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‘The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill’ Tour!

Tour image from Red Rocks.

In May, I took a Bucket List trip to Denver, Colorado to see Khalid in concert at the famous Red Rocks Amphitheatre. While I was waiting for the show to start, I saw the image above flash on a screen promoting a concert in September.

“The Miseducation of Lauren Hill 20th Anniversary Tour”, the screen said. What???

Ms. Lauryn Hill, and specifically “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill”, changed my life. In a previous blog post, I named it one of three most-influential albums of my life thus far:

The Fugees’ album “The Score” was one of my first tastes of hip-hop. I loved it, so when Lauryn Hill debuted her solo album, I was all over it. And wow. I would venture to say this album has had the most impact on me, musically, in my life thus far.

This was a popular one, selling 1 million copies in its first month (8 million copies in 4 years), and it remained in the top charts for 81 weeks. At the time, Lauren Hill was an icon, and her album was everywhere – even later being placed on several “Best Album Ever” lists.

But in 2000, Hill basically disappeared from the public eye, and stayed hidden for nearly four years. To this day, anytime I see her on TV, I’m shocked. I know that a lot of artists describe an album release as having a child, and she also had a REAL child, after her album release… and I think that album was a once-in-a-lifetime thing.

Regardless, I respect her tremendously, and frankly, I don’t know where I’d be without “Ex-Factor”.

I LOVED “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” – despite the fact that I was in 8th grade and she was singing about things I knew nothing about at the time: abusive relationships, abortion, paving the way, and maintaining your values as a woman when society pressures us otherwise.

And yes, Ms. Hill did disappear from the public eye. I didn’t know it then, but even though her album received loads of accolades and awards (including Grammy’s, Billboards, MTV, and Vh1, among others) – it was the first hip-hop album ever to win Record of the Year at the Grammy’s, but it also received harsh criticism – people saying she didn’t even write the lyrics.

These musicians sued Ms. Hill and she settled for $5 million. Rumors swirled that she was racist, and that she’d lost control, mentally. In the few interviews she did, she said she felt trapped by fame, not being able to go public places. Her level of success was rare in those years.

…Which is why I was so shocked when I saw the screen saying she was back on tour. I knew I had to go because she may never tour again. So I looked to see where she was stopping on the tour, and Sugar Land was the closet option. Done and done!

After I bought my ticket, I dug through my remaining collection of CDs – those so meaningful I couldn’t get rid of them. I still have my original disc of “Miseducation”, but when I tried to play it in my car, most of the songs skipped. So, I got a new, digital copy, that I’ve been listening to. I still love all of the same songs I did 20 years ago, and listening to “Zion” gives me chills.

A month or so ago, Ms. Hill was in the news – a jazz musician went on a popular radio show and told the host (on air) that she didn’t write the lyrics to her album, that she only played different arrangements of those songs because she didn’t have the rights to the original versions, and he also noted a time when he auditioned for her and she demanded he refer to as Ms. Hill, among many other allegations.

Ms. Hill responded to him publicly, in an essay that addressed many of the rumors that have swirled around her for years – you can read it here.

I do not hate white people. I do, however, despise a system of entitlement and oppression set up to exploit people who are different. I do loathe the promotion and preservation of said system at the expense of other people, and the racist and entitled attitudes it gives rise to. The lengthy history of unfairness and brutality towards people of color, especially Black people, has not been fully acknowledged or corrected. The expectation is for us to live with abuse, distortion, and deliberate policies, meant to outright control and contain us — like we’re not aware of our basic right to freedom. I resist and reject THESE ideas completely. Like many Black people, I work to reconcile my own generational PTSD. I do my best to Love, pursue freedom in body, Spirit and mind… and to confront.

Throughout the essay, Ms. Hill reminded readers that she is a mother of six, she paved the way for women in hip-hop and R&B (many artists, male and female, list her as one of their top inspirations), and of her groundbreaking past with The Fugees.

