WHEN I ASKED YANGIN, my homestays’ son, who is also a break dancer, about the dance scene in New York. He shooked his head and said “Hip hop’s dead, I want to go to Germany,”. The truth is, although South Bronx in New York is once the birthplace of hip hop, the dance moved out to DC, Chicago and the west coast, leaving New York deserted.
This may be true for hip hop, but for other dance styles, such as ballet, contemporary and jazz, New York still hosts the best schools in the States and in the world. Alvin Ailey Dance School is one of those renowned schools for talented kids. Situated at the Upper West Side of New York, this school is also open for public classes, with courses ranging from ballet to african cuban, from reggae to tap.
I registered myself for the extension classes, with an introductory offer of 2 classes for $25. The dance classes are wide and spacious, and you can look out and see the bustling city from its glass windows. For starters, I tried the R&B improvisation class. The assistant first guide us through the warm ups and in come this tall black guy named Tweetie who will be our teacher. He really has some interesting choreography going on in his mind, but my fellow classmates were mostly beginners and thus he had to teach real slow. I guess I should sign up for more challenging intermediate or advance classes in the future.
I peeked into one of the capoeira classes (capoeira is a Brazilian martial arts cum dance cum exercise) and was really entertained by them. Those students are only fourteen / fifteen years old max, and they dance with so much energy and force. Photography was not allowed in the school so I had to sustain my urge of capturing them in film.
Dancing still remains as my passion, and even if I could never dance professionally, getting into class can really UP my confidence level and improve my skills.