Brenda and Barry’s Intensive Dance Workshop, January 3-6, 2011
With brilliance and creativity that knows no bounds, I call this: The Orange Room. The Orange Room is also known as the medium studio at Springstep
, a dance studio in Medford (Boston), MA, with an unusual design and excellent facilities. David and I joined nine other students and two instructors – Brenda Russell and Barry Douglas – in The Orange Room for four days of workshops that looked beyond the “what” of dance into the “how” and “why”.
We cover many subjects, such as: body awareness, posture and alignment, strength and flexibility training, base movements for blues, African dance, African-American Jazz, isolations, turns, rhythms, advanced movement drills, choreography, dips and tricks, competition, performance, teaching, community building, integrity and leadership.
For me, the focus of the classes was on using body awareness, posture and alignment, and movement from the core to achieve all the other things she lists. I liked that the class was so focused on such basic things; to me you have to have your your basics right before anything else will improve, and when you fix your basics, the rest follows. (I am also convinced that this is generally true for most things in life.)
Lessons were scheduled at the dance studio during the day, 9:30am to 6:00pm, but often we covered additional optional material in the evenings back at the hotel. We also tried to get in some social time at the hotel where we were all staying.
In the hotel lobby Wednesday night, we were hanging out by the bar and Barry showed the group a trick for remembering a particular move. (I am off to the left of the picture, still at the bar, deep in conversation with a tango instructor.) That was a particularly fun night. We danced in the lobby of the hotel to the music on a nearby laptop, we talked and all had a couple of drinks, and as the evening continued instructors began arriving for the weekend, so our group grew in size.