While I felt that she didn’t owe this explanation to anyone, it made me love and respect her so much more. This is a woman that was, and still is, before our time. I’m grateful that her art set the stage for me – for the music I listened to and to help me understand some of the things I’ve faced in my life.

So, tonight is the concert, and well, I don’t really know when the last time was that I was THIS excited. I have no idea what to expect (I’ve never seen her live before), what the crowd will be like, heck, I don’t even know what I’m going to wear yet. But I’m looking forward to living in her world for a little bit.

It’s funny how money change a situation
Miscommunication leads to complication
My emancipation don’t fit your equation
I was on the humble, you on every station
Some wan’ play young lauryn like she dumb
But remember not a game new under the sun
Everything you did has already been done
I know all the tricks from bricks to kingston
My ting done made your kingdom wan’ run
Now understand “l-boogie’s” non-violent
But if a thing test me, run for mi gun
Can’t take a threat to mi new born son
L’s been this way since creation
A groupie call, you fall from temptation
Now you want to ball over separation
Tarnish my image in your conversation
Who you gon’ scrimmage, like you the champion?
You might win some but you just lost one
– Ms. Lauryn Hill, “Lost One”
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Listening: ‘American Teen’ by Khalid.

LOVING this album!

In early June, I was flipping stations on Sirius XM, and came across a song called “Location” by Khalid. I immediately liked the beat, so I kept it on, and I was blown away. I wrote down the song title in my phone so I could look for it on iTunes later.

Well, later turned out to be on my flight back from Indiana, and I listed to this track on repeat for longer than I’d like to admit. I love it! Even after I bought the rest of the album, this track remains to be one of my favorites.

I don’t wanna fall in love off of subtweets so
Let’s get personal
I got a lot of cool spots that we can go
Tell me what’s the move and I got you
I’m only acting like this ’cause I like you

-“Location” by Khalid

I quickly purchased another track (“Keep Me”), and after listening to it for hours, I bought the rest of the “American Teen” album, which serves as Khalid’s debut. And yes, he’s a teenager (19), singing words that are well beyond his years.

I’m a little late to the game here – the album was released at the beginning of March this year, and it’s getting rave reviews (rightfully so). I haven’t felt this way about an album in awhile – and by “this way”, I mean, I listen to it constantly.

I like listening to albums the way they were intended: in the order of the tracks on the album, before I start mixing things up. And this one, I listen to in my office, my car, I listen in my kitchen when I’m cooking dinner, and I listened all through the Dallas airport. It’s incredible.

Some of my favorite tracks, aside from “Location” are “Shot Down”, “Keep Me”, “American Teen”, and “Another Sad Love Song”.

I must be honest, I have a lot of pride
But I’m broken inside
I guess this sounds like another sad love song
I can’t get over how it all went wrong
But, I let the words come together
Then, maybe I’ll feel better

-“Another Sad Love Song” by Khalid

MTV named Khalid their Artist to Watch for the month of July, and they’ve been playing video clips of him, including an acoustic performance of a popular track, “Young Dumb & Broke” (watch it here). And here’s some of what the New York Times had to say about the album:

That’s an almost universal teen conundrum, something Khalid acknowledges throughout this song with constant use of “we” and “our” (“We don’t always say what we mean,” “This is our year”). He’s sketching a generational mood, and drives the point home when at the end of the song, the digital shimmer falls away and, backed by only an acoustic guitar, a group of young men — high school friends from back in El Paso — bark-sing Khalid’s chorus. It’s a campfire singalong, a signifier of tactile humanity for a singer who knows how technology both redeems and corrupts.

“American Teen” is a promising amalgam of bedroom art-soul and 1980s new-wave pop maximalism, and a union of lonely-boy mirror gazing with a sense of larger cultural purpose. It most vividly recalls the promise embedded in the soundtracks of John Hughes films — that an outsider’s story might in fact be the thing that can unify and move millions.

