So, I’ve been taking an Intermediate Jazz class at school this semester to fulfill one of the last requirements I need for my Dance minor. And let me tell you, this particular class is by far the hardest dance class I’ve ever taken. Don’t get me wrong, there have been fun parts, like when we learned the I’m a Brass Band routine from Sweet Charity during the Classical Jazz unit, or when we learned the Thriller routine the week before Halloween. However, as far as the technique training aspect of the class (stag leaps, C-jumps, illusions, fuete turns, Flying Squirrels*, the list goes on), it’s really, really hard.
Hard is good, though, because that’s when one is challenged the most. It’s good for one to be taken out of one’s comfort zone once in a while. Especially when it comes to dancing, because that’s the best opportunity for growth. Today, for example, everyone in the class had to perform a hip hop routine that my teacher had taught us a week ago. All week leading up to today, I was pretty nervous about the performance because I’ve always considered myself very “white girl” when it comes to hip hop. Instead of acting insecure about my lack of hip hop abilities, however, I just decided to have fun with the routine and not take it too seriously, because after all, it’s just dancing. And you know what? I actually ended up enjoying myself and feeling good about my performance. I might have even discovered a little bit of “black girl” in me.
Now that the hip hop unit is over, we’re moving on to most challenging part of the class: working in a group.
I’ve always hated working in groups, and today was a good reminder as to why. As soon as my four other group members and I met to discuss what we want to do for our final project (choreograph a 1 1/2 minute piece using the jazz style and music of our choice), it was nothing but disagreements, whining, and stubbornness. Two girls want to dance to Michael Jackson and two girls want to dance to Justin Timberlake. Two girls want to do hip hop and two girls want to do contemporary. Even when I suggested we do a blend of hip hop and contemporary, they still weren’t happy.
Well, you know what? I want to do a vernacular jazz dance to a song by Django Reinhardt, but you don’t hear me complaining.
It’s a little disconcerting how, after only one, 15 minute meeting, my group members are already butting heads. If working together is hard now, how is it going to be once we actually start choreographing? What if we can’t find anything to agree on? What if one of the girls in my group doesn’t get her way and freaks out? I can just see the headline now: “Fight Breaks Out Between Dancers; Two End Up in Hospital”
So this whole group choreography thing? It’s going to be hard, but like I said earlier, hard is good. Therefore, this jazz final is going to take me and my groupmates out of our comfort zones, which should help us to grow as dancers. Besides, if I can survive an entire semester of C-jumps, Flying Squirrels, and hip hop routines, I can surely survive the wrath that is this group project.
*This is a dive that can be implemented into a dance; essentially, it’s where one dives onto the floor and proceeds to roll across the ground. I tried to find a clip of it on Youtube, but couldn’t find one that really exemplified the idea of it. Just trust me when I say that doing the dive is hard on the body.