Blog Story by Alyssa Crump, Marketing Intern
I had been looking for this place for awhile; a place where after majoring in dance in college and becoming a dance teacher myself, I could finally dance for me. The first thing I felt when entering Joy of Motion Dance Center was welcomed. I’m not going to lie – I was nervous. I hadn’t taken a dance class for myself in a long time. Years! And taking dance class is a skill all on it’s own. But, what I encountered when class began, quickly made my fears vanish. The first two classes I took my first week were with Vanessa Carmichael and Vincent Williams. Both were held at Friendship Heights, and the minute I walked in the building I could feel the atmosphere of community permeating throughout. Once in class, I was amazed at how apart of the community I already felt. I didn’t stick out like a sore thumb because I was new, I wasn’t overwhelmed by new choreography, and though challenged, I didn’t feel harassed or judged. The teachers welcomed the class with open arms, eager to share their exuberance for dance, music, and movement. These classes made me excited to dance, and excited to be with people that shared my passion and joy for moving. For the first time in a long time, I was looking forward to returning to class, challenge myself, and move with joy.
My first class was Vanessa Carmichael’s Low Intermediate Modern. Vanessa’s class was a mix of Horton and Graham techniques with Afro-Caribbean influences. The class was non-stop, but not overwhelming. The movement was sensual and strong, and immediately made me feel more in tune with my body. This class had definite emphasis on movement of the spine and pelvis, and as someone whose back is in perpetual knots, I definitely appreciated that. This class made me move my spine in ways that I hadn’t in a long time. After class my body felt open, loose, and fluid like water. I felt strong and like I could move in any way possible. I will definitely be returning to Vanessa’s class.
That following Sunday, I dropped-in to Vincent Williams‘ Advanced Beginning Jazz. Vincent is an Energizer Bunny! We began class with stretching and conditioning, focusing on our legs and core. He kept us motivated and smiling the entire time with his exuberant energy. We never stopped moving. Not even to learn a combination. Vincent had us move with him as he taught, and then he would effortlessly pass the torch to us. The class exhausted and energized me at the same time. At the end of the class we were all sweaty, tired, and beaming from ear to ear.
After my first week’s confidence boost, I got my wake-up call when I attended Maurice Johnson’s Street Jazz class the following week. Street Jazz is a mixture of jazz, hip-hop, and bootcamp! This class had me drenched – I mean disgustingly dripping with sweat within the first ten minutes! The high cardio warm-up instantly reminded me of a cardio/conditioning class at a local gym. We did everything from jumping jacks, to lunges, to planks, to burpees but with a dancer vibe. I did my best to keep up, but my stamina and strength were obviously lacking compared to the other fierce ladies who take Maurice’s class regularly. After a killer workout, we twerked to a combination set to Missy Elliot’s “Lose Control.” The combination was fun, sexy, and fast; things that are not my forte’. But, it felt good to push myself out of my comfort zone. I kept thinking of my mantra, “dive-in and have fun!’ Maurice’s class pushed me in ways I was not prepared for, but I am so glad that it did.
Which class pushes YOU to the limit? Which drop-in class would you recommend to someone wanting to get back in to class after a long hiatus? Leave me comments in the box below!
See you in class!
JOMDC Marketing Intern