Thursday, June 05, 2008

questions for the master of dance

“I’m going to ask you something, and I don’t want you to think I’m making fun of you.” Tiffaney was addressing the entire Beverly Hills 24 Hour Fitness hip-hop class. “If you walked up to a bunch of guys in South Central, what do you think they’d think when you started doing this?”

She proceeded to perform the first four counts of our routine like a cheerleader. Instead of thrusting her arms and legs forward in the slouchy, angry postures of hip-hop, she jabbed at perfect angles, kept her back straight and marched like the Rose Parade was following closely behind.

I could see her point, but I also had some questions I did not pose to Tiffaney-with-an-E-Y, competitor on TLC’s new reality show Master of Dance:

1) Okay, Tiffaney, we know you can do it right. You have enough formal dance training that you know that different types of dance live in different parts of your body, the way that different languages center themselves in different parts of your mouth. You have a perfectly flat stomach and you can krump like you don’t live in Venice…but what would a bunch of guys in “South Central” think if you walked up to them and did tonight’s routine, correctly or incorrectly?

2) Because would you go up to a bunch of guys in South Central?

3) Which people are calling South L.A. these days?

4) Or “114th Street” or “115th Street” if you’re into certain kinds of distinctions that you’re probably not into?

5) How many dance studios do you think there are on 114th Street?

6) Because even though I believe authenticity became an archaic concept around the time some people crossed a land bridge from Asia to the Americas, if you’re going to invite a new dance into your body, you should invite a new language into your mouth and your mind. (Sorry, I know that’s not a question so much as a short rant.)

7) Is the Master of Dance just the person who grabbed the most moves from the most cultures and looked the blondest and skinniest doing them?

8) And finally, what was that move after we go down on eight? The one with the shoulders? Because I’m pretty sure I’m doing it wrong.


Tracy Lynn said...

I never trust people who spell their names oddly. What Tiffany with a Y not GOOD ENOUGH for you? And how many fucking Tiffanys', with or without the oddball spelling, do you think there ARE in South Central LA?

Some people need to shut the fuck up. Of course I mean that in the gentlest possible way. Did I mention that I don't feel well and therefore may be a little cranky?

Jesi said...

why would anyone care, whether they were in south central LA or south central IA, if somebody (white, black, girl, boy, etc) could do any kind of dance (hip hop, polka, swing, etc.)?

i sure don't. but oops, i'm just a white girl in San Diego. so i guess i don't count.

Claire said...

Ooh, do you think she's seen Bring It On: All or Nothing? 'cuz if krumping has made it to the Bring it On franchise, you know it's actually time to take it to the streets. ;)

Cheryl said...

TL: I share your distrust. I love unusual names, but people who give their kids zany spellings of common names are basically just condemning thems to a life of having to repeat themselves to customer service reps. If you want to be unique, go all the way and name your kid Xochiquetzal (I love that name, but I would not love it so much if it was spelled ZocheeketZall).

J: Because on STREETS, dance is EVERYTHING. Or so a bunch of movies tell me.

C: Awesome. I was basically a Toro cheerleader in high school, and by the time we learned a dance move, it was a good indication that that move had left the streets.

Peter Varvel said...

Ha ha ha ha ha!
SCREW Tiffaney and her vestigial vowel, as if THAT'S going to make an actual difference in her career.
Why not 'TiphaeKnee?'
Does she even remember that dancing in whatever style you're able to is also supposed to make you feel good and happy and pump you full of endorphins?

(sorry it took me so long to get in here after bumping comments with you in Noel and Prince-land)

Veronica said...

...and that's why i can't do hip hop.

Cheryl said...

PV: Thanks for clicking on over!

V: I'm kind of longing for a jazz class right now. I'd love to do more turns and Fosse-hands and less ass-shaking....

Anonymous said...

Omg, this is hysterical. I've never seen this before. Nor did I really follow the first initial blog...... Lol, I'm pretty sure I'm the "Tiffaney" this is about since I was on Masters of Dance and once upon a time taught hip hop @ the 24 hour fitness in BH CA! Unless I'm common. Doubt it.
First of let me clarify dance is the easiest way I know how to connect into being One with the Universe.
Second, I taught dance in South Central LA through a grant from the Nike Go program through World Fit For Kids and took those kids to a number 1 international dance title. I'm a big kid at heart, in my opinion we can learn from everyone if your open to it. Those kids taught me as much as I taught them and I hope they carry that experience with them as much as I do. :)
Thirdly, if anyone's dropping some dope skill on the dance floor, damn skippy I'm learning it right there! :) I don't care what your zip code is, I don't care why you dance, I connect to peeps through music and movement, yeah so what I've been formally trained, but I seeked that out. Dance is my number one passion in life, music was my first language, ask my mother. Plus I'm hyper, sitting still is not an option for me. Dance on sisters and brothers

Anonymous said...

Ps, I've been told the reason my name is spelled differently is because of the birthing drugs my mother was on when I was born..... I don't remember that far back. ;)~. Omg though it is soooooo annoying w/ customer service reps for sure!

Anonymous said...

I had to re-read this a couple of times to find your questions. At first it read to me I danced like a cheerleader, which I don't unless that's the style I've choreographed something to or in this case I'm guessing or assuming I was showing the correct style and feel of a movement vs the incorrect style and feel. I do apologize if I offended the blogger here because that would never be my intention.
What would guys think if I walked up to them and started dancing correctly or incorrectly......
That would depend on the setting. ;)~ However, I've been in multiple dance settings where I've done just that and had it done to me. When someone appropriately steps into your dance space my experience is there is mutual respect established. I've gone rounds before with people on the dance floor, it's fun and actually a really fun way to vibe and riff off other dancers. Your teaching and playing with one another through dance and music. Before I got my formal dance training to follow my passion for choreography, I was an informally trained freestyler. Dancing was the one thing I would do for hours on end by myself when I was younger.
As long as I stepped to them respectfully I would receive respect back and vise versa. Would I step to them? If I was vibing there movement, yes.
Which people are we calling SCLA? The people who live in SCLA...... My guess is here I was acknoweledging who originated the dance move and style period. That would be passing on who originated it.
I've only seen one dance studio in SCLA. Yes, I've actually been to SCLA on more than one occasion. I don't remember what street it was on, but it was across the street from a large church and there is a very charming book store near it. The sad part is, no, there aren't very many dance studios in SCLA, that I've seen anyways. This makes me sad and I hope that changes.
I can't help but chuckle at your next question. I have no idea either, but remember the saying we heard as children. Never judge a book by its cover. ;)
And your last question, sorry this was so long ago I have no idea what choreo I was teaching that day.
I hope you're all still dancing and try not to take things so personal. When a teacher is teaching to a large adult class they have multiple learning styles they need to address so everyone is learning and with adults we all need to have our big boy and big girl pants on. Life is in session, sometimes we may miss interpret what another person has said and that's ok, but it's not ok to let it negatively effect us and how it effects us is entirely up to the receiver.