Internet — information — criticism — poetry — connection — feminism — open source — open spaces — translation — digression — recursion — boats — wheelchairs — disability rights — ranting — the future — by Liz Henry
Sleepily flicking through Instagram this morning I got a glimpse of an amazing looking dance and had to look up the full video. I saw Loyalty Dance Team at the International Hip Hop Dance Fest in San Francisco a couple of years ago (doing their stunning 101 Dalmations number). This is their Black Panther – 6 and a half minutes of pure shining talent – Fantastic choreography!
Moomin’s been going to dance camp the last few weeks and he loves it. For years we’ve noticed this club, Community Street Jam, in the local parades and downtown performances, standing out from the crowd as they dance well and have a great time. It turns out that in their unpretentious looking gym in the strip mall next to my office building they really are a fantastic community, living up to their name. The kids are hanging out, teaching each other, taking the dance classes, in a warm atmosphere that encourages creativity.
This week Moomin participated in the downtown “jam”. Along with performances and dance lessons where the crowd was invited to join in, there were a bunch of informal circles where people were doing freestyle. So as people felt like it they’d jump into the middle of the circle and do some dancing. Moomin loves to dance and is good at it, but is a little shy. I was so proud of the way he jumped in and of all his dancing!
Here, Moomin jumps in around the 1 minute mark – you can see his blue hair. He’s interested in doing handstands and spins like some of the other kids his age.
All the dances and performances were great! And especially how the audience joined in and everyone felt comfortable.
This was the finale, with all the kids participating, and very impressive and cool!
This was my favorite dance, choreographed by one of the older boys in the club, Francisco, for himself and two little kids about 6 years old. They work together beautifully and the triangular formations they get into impressed me. I also liked their choice of music, making something old really fresh.
One thing I noticed across many of the kids’ performances was the style of starting off with one song, then abruptly switching music, not blended together like a DJ or a mashup might, but just jumping tracks. Once I got used to it, it was interesting and made me think. My expectations would go one way with the first bit of the song, and then I’d get a jolt and have to adjust how I was watching the dance! Very cool!
After Moomin’s school choir concert — in which 50 kids sang Nickelback’s “Rock Star”, “Time After Time”, “I’ll Stop the World”, and (again) Bohemian Rhapsody — I tried to get him to think of some very silly songs for adaptation for a kids’ choir. He was underwhelmed by the Langley School Project version of Space Oddity, and didn’t think that Sleater-Kinney’s Words and Guitars would translate well to choral adaptation. I disagree, it would totally rock and has great lyrics.
Anyway, after that I was treated to this improvised dance to Cantaloop:
After the first minute the dance gets amazingly interesting! I like Moomin’s improvisations very much. At some point I couldn’t resist dancing a little bit with him so it’s rolling shaky-cam time.
Moomin’s school choir sings Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”. Ambitious of them!
If I didn’t totally love his choir director already, this would have done it. I’m taking suggestions for what they should put on their repertoire for next year. “Nevermind” would be just perfect.
The kids have worked incredibly hard this year. Every Monday and Friday, they got up and went to school an hour early for choir practice. I’m so impressed even with the difference since Christmas, in their timing and harmony.
Oh and… a sneak preview of next Monday’s talent show. I caught the 3rd grade at their dance practice, with an older kid as their choreographer and coach. They’re doing a dance to Soulja Boy.