not all about yourself. They constantly stressed the importance of using dance to bring people together, not break them apart. And I would like to say that while they had some skepticism about that existing, with the existence of groups like KODACHROME:
I have no doubt in my mind that community still exists and there’s pure love of dance and each other in it.
Thank you so much Movement Lifestyle for theExperience