I remember it well

Took a class from Cat Cogliandro, absolutely heartbreaking and amazing!

When people ask me why I take contemporary classes when obviously I’m never going to be anything comparing to those who have trained for lives, I always say that, contemporary dances always remind me of who I am, not as a dancer, but as a person.

So many people have the opportunities to get trained since they were little: ballet, tap, and then when they got older ballet transferred to contemporary or jazz or both. I didn’t, and maybe that’s why I still have the freshness every time I walk into a class, because there is so much I can learn still.

Or maybe it’s because, when I step in a contemporary class, I don’t have the weird burden to “win over” anyone but myself.

Yes you have to be competitive, but have you realized that with a college/professional training mindset, you always want to do/look better than “someone”? If you don’t, good for you. I had one of those times, and I still have. I care about where I am instead of who I am among my friends or fellow dancers. When there is a limitation of “slots” or “tags” in a community, I want to fight for that.

It’s like a side effect, when I take a dancing-makes-me-happy pill. I care about the dancers around me, and I cared too much.

College students dancing hiphop is like a guaranteed success once one is included in a community, and that is what I don’t see from the individual dancers in New York. For college students, it seems that everyone has a back-up plan of doing something else and any failure will simply be a “choice” of not accomplishing this. In addition, because almost everyone is new to the (hiphop) discipline in college and because it’s college, sometimes the way people’s dance being judged appreciated is just …… weird. Drama and stuff, and self confidence and other stuff. meh. I’m not saying that in New York or in a professional world there is the fairest judgement or zero drama, but at least I feel that there is always a “because” after a specific opinion — “I like how she moves because ……. ” “I don’t really like this style because ……” “I will choose not to hit this move because ……” “He is amazing because …….”

*****

I guess then it made me very happy when sometimes I can just dance to something that reads my hearts. I like contemporary, like I’m the kind of person who never actually listen to Chris Brown or Kayne West or (sorry I don’t know a lot of them lol) if I weren’t dancing to it in any of the classes. I love soft songs and guitars and great vocals.

And maybe contemporary dance teachers are just amazing enough to really help everyone on the floor. I’ve taken Derek Mitchell, Tracie Stanfield, Ellenore Scott, Eric Campros, and Cat Cogliandro so far in BDC. Most of the time I’m the stupidest-looking person on the floor: having trouble since warming up, stumbling through the across-the-floor, and then getting lost in the leaps and turns. At the beginning, I felt bad to be in the class because I made the class look bad. Nevertheless, when I got a little bit better at it later, I realized that maybe how good/bad I was didn’t actually matter to anyone else.

Everyone started fresh; I’m just an older seed that was just put into the soil. Maybe in my life time I’ll never grow high, but I’ll strive to see the sun.

When I’m in the soil, I’ll never be able to see how everyone else grow. The strongest ones already have their roots strong and deep, and that’s cool. I just want to see the sun.

*****

Cat Cogliandro’s class today was amazing; her choreography and most importantly, her words.

She is just the right person for dancers who are uncertain of themselves. She told us to not care about the judgements from other people, about whether you are good or not. She told us to set our goals for the class, accomplish it today, not tomorrow. She told us to leave the stress and the little unimportant angst that made us annoyed before this class, and to learn how to deal with them.

Most importantly, she told us to accept ourselves, to not fix anything on us and just stare in the mirror looking at ourselves. Because what you wear doesn’t make you a better dancer, your body, muscles, and strength makes you a better dancer. Accept who you are and how you look like. At the end of the class she played one chorus ahead and let us stand very close together and improv/interact with each other. Because so many of them are mature dancers, the interaction turned very emotional for everyone. The fact that everyone is so honest to each other makes me happy and grateful.

*****

Almost to the end of the class today, I thought to myself “what is this class for?” Everyone is rich enough to afford taking a $18(or$15) class on a Saturday morning, and get those trainings before this class that make them look stunning today. These people are the luckiest of the luckiest people in the world but why are they still so emotional and sad? What are they referring to in their lives when they dance?Why can’t people who truly need to be healed have access to classes like this?

It makes me ponder.

*****

The song “I remember” by Damien Rice 

 

 

 

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