Where Does Your Inspiration Grow?


These three Atlanta-based men Boris Penton, Andre Rucker, and Cyrus “Glitch” Spencer of “Dragon House” have created their own style, lexicon and approach to the hip-hop genre of dance.

Precise movement. Nuanced facial expression, rapid-fire footwork and flexibility from beyond, these men created something that most of the viewing audience had never seen before, and it originated in their “Dance Room” (the converted Dining Room) of the apartment they share with some 10 other people. The men showed great support for each other and encouraged one another to “Vegas-worthy” performances. If their goals were to advance to Vegas as a trio, to put the name of “Dragon House” on the lips of dance-appreciating American public, and to radiate positive energy, well, they’ve succeeded on all THREE counts.

Who knows what the future holds, but the present is what have; In the present, the great here and now, three men collaborated on a trio of three distinct yet related original choreographed works that blew my mind, made me laugh and simply wish myself and my current collaborative group of women advanced preparation, excitement, skill and confidence when (capital “O”) Opportunity presents itself in support of our goals.

THINK:: What comes to mind about your own passion when you view the videos of “Dragon House” at home, their performances and the judges response?

FEEL:: What emotions and sensations do you feel at the prospect of the first step of YOUR dream coming true? Where do you feel those sensations and emotions in your body?

GROW::What physical, psychological, informational, or practical preparation do you need to ensure your readiness WHEN your opportunity arrives? How will you manifest the means to facilitate that preparation and growth?

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Heritage Dance Day: I Heart ZUMBA!


Yes, I know that the word “love” is over-used and often mis-attributed, however in this case, it is true. I LOVE Zumba. Why? Because it offers me the present day soundtrack of my life and culture in a package that precludes the old need to go to the club to “get my groove on”. The music is current with reggaeton, calypso, bachata, salsa, merengue, cumbia and more! A zumba class allows me to dance and have fun with people who have a similar interest in dance and fitness, but instead of the club, we go to the gym. Nothing says clean, mature, generative fun like dance as exercise, then a detoxifying tour through the jacuzzi, steam room and sauna. No need to suffer the club where the focus is alcohol and other type of social interactions.

Zumba clothes are “tropi-colorful” (have you ever seen a pink home with a blue fence, green plants and colorful flowers in the Caribbean…you can’t help but feel happy!). It is heartening to learn from so many instructors who are people of color, and many participants already love to dance or learn to dance because of Zumba. Culturally, I think Zumba is doing amazing work: it gets people to loosen up, to move their body, to have fun, to appreciate Latin and Caribbean music, and it teaches the formerly “rhythmless” that dancing is for everybody!

I find all this to be soooo very appealing. It makes sense, my parents hail from Guyana, South America which means I inherited a soca, calypso and reggae musical heritage. I grew up in Spanish Harlem with Dominican and Boricua / Puerto Rican neighbors and friends, so Bachata and Salsa is part of my New York cultural landscape right through to adulthood. I’ve even studied Portuguese and Spanish, taken Capoeira from a master teacher, and rocked out in Salsa, Samba, (waltz, swing, Foxtrot etc) ballroom dance lessons. And hey, I grew up in the inner-city, Harlem, the Bronx and Brooklyn, so urban chic is alright with me!

Zumba for that A**!!!

I’ve lived in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica, and Colima, Mexico where I was introduced to Cumbia and Mexican “polka”, and I have always been an avid and talented dancer by training and by culture, though I always disliked the club scene but wanted to DANCE! Lastly, I am a teacher, and by necessity have lived my life as an ambassador, always representing “the other” everywhere I go, because, well, I am usually the only one like me wherever I go. Zumba IS an ambassadorial project and it really  resonates with my experience. I think it is amazing how many people have lost weight and learned how to dance with Zumba, including a friend of mine who shed 100 pounds this past year Zumba-ing her way to svelte-ness (Congratulations KW, you inspire me!)

So, I include Zumba in Heritage Dance Day because I claim it as my own. I spent $90 on the Zumba set and I am going to Zumba my hind-parts until the DVDs wear out. I love it, i enjoy it, and I wanted to share a fun Zumba video with you that captures the excitement and enjoyment of just dancing to music close to my heart!

Lastly, the video is to inspire you to move. Try the moves, that’s the whole point. This video can bring you 4 minutes and 4 seconds closer to the body you desire and the fun you crave! And if you make it all the way through, I won’t tell anyone if you go have a Caipirinha despues que bailas conmiga!

ZUMBA. Brazil. Caipirinha. Baila!!!

Heritage Dance Day: Guinean Music pt. 2


This song and video is called “Anagnan, and the artist is Dousouba Diabate. It makes me miss Guinea although I’ve never been there. Seriously. Once upon a time I would sit and dream with my stepfather about visiting his homeland. I imagined the sights, the sounds, the smell, the feel of the warm ground under my feet, the tickle of the breeze near the sea-shore, and the wax-cloth dress next to my skin. When I hear Dousouba’s voice it calls forth a yearning that makes me want to call my stepfather…let’s just say that after more than a year of silence between us, well to inspire that within me is the mark of a GOOD SONG!

I also love that the rhythm and guitar remind me of calypso so it feels really familiar on a cellular level. The dancers dresses are beautiful, color, tailoring, the sheen that marks a good wax-cloth. they are all clearly having fun. The male dancers are the color of life itself, all of them are muscular, gorgeous, and have amazing skin. The women are so confident and beautiful, confident in their dancing, and not concerned with how they “look”. I LOVE THIS VIDEO and SONG. Can you tell? They are beautiful black people, and they are showing us how to dance and have fun outdoors!!!!! No studio set here, enjoy life OUTSIDE of four walls.

This song inspires me to dance, and dance I shall. Won’t you join me?

Heritage Dance Day: Guinean Music and Dance

Video


“Ankanoum” by Dousouba Diabate Music from Guinea, West Africa.

My stepfather who hails from Guinea, West Africa introduced me to music from the region. I love to dance, and am a born soca and calypso dancer, so I took to this style of music and dance like a fish to water. I LOVE IT! I love it so much that it inspired me to start the Heritage Day music series on think. Feel. Grow!

This video is a real treat. The people dance in a lovely yard with trees and giant agave. We can still read visual cues that convey the attitude of the performers with knowing the language. Everything is purposeful in this video – the costumes are intentional, and planned to complement each another. The women have different body types, they reflect the real women of their country, and all of them can DANCE!

Enjoy the dance, the guitar melody and the vocal harmony. Notice that men dance differently from women, almost physically specific: men gyrate and thrust, women roll their hips, shoulders and make elegant hand movements, each to a different rhythm in the music. Whatever moves you choose, the feel is graceful. Just flow, roll, bounce and sway and pick your feet up off the ground slightly with each movement. It’s a great way to get your cardio sweat “on” while learning new rhythms and ways to move your body!