Some of the songs have an upbeat undertone to them, but overall it’s a pretty chill album. I hope you guys will check it out – if not, I’d love to know what you’re listening to right now!

Okay, Drake, I hear you.

I think I'd lie for you.

I think I’d lie for you.

A few weeks ago, I took a 10-hour road trip (that’s 10-hours each way, which ended up being a good bit longer, but whatevs). I had to rent a car for my trip, because, well Jeep sucks (a story for another day), and about five minutes after I picked up the rental SUV, I realized just how spoiled my every day car has me – I love my Sirius XM!

I couldn’t figure out how to change the station in the rental car for the life of me – and anything I could find was definitely in Spanish. Not going to fly for 20 hours in the car. So, I drove right on over to my favorite place – the library – and checked out some audiobooks and some CDs. Here’s what I found:

“Hozier” by Hozier

This album includes the hits “Take Me to Church” and “Someone New”, so I was excited to listen to it. I absolutely love “Someone New”, but I was pleasantly surprised by the entirety of this album – it’s one of those you can listen to from beginning to end and enjoy it as a whole.

The album is a bit dark, lyrically and in sound, and it’s a bit gritty – but if you’re into soul, I think you’ll love it. One of my favorite songs is called “From Eden”.

This album really makes me want to see Hozier in concert – I can already imagine how much he would jam out!

Babe, there’s something tragic about you
Something so magic about you
Don’t you agree?

-Hozier, “From Eden”

“I Am Not a Human Being II” by Lil Wayne 

A long-time Weezy fan, I was really looking forward to hearing this album. However, I am not quite sure if there is any piece of work from Mr. Carter that can compete with “The Carter III”. Sorry, not sorry.

“I Am Not a Human Being II” however, brought us “Rich as Fuck” (with a killer beat) and “No Worries”, which is a song that will definitely put you in a good mood, if you’re not already:

What I love most about Lil Wayne is his ability to go bold and not give AF; and okay, he also spilled some clever, witty lyrics on previous albums that I’m straight up jealous I didn’t write. But, I have to say I rarely heard that on this album. It’s more about sex, and sex, and well, just lots of sex. Sorry, Weezy, can’t relate!

However, I did really like a track called “I Ain’t Nervous”, where you can hear a littttle bit of the Wayne we know and love:

Have my pants saggin like fuck it
I’m still on my business, spent my birthday in jail
I was making bad decisions, saw my enemy at the light

“Bangarang” by Skrillex 

I had the pleasure of seeing Skrillex live last year at Hangout Fest and was blown away by how fun he was! Plus, I love his SnapChats. While I’m a little obsessed with his work in JackU, I admit I’d never listened to an entire Skrillex album – until I was driving across Texas around 6:30 am.

Holy craaaaap! If you need a wakeup call, just pop in a lil “Bangarang”! I’ll be honest here, this wasn’t my usual cup of tea, but it was fun to listen to while on the road. Here’s the first track on the EP, “Right In”, and it will give you a good taste of what you can expect from the rest of the album:

“Nothing Was the Same” by Drake

Yes, I have a few random Drake songs on my phone, but I’ve never really paid tooooo much attention to the dude until this summer. I have a special attachment with “Hotline Bling”, and absolutely love “Too Good”. So, when I saw a few of his older albums at the library, I snatched them right up.

“Nothing Was the Same” was released in 2013 and brought us “Started From the Bottom” and “Hold On, We’re Going Home” – both songs I love, and they both give us a taste of Drake as a lyricist. I’m obsessed with the line “I’ma worry ’bout me, give a fuck about you” – cause that’s just where I am right now.

The song I kept replaying had to be “Worst Behavior” – as its thick beat is perfect for in-car dancing and general bad ass swag.

“Thank Me Later” by Drake

This album came out in 2010 and served as Drake’s debut – and damn, this one blew me away. The album starts with “Fireworks”, featuring the one and only Alicia Keys, and has some fantastic lines in it:

I missed them before but won’t miss them again
I keep having the same dream
And I think that I just realized what it means.

