Archive for dance

Film Fridays: Old Choreography I Did For Jillian Michaels


Hilarious! Plus I got all my friends hired. Lol

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Marital Mondays: Step in the Name of Love

“You want to build the foundation. Then you can add the style and flavor. Once you have the foundation, you can do this dance for a lifetime and always come up with new combinations — new ways to move together.”

When I led a timid, confused Hannibal onto the glossy hardwood floor of a surprise “Urban Ballroom” dance lesson, I expected to lock hands, get into the groove, and learn — you know, kinesthetically. It turned out that everyone usually arrives a little late, so we ended up getting a fairly private lesson. I could feel my impatience boiling beneath the surface of my forced smile as the instructor talked and talked before we even got to do the first step.

Then I put my excitement on pause, and really tried to live in the moment. Maybe this fast talking, middle-aged cat from the south side of Chicago had a message that I could apply off of the dance floor. He never made any assumptions, nor did he reference marriage at any point, but the tools necessary to carry out “steppin'” gracefully seemed to parallel those of a relationship so well — once I got over trying to hurry up and get my boogie on.

“Relax your shoulder.” “Let him lead.” “Live in the pauses.” “Trust your partner.”

While Hannibal focused on my waist and nearly busted two blood vessels in his forehead trying to stay on count, I had my own set of issues. I had to fight back my desire to take over and turn that “mutha” out, not break into the cha-cha, relax my elbow on my turn, keep the beat with my feet like a metronome, and somehow enjoy myself in the process. Umm … yeah. My hips still hurt just thinking about it. Did I mention that I wore 5 inch zebra print heels trying to be cute?

Sometimes marriage is like that. Each party is doing their own thing, and even though they are communicating, they forget to enjoy the pauses. The trust gets muddied when we think, “Well, I know she slips in this area, so let me just pick up the slack for her without even letting her know what I’m about to do” or “He doesn’t do this part as well as I do, so let me put some of my expertise on it for him, even though it might cause him to accidentally stumble in another area.” In both the dance and the relationship, we are each in control of our respective areas, and we must maintain that while still being aware of the other’s responsibilities. It’s all enough to make a person get too nervous and just sit down, but while managing all of the aspects, both parties have to look and feel relaxed. Let’s just say, I became aware early in the lesson that Hannibal and I are still very much newlyweds — both on the dance floor and in our daily lives.

The amazing thing is that we actually did learn a lot of dancing! He was building the foundation with both lecture and kinesthetics. While it wasn’t necessarily the way I would have delivered the lesson, I learned so much more than Chicago Steppin’. The teacher had achieved his goal of “not building a house of cards,” and he even managed to teach us a few turns. By the last half hour, we were sent onto the floor to practice our new technique alongside the intermediate/advanced latecomers. I’m not sure I’ve mastered “staying in my lane” (in any aspect of my live), but we had a lot of fun laughing at ourselves and feeling on each other.

Staring at Hannibal’s pelvis for two hours wasn’t bad either.

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Film Fridays: Cee-Lo’s “Cry Baby” is Lovely, But …

Urkel needs to take a few dance classes. *chuckle*

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Workin’ Wednesdays: Myshell Does Burlesque?

Cat Daddy’s burlesque night club in Jamaica hired my design company, Suuru, to design signage for the front of their property. I had actually created this artwork for a dance company in the midwest, but they said the girl was too sexy, because there are children in their company. That’s understandable. I was able to repurpose it for something much more appropriate — a burlesque club with a twist.

Despite its name, Cat Daddy’s is an underground night club for women in Jamaica. The only daddy involved is the guy who owns it. Lesbianism is not widely accepted in Cat Daddy’s town, so the establishment chooses not to have a website. Word of mouth and a password are the only way to find this club tucked away in Kingston.

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Workin’ Wednesdays: DJ Smiles Davis

I recently had the opportunity to work with DJ Smiles Davis on the redesign of her website.  She was a pleasure to work with, and it is always wonderful to meet a fellow artist.  During the process of working on her site, I grew to enjoy her mixes — often designing with them playing in the background.

Some people would be satisfied having major accomplishments in one artistic field. Many people train their entire lives and never achieve that. DJ Smiles Davis, however, is not “some people,” and is well into her second successful career, providing the sonic backdrop for musical superstars like Erykah Badu, Janelle Monae, Mayer Hawthorne and Questlove.

She began her professional life with her feet, not her hands. As a company member with the world-renowned Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, she became such a sought after talent that she also served as a movement coach for multiplatinum artist Lauryn Hill and a back up dancer for both Lenny Kravitz and Missy Elliot.

An injury stood as an obstacle in her dance career, and part of her rehabilitation led her to discover her love for turntables. As a dancer, she’d always had an intense relationship with music, but becoming the one to control the groove instead of riding and interpreting it offered her a new avenue for expression.

The music inspired the look and feel of the design, and Smiles was pleased with the outcome.

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