To open this up. This is not an attack on the soon to be said franchises and or their purpose. I stress that dance as an art form should be expressed and spread as much as much as possible.
We’re long gone pass the days of the “Dance Boom.” This was when SYTYCD got insanely popular in season 2, Dancing With Stars actually had stars, and the world was introduced to the world of Jabbawockeez. Along with YouTube dance had reached a fever so high in the world it was impossible to not know someone who didn’t do something within the context of rhythm and technique. Studios were filled of inspired and eager individuals grasping at the chance to learn something new whether it be top rock, pirouette, a grapevine..you name it.
However, eventually all things must fade. With ABDC gone, SYTYCD hanging on its last legs, and DWTS aiming more towards a more “non-ballroom” format (it pretty much is SYTYCD with “celebrities”) it begs the question of ..How does this artistic form of moving your body to music thrive? How do we keep people who dont dance, kinda like to dance, love to dance, or want to be the best at it going? Class franchises!!
Class franchises (1st of the month, Community Artistry, Hom etc.) do serve a purpose. They’re affordable for most (about 5% less than a class at BDC). They’re local to you if you live in a dance city or near one, and you get to meet up and coming talent (Some of the biggest names in the field started in some hometown one room space /exercise room with mirrors). However in my opinion there is something missing and that something is variety.
Within the ECDC which this post is mainly aimed towards there is on average15 to 20 members to a team. With no 2 dancers being the same and the average age of exposure to dance being 2, it is virtually impossible for everyone to only know hip hop or the new generations version of hip hop which is actually more so urban jazz. Which is really good. Shows that this once said fad or trend form of dance has moved on and evolved and can now fuse in with other genres. But back to these classes The line up of these workshops seems to all be the same. You have your hard hitting “hood” choreo teachers or a feminine class (which im guilty of teaching) whether it be in heels or not. On any given Friday or Saturday that seems to be what you’re getting, from the same 10 to 15 people. Nothing against the instructors because they are amazing at what they do. But what happens when they’re gone? Are we too far advance of a group that no one will take a jazz class, a contemporary class, tap, even an introduction to bboying. These workshops are aimed at growing the average dancer, but how can we if the future generation all looks the same. There are hidden gems within all the teams in the circuit (tappers, krumpers, poppers, lockers, contemporary, ballet, I recently had a discussion with someone who knows traditional dancing from China) Where is that in this circuit? Why are we so concerned on making money to keep these classes going instead of truly spreading the world of dance to the current generation and younger. And why do we use the word workshop? A workshop is suppose to aim at a skill that you either don’t know or would like to learn/work on. None of us are doing that except the occasional out of state or country dancer that gets that kind of nourishment to their craft. I understand the administrative boards of these franchises need to make back what they put in, and I get that the urban culture is really what brings the numbers into the rooms. However I believe it is only fair for the dancers to get more out of their growing and developing process.
Again this is not an attack on class franchises, teachers, or dancers. This is I guess an awareness post. I love you all in the ECDC and we’ve come a long way…but there is still work to be done. That’s all.
P.S.: I hope that this sparks a healthy conversation. I am more than open to talking about this with anyone and everyone and get their opinions and views.
I don’t understand why there are not more styles thrown into dance sets. We used to see teams show a completely different style out of the “urban umbrella” and it was at the time fantastic. However, now it seems to be lacking. Are the days gone where a team can stretch themselves into something different like Tap, housing, contemporary, jazz? Even older moves from the 80 to 90s have their technique to it. I think it should return in full force. It would show variety in the circuit and may even bring in and or bring back people who are more or less experts in their field. People who can then teach and broaden the growth in this ECDC….but maybe that’s just me.