This album also brought us “Fancy”, along with its title track. But, the song I kept bumpin’, kept repeating, and ultimately the reason I ended up buying the album, was “Show Me a Good Time”. The beat, the words – I cannot help but dance to this one, and I really would love to see a performance of this, because it’s just so damn fun!

So yeah, I’m looking forward to continuing listening to Drake – the old and the new; and now I’m just dying to seem him live. I know, I’m basic, but if it means dancing to Drake and finding some lines to live by, I’m all about it.

Fuck a fake friend, where your real friends at?
We don’t like to do too much explainin’
Story stay the same I never changed it

-Drake, “Started From the Bottom”

Dancing, auditions, & the feels.

Open dance auditions for the 82nd Academy Awards.

Open dance auditions for the 82nd Academy Awards.

Two Sundays ago, I went to “Dance to Breathe”, which was described as Austin’s Choreographer’s Ball benefitting The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The show, which featured a performance from each of Austin’s dance studios –  note: Austin has a lot of dance studios – was about two hours long, and made me realize that I’ve been taking classes at one of the best studios in town.

A few months before that night, I’d auditioned for the finale piece of “Dance to Breathe”. It was my first audition ever – outside of trying out for dance team when I was in middle and high school – and the dance was VERY difficult. There were about 40 people crammed into a room made for probably 15, all of us trying our damnedest to “Get in formation” with the style of Beyonce.

When it was my turn to perform what we’d just learned, I basically just froze. I think I did about two moves, and just tried to keep things moving. I knew I wouldn’t get chosen (and I didn’t), and I was okay with that.

The thing is, I’ve never had “real” dance training. I learned general jazz technique at a class held at a gym when I was in 6th grade. My 8th grade dance team experience was more of a pom/cheer moment. Once I got to high school, our dance team performances were held at a dance studio, and we did practice leaps and proper turns between learning new routines.

My freshman year of high school, I was put on the dance team as an alternate, meaning, I had no secure spot on the team; I would only perform if someone was sick or injured. But, I attended a UDA dance camp that summer with a few other girls from the team. We learned some of the most difficult dances I’d ever seen.

We were low-budget, but our coach recorded our practices, and we critiqued ourselves, late into the night, perfecting these new routines to compete with, and eventually perform during basketball half times. My hard work earned me a permanent place on the court that year.

Despite dancing my way through high school, I didn’t perform or practice at all until I moved to Austin. When I was searching for a studio, the thing I liked about this one in particular, was they let anyone who wanted to (and who was willing to pay a fee) perform on stage twice a year in a showcase.

Count me in! I became a member, attend at least three classes a week, and performed at my first showcase in February. I loved it!

And the thing is, I’ve always dreamed of being able to perform, whether it be as a professional halftime dancer or in theatre, knowing that at some point, my body probably wouldn’t be able to sustain a career on that path. Even now, today as I type this, I’m recovering from a neck injury I got last week during a hip-hop class – I’m getting old, guys!

So much to say that I wasn’t upset when I didn’t make the cut for “Dance to Breathe” – dancing isn’t something that comes natural to me. I know I have to work at it, and often, I have to work more at moves that others can pick up in a second.

The host of “Dance to Breathe” was a well-known choreographer named Willdabeast. Here’s the scoop on him, according to his website:

Orignally from Indiana, Will “WilldaBeast” Adams moved to LA to pursue his dance career. Dancing for artists such as Usher, T-Pain, The Black Eyed Peas, Jason Derulo, Zendaya, 5th Harmony, Demi Lovato, GLEE, X-Factor, Nissan, MTV, Butterfinger, and Madonna he found a love for choreography. This allowed him to choreograph for artists including T-Pain, DJ Tiësto, GRL, Erika Jayne, ABDC, So You Think You Can Dance, and Nike.

In 2013, Willdabeast created the dance company immaBEAST and dropped the first official video “Dope”. Since then, immaBEAST has become one of the leading brands, companies, and influences in the hip hop dance world.

