Updated: Jan 6, 2022
I thought I'd try something new. Up until now, I've been inconsistent at blogging. I couldn't find my thread.
When I teach choreography, or create a piece, I always tie it back to a story. I thought I'd try using this forum to tell the stories of each, well, let's be realistic, some, of the pieces I choreograph.
"Classic" by MKTO
I first heard this song when I was living in LA. I remember blasting it on my stereo as I drove around the Valley. This song has got legs, it would carry me, lift me, make my head nod, get me singing in my car. I imagined movements to it, elaborate dance choreography that I would play over and over in my head. However; at this time, I was in the infancy, or toddlerhood, of my pole (and dance) journey and my skills didn't intersect my ambitions. I kept it on my playlist, but any attempt to create something to it, fell frustratingly flat.
The pandemic hit. Fear of the unknown was hovering around like a persistent headache. There was nothing to do. My schedule cleared. Live events, ie. my primary source of income, evaporated overnight. Everything started closing. You didn't know if getting together with friend would kill someone. Grocery stores were scary. Streets got quiet. As the world ground to a halt, I took to looking out the window, laying on my floor, and dancing.
"Classic" popped back into my song rotation. "Might as well," I thought, "I've got the time." So I spent one afternoon drafting out on my parent's patio. I got sunburnt. I also was reminded of how effective dance is at transforming you. I started that afternoon feeling afraid, but ended it feeling hope. I found it impossible to dance to this song and hold on to my fear. Dance, I was reminded, is alchemical. It has the power to transmute one energy into another.
This was the first piece of grounded choreography (NOTE: I say grounded because I started choreographing as an aerialist) that I felt excited to share. I taught it on Zoom to a few students, which was exciting, but mostly terrifying because, tempo wise, it was the fastest choreography I'd taught to date.
I decided to go back to this song for my weekly choreography classes. The day before class, I schedule time to review and refresh, but on this particular day I was hit with a depression and anxiety attack. I've navigated the cycles of depression and anxiety my whole life, but there are days, like this one, where it's all I can do to keep myself upright.
I did battle with myself to engage in the prep, since showing up unprepared feels worse by far, and was able to put it back together. Like the first time, I was surprised by the effect of the movements on my overall mood. I was reminded, again, of the power of movement to alter mindset. My depression and anxiety didn't disappear, but I was gifted some space from their weight.
Even the most buoyant music and choreography can hold more nuanced energies. This song sounds like a sunny cruise down the 101, but it also holds fearful quarantine days and the darkness of depression.
I appreciate the relief this song has offered me.