Steppin’ It Up – In-Depth Post #3

Well the past couple weeks have been busy as always, but they have also been busier on the dance front! My classes continued with my hip hip class mentor Bev and I think I have made some steps in my confidence and capabilities in our group dance!

I had two more classes with Alyssa and Elyssa at Room To Move and I am proud to say that we have almost choreographed the entire song! I should say, however, that we are only doing a one and a half minute trimmed down version. Nonetheless, this is certainly an accomplishment! As I may or may not have mentioned before, we are dancing to the song Confident by Demi Lovato in our class and are going to be filming a music video of our dance at our last class, which is only two weeks away! These classes are going by so quickly! The song has its challenges with a fairly quick beat, meaning that some of the moves are a little difficult up to pace. I have been keeping up with it pretty well in classes but I wanted a chance to really practice it out in a relaxed environment. So, this morning, Alyssa, Elyssa, and I got together at Elyssa’s house for a little over an hour to practice it together lots! We also wanted to use this time to film some clips of our dance so we can show you some of our moves and progress, however, unfortunately there were some technical difficulties in uploading them today. We filmed multiple clips of us individually doing the dance as well as together in one group however it seems that computers have caused us agony today and are not willing to support our learning as well as our mentor does! I will post again soon with the videos once Elyssa and the continual confrontation with computers have sorted themselves out.

Now for the mentoring. Bev is not going to be my mentor for the entire project, however, for the time being she is my teacher and guide in learning. So, with that in mind, here’s to address a few things about how our mentor relationship is going.

Obviously Bev is quite a bit older than me, so you could say, contextually, we are from “different generations”. In some cases this could be an issue when communicating openly with each other, however I have found that because Bev is so friendly and relatable, as I mentioned in my previous post, this hasn’t really been an issue. With that in mind I would say our mentor relationship is going well.

To answer question one of this week’s mentor relationship topics, “What went particularly well during your mentor sessions?” I would say that first of all, I have made a lot of progress! Some contributing factors to this are definitely that I am getting more comfortable with myself and also with the people around me.  As we have now had a couple of classes, the environment is starting to become more familiar along with the other people in my class and things are becoming a sort of habit. Meaning, for example, that we have our spots in the room we always stand and we know the people who talk more and who talk less in classes.

From this I have been also able to communicate better with my mentor. For example, this past week, when we were running through our dance one more time at the end of class and some of the people for the next class were waiting outside I was feeling a little uncomfortable with them watching a little through the door (I stand right beside the door). With a little encouragement from Elyssa, I wasn’t afraid to ask if I could close the door for that run through, just to make it a little less awkward. Of course Bev said that was fine, but this made me a little more comfortable practicing it that last time.

“What learning challenges emerged?”As with anything we do, the learning is only valuable if we can retain the knowledge that we have gained. This is especially important in dance as any final product relies on the memorization of not only how to do a skill, but also when and where to do it. As I said before, I have been keeping up fairly well in classes with the pace of the learning and the moves we are doing, this is a beginner class after all, but I am still not quite as confident as I should be to really do all the moves justice. To hold myself accountable for this I suggested that we (Elyssa, Alyssa, and I) meet to run through it a few times in a more relaxed environment. This was nice to do because I am good friends with both Elyssa, and Alyssa so I think we all felt more comfortable running through it and working out a couple weak spots in certain moves, like the hip sways at the start of the routine for example. Part way through our rehearsal today the three of us just stood in a mini circle and swung our hips back and forth for about five minutes and evaluated each other from head to shoulders to feet. I must say that this was very effective because by the end of it I was looking a lot more “Confident” in my posture, position, and presentation of the hip sways!

Bev has also been sending us videos, that we record of our dance each week at the end of class, to practice with. I am not sharing these because they have our entire class in them and I do not have everyone’s permission. This is another very helpful thing that Bev does to improve our communication and help us out in our improvement given the tight timeline. I have been able to practice at least a couple times each week with these videos on my own at home in a little spare time.

Question four, “What logical challenges affected your communication?”, brings out a couple things that are specific to the class environment that I am in right now. This includes, the number of people in the class, and how little time we spend working together. Though there are only around 10 people in the class, it isn’t a one on one setting and therefore some little details or moves that I could use a little help and improvement with I don’t always ask about. Not only would this take far too long if everyone asked about everything, but it would also be unnecessary for people to learn about things that they might be very good at already. Nonetheless, I recognize that this is only a class and I will be moving on to hopefully a strong mentorship in a one on one setting later in the project. And for the time being, I have been able to work through most of the little issues with things like hip sways and body rolls on my own and with some help from my fellow learners from TALONS!

It is also difficult in this class setting because we only meet for one hour each week. Which it turns out, goes by very quickly! One minute we’re step touching in warm up and the next we’re running it through from the top reviewing everything we learned on the day. However, as they say, ‘time flies when you’re having fun’, so surely it’s a good thing that this is the case.

Well that’ll be about it for now, however I’ll be back soon with some clips of what I’ve been up to as soon as possible! I’ve been having a lot of fun with this project so far and I hope I can sway into our final classes and video presentation just as smoothly!

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