During the show, they showed his reel – snippets from the work he’s done – and my jaw was on the floor. And then, when he said he was from INDIANA?!?!! Whaaat?! So cool.

At the end of the show, he said that it was his first time in Austin and he’d never seen a dance community be as supportive as we were to one another – cheering for everyone as they performed on stage. “You don’t get that in LA,” he said.

I thought about my dance studio and how we really do encourage each other to WERK IT. When we’d performed in the showcase, the owner of the studio got on stage and explained to the crowd that everyone was welcome at her studio; it was a place to be accepted. The showcase was the result of that; anyone could get on stage, and we’d practiced our asses off to not look like fools – I’d spent hours in my kitchen, using a broom handle in lieu of a cane, to practice our group routine to “Pony”.

Last weekend, the studio held auditions for their next showcase – their first ever summer performance, and as far as I know, their first time requiring auditions.

I signed up to audition for two pieces; for two of the classes I take each week. I got a good night’s sleep the night before, I put on a little makeup (had to go with the sparkle eyeliner), and went to the audition.

And… it was TOUGH. I think I sweated more during the 30-minute audition than I have in an hour of class. My first audition was in stilettos to Beyonce’s “Freak-’em Dress”. We performed the dance several times, and again if our numbers were called. Mine was; so I went again, as the studio owner stood in front of me with a clipboard.

As we stood there, near-30 of us, in a number-order line as she looked us up and down, then back at the clipboard, I thought again about what she’d said on that stage months before – that everyone could get on stage.

Apparently not anymore.

The thing about auditions is that; they’re grueling, stressful, and oftentimes a giant disappointment – it is, as they say, the nature of the biz. Some people say that auditioning is just something, in itself, that you’ve got to get good at in order to make the cut.

In just these three auditions I’ve had, I’ll say there’s definitely an art to it – technically you’re being judged from the moment you walk in, and I had one choreographer tell me they’ll eliminate you if you dance when he says “listen”. Fair enough. Others have told me to nail the first and last move, or to rock the freestyle part, or to just get really great at facial expressions. It’s a science.

After my back-to-back auditions on Sunday, I was exhausted. I didn’t think I really had a shot at making the cut – although I was proud of myself for not just freezing and standing there like a jackass.

But I went home, and the news of the tragedy in Orlando started to sink in. A club; where people were dancing. Dancing is supposed to be a universal language; the one that breaks the barriers and brings us together. And I know the attack wasn’t against dancing, but it hurts my soul.

To soothe it, I ate cheap ice cream bars and watched approximately nine hours of “Dexter”.

Yesterday morning, my empty email inbox confirmed what I thought – no showcase for me. Sure, I was disappointed. And I bet I will be for a little while. There’s a big chance that my body isn’t cut out for the auditions and performances like it was when I was 16.

But why does it have to be the same people that win over and over? When are they really going to just let us be free; and let us all dance?

Album review: Purpose.

Purpose Album Cover

Sexy.

A few weeks ago, we were #Blessed with the release of Justin Bieber’s latest album, “Purpose,” (his 6th number 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart) and I don’t know if y’all understand just HOW excited I was about it! I pre-ordered the album about a month before its release, and waited until midnight the night before/day of to see the “Download Complete” confirmation on my phone.

Since then, I’ve had lots and lots of time to listen to it – and believe me (Belieb me? No?) I have listened to this album TONS of times. I listen to it at work, in the car, while I’m getting ready… it’s ON, and I’m quite amazed at just how good it is. And no, I’m not just saying that. I’m not going to steer you wrong folks. So, below I’ve got a track-by-track review of “Purpose,” for your enjoyment.

Mark My Words – The intro to the album. I’ll admit, it’s kind of cheesy. Given that one of the released tracks is “Sorry,” this entire album seems like The Biebs is on a mission to prove himself, yet again, even though it’s completely unnecessary. The Beliebers will love him no matter what! And yes, this is one of the songs Justin admitted to Ellen, as being inspired by Selena Gomez.

