It’s OK If You Can’t Dance Like Usher in Hip Hop Class

I was not kidding about wanting to be Justin Bieber if I ever perform as a drag king in my last post.

I am not a great dancer, and I just take dance classes for fun and fitness, but I really like doing it because it makes me happy. What also makes me happy is seeing others dance and enjoy themselves, so I am going to try to convince you to try hip hop dance class for selfish reasons.

My qualifications: On-and-off for 5 years at about 8 different locations around the Bay Area. I have never performed, but if you want to hit me up for clubbing, I promise I’ll be a really fun dancing partner. ;)

What it is: Originally a street dance to hip hop music, it has now evolved into a mainstream dance style with various sub-genres like breakdancing, locking, popping, tutting, etc.

What you’ll actually be doing: You start off stretching and warming up, then possibly some across the door moves. Finally your instructor will teach you a short routine for the remaining of the class. Each teacher’s style is different and they can’t help but utilize similar movements, so class should become easier each time if you take it from the same person.

What you’ll be working on: Depending on the routine, hip hop dance class includes cardio and or exercising your core, legs, and arms. The trick to make certain moves look really cool and effortless is often contracting your abs or arm muscles right. If there’s going to be heavy floor work, the instructor often ask you to bring knee pads beforehand. You also really get to work on your musicality in class by matching what your body does to the timing of beats. Mostly routines are measured in 8-counts but occasionally it’s choreographed to the lyrics. And like all dances, the routine often tell a story or convey a mood so you get to use your acting or “character modeling” skills a bit. Maybe this week you’re dancing to Aalijah but the next time is Frank Ocean. Bring out your performance alter ego with facial expressions and some attitude.

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The Art of Dancing on Stage at A Club

This is an unedited photo! No filter or nothin'

It’s raining and unusually cold here in San Francisco, so I thought I should write about something that makes me feel warm and happy.

If you ask my friends, they will tell you that if there’s ANY piece of elevated space at a club, I will find it and dance all up on it. You know how cats always somehow manage to find that one tiny sun spot at the most random location in the house and lie there? This is kind of the same thing.

I don’t know why people associate such activities with out of control behavior or desperation for attention, because I personally always do it for my own sake, and I’ve definitely accomplished said act while being completely sober and without being pressured into it at all before.

[Benefits of dancing on the stage at a club]

  • Increased Dancing Space: It’s usually crowded on the floor where you cannot perform your sweet dance moves properly due to fear of elbowing someone in the face. On the stage, you most likely will have more room so you can fully extend your arms, do a twirl or two safely, etc.
  • Decreased Proximity With Others: This may sound redundant with the first point, but it’s important. Why risk having someone’s sweaty back accidentally bump into you or getting your feet stepped on when you can avoid it? How about when some dude is trying to casually press up on you like “Oh I’m sorry. I didn’t notice that I’m rubbing my crotch on your behind for some mysterious reason”? No more shenanigans like these once you’re separated from the majority of the crowd! Actually sleazy people still might creep on you, but the chance of that is dramatically reduced when what they’re doing becomes highly visible to everyone else.
  • Fresher & Cooler Air: Scientific fact due to higher elevation.
  • Better View: As a short person, sometimes the only way I can see the club in its entirety is being on a step stool alternative. Not to mention overlooking the crowd makes you feel like a rock star. BONUS: If you lose your friends in the somehow, jump on stage. They’ll find you soon enough, and you can scan for them more easily this way.

Of course, there’s a bit of an art to it; otherwise everyone and their mom will be up there, so let me break this down for ya.

[Step-by-step guide dancing on stage at a club]

  1. Get Dressed FIERCE But Also Appropriately: Yes, the process starts BEFORE arriving at the club. Gentlemen, wear your finest but do put on deodorant, because you will be on display in a better lighted area. Ladies, if you want to wear a freakum dress or a skirt, choose one that doesn’t ride up when you move. Test this by raising and flailing your arms, and jumping up and down a bit in front of a mirror. You can also solve the problem completely by wearing opaque tights, which is my favorite solution. If you choose to forgo tights, let’s keep it real here: You might want to consider a pair of underwear that is fuller-coverage, and it doesn’t hurt to pick one of your cuter ones, either, so in the unlikely event that you fall or trip, you’re not completely embarrassed by faded granny panties with cartoon characters on them. Lastly just for good measures- for god’s sake, DO NOT pull a 2008 Paris Hilton (or 2010 Snookie, whichever you remember more) and flash your lady parts to everyone. Continue reading