You know how when you claim to have been dancing HipHop since you were seven, people assume you are really good at it? Well, there came a time where I started to believe that I was good at it myself too…
I always stood at the front left. In performances I was placed centre stage. Mothers walked up to me and complimented my skills. Little kids stared in awe. These few affirmations led me to believe a career in dance could be quite probable. My dream of dancing for Michael Jackson constantly grew. When that was no longer possible I imagined myself the owner of a world-renowned dance company..
When I left for New York, I left knowing I was at my best. Nothing could stop me – not even pure contemporary lessons and no more hiphop. I would return just as much a star!
I hadn’t danced hiphop since before my departure, in July.
My perception of my talents shattered this past Monday.
Yes, I might have mastered the hiphop style of that specific choreographer; but that’s also the only style I know. On Monday I attempted to try a new style, a new teacher, a new studio. Full of spunk, believing in myself, knowing I’m actually not bad, I entered the room in my Sarah Lawrence Tank and cute polka dot pants.
Never did it dawn on me that I actually might suck at other kinds of hiphop…
The warm up was fine, full of basic movements I was already familiar with: There was the wave, isolations, second position pliés – the works. I was feeling good, confident, myself. Contemporary and jazz are all great and all, but hiphop was the only dance I ever really felt comfortable in and it was amazing to finally be back at it…until we got to the choreography, aka my predestined meltdown.
Some would say, it’s a new teacher, so I need to get used to his way of teaching before I can really get in to it. Agreed, that is important. But in this case specifically, I don’t think my movement mess-ups were due to the choreographer merely being a new acquaintance. No, I think my mishaps were more along the lines of “I have lost my swag, my coolness, my inner gangster, my hiphop-y-ness”… it wasn’t a good day.
I realised, by never ever testing the waters elsewhere, I had just plunged head first into a battle I could not win. 13 Years of only one hiphop style is a biggie. You don’t mess with that. And I did. Oops.
This never occurred to me while learning ballet, dancing jazz or rolling around in modern. There I always seemed to come to terms with the fact that “I was better at hiphop, I’m only here to have fun and not be amazing, I have more experience in hiphop etc etc”. I also always went to different teachers and somehow managed to cope. Knowing my “true calling” was actually more urban-based helped me keep my head up when I was stuck doing one pirouette in ballet while the rest was twirling 3. Monday changed everything. Monday told me that maybe I should rethink things…
I found myself suddenly feeling better in jazz.
Is a more classical path my actual calling after all? Maybe. But I will give myself one more chance and will brave the hiphop class once more, only this time I’m making sure to “swag myself out” in baggy pants, Adidas trainers and a gold chain necklace… superficial hiphop style might help me out a little 😉
With attitude and nail polish, Anoushé xoxo