I’ll Show You – While slow and beat-heavy, this song is a giant EFF YOU to the haters.

Sorry – I’m sure many of you have heard this one, and I really do love it! It’s not the best track on the album, but it’s a fun one to dance to.

Love Yourself – This could EASILY be the next single off this album. It’s got a catchy jingle to it and the lyrics are pretty clever: “And if you like the way you look so much, baby you should go and love yourself.”

Company – This is my FAVORITE song on the album. It’s incredibly sexy, and it starts off slow, with a pickup after the intro, featuring some solid beats (perfect for body rolls and cracking the faux whip – am I the only one that does that?). Favorite line: “You don’t gotta be my lover, for me to call you baby.” Whewww!!!!

No Pressure (feat. Big Sean) – And right here is my second favorite song. While a little less sexy than “Company,” this song is an absolute plea for whoever this girl is to answer his calls. I’ll tell you what – if he was calling me, I’d ANSWER. On the first ring.

No Sense (feat. Travis Scott) – This one has one of the best beats on the entire album, and a catchy hook, “It don’t make no sense ‘less I’m doin’ it with you.” I’ll take it.

The Feeling (feat. Halsey) – This could be a club track, period. It’s got that mix of slow and fast, with all kinds of techie upgrades added in. Not to mention Halsey’s sweet voice.

Life Is Worth Living – A slow track, nearly a ballad, but it’s not focused on love, but more how to survive the daily STRUGGLE. Because, it’s so hard being Justin Bieber.

Where Are U Now – I am kind of obsessed with Jack U, so since they had their little fingers on the first single for this album, I can’t help but love it. Bieber has a different version of this song that he’s sang live for years, and has been open about the fact that it’s about his dad. But it’s unclear if this one is as well.

Cotopaxi_giving_guide_v07Children – I’ll admit it, this one’s a little weird. It talks about “all the children we can change,” then straight up bounces into a rave-worthy EDM track. Huh? It’s a good one to listen to when you’re driving in the pitch black on 290 West… just an observation.

Purpose – The album’s title track. It’s catchy, I’ll admit it, and while it’s not my favorite, I do like it the best out of the other slower tracks.

Been You – This is easily the ear worm on the album. I was running errands a few weeks ago and caught myself in Lowe’s dancing to it in the hardware aisle. This is a nice revisit to his pop roots.

Get Used To It – This song is creeping up to be one of my favorites. The storyline actually reminds me of a guy I’m sort of kind of talking to right now (shhh). So, basically Justin Bieber is swooning this girl, saying he knows she’s been in bad relationships, but now she should “Get used to” him calling, checking in, just to see her… it’s sweet. I love it!

We Are (feat. Nas) – Pure R&B right herrreeee. This is a good one to turn way up in your car… trust me, I do it every morning around 8:40 on Mopac South.

Trust – This is the one track on the album I’m not a huge fan of. I’m not saying it couldn’t grow on me, but as of now, I’m not too into it.

All In It – This feels like your obligatory inspirational track, though it’s upbeat and fun… and I’m not going to sit here and act like I haven’t been dancing to it in my car…

What Do You Mean (Remix) – The remix of the hit single features a woman’s voice as well, which is fun… but it ain’t as fun as the original!

Before I bounce on my way, I wanted to mention that today is Human Rights Day. There’s a ton of hate in our world right now, and the only thing I can think to do is mention the positives.

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If nothing else, check out their website! They’re doing good things all year ’round, and support great causes.

Pic of the Week.

Shot glass shelves.

Shot glass shelves.

Well, I realize that for a ‘Pic of the Week,’ this is a pretty subpar photo. I was too lazy to get on the ladder, and to be honest, I’m terrified of that damn ladder.

But! I’m pretty proud of this little project I accomplished, so there it is. Assembled shelves that are now home to my tacky shot glass collection.

I got the shelves from Ikea — I think they were a whopping $4 each — and they were really easy to put together. Although, I about fainted when I saw the back was VERY similar to the back to that invisible shelf I attempted to hang awhile back.

However, I got a little smarter this time ’round, and dropped dabs of paint where the nails should go, so when I held the shelves up to the wall, I marked the walls in the perfect spot. It worked and I hung the shelves in under five minutes. Voila!

Two shelves were enough to house my current collection, but I have a third one for the ones to come.

I started my collection many years ago, because I love looking at tacky souvenirs. Shot glasses were an easy thing to start collecting, because well, I love taking shots, and they are inexpensive, and every souvenir shop is bound to have them.

I realize at my age, a shot glass collection is probably inappropriate, but I’ve never been one to worry about things like that. So, there it is, my tacky shot glass collection right in my living room!

Meanwhile, I signed up to take a six week dance series class — ‘Six Weeks to Sexy’ in which we learn a dance over a six-week period, and the dance is in high heels and it’s to The Weeknd! YAASSSSSS!!

I’m so, so excited to have some fun with this one. We had our first class last night and it was packed full of women who were ready to rock out in their stilettos… it was a blast! I’ll definitely be posting some video the more I learn.

Pic of the Week.

My dance class options!

My dance class options!

Last Thursday night, I did something I’ve wanted to do for a really long time – years, even. I took a dance class!

On the surface, I know it doesn’t sound like that big of a deal, but I’ll explain.

I started taking dance in 7th grade, at a small athletic club. It was a jazz class, and even though it wasn’t very technical, it’s where I learned the bulk of anything technical – turns, leaps, barre positions, and transitions.

We learned a routine, practiced for weeks, and we performed for our family and friends. It wasn’t my first performance, but it was the first time I made a mistake during one – and my dad burst into laughter, Uncle Frank style.

Later that year, I tried out for the middle school dance team. I didn’t make it, and I knew why. I practiced, but I didn’t smile! So, I worked my booty off for the next year, and tried out again. And I was thrilled when I saw my name on the list!

We practiced all the time, and we got to wear sequined uniforms and perform with Pom poms.  Our coach was a Colts cheerleader. We even placed in a competition that year.

Once I got to high school, I tried out for their dance team. I made it, as an alternate. That meant, I’d have to learn all the dances but I may not get the chance to perform them.

When our coaches said we could go to dance camp that summer before school, I jumped at the chance. Although it was some of the hardest training I’ve ever received, it was a ton of fun. Because of my hard work at camp, our coach gave me a spot on the team – I wasn’t an alternate.

I was lucky enough to dance on that team all four years, and served as team captain for two of those years. Dance has never come easy to me, while I have always loved music, my body moves differently, and I have a terrible short term memory.

But the years of work I put in rewarded me in a way that’s tough to explain. Dance, as an outlet, a sport, and as a team was there for me for every downfall, from breakups and my parents divorce, to school stress and even, sadly, the death of our coach.

Dance gave me a way to cope and it gave me confidence. But once I graduated, I quit dancing, for no other reason than just… Writing took over.

But I’ve missed dance a lot, and lately I’ve really wished to get back into a studio. So, after some researching, I found one that looks fitting. They teach hip-hop, jazz, modern, funk, and even cheer. Holla!

So, I went to an advanced hip-hop class last Thursday, and although I struggled along, I had so much fun! My teacher was so nice, and suuuch a cool dancer.

I was so, so nervous going into class, I felt sick. I didn’t know anyone and I didn’t know if I would be able to keep up, or if I would just look ridiculous. But everyone was kind and just wanted to let loose.

After class, I downloaded the song we learned a dance to (Superego by Disclosure, below), and have done a little practicing since. Tonight is my second class, and I’m pretty pumped to see how it goes.

Truthfully, I’m probably about two twerks away from breaking myself –  30 feels like 50 should, but I’m determined to give these moves a go! (I’ll be sure to post video once I feel my moves are good enough).