Dance. Dance is in the most dynamic sense, is the truth. It is the essence of what music makes you do without you thinking about it. It's letting the feeling that a sound makes have control. And then doing that. The free-est form of expression. Dance.
What it means to me personally, is...I don't know. When I was younger, I was doing a lot of different things. I was sort of trying to fit in. I was young, and my mom moved around a lot of different places. I never really kept friends for too long. I was always one circle to another circle to another circle. So I sort of picked up a lot of different things on the way. Then I became more of a dancer when I was in junior high school, when I had decided I really really wanted to dance. What it meant to me, in my youth, it was a connection. It was a way to speak without speaking. I could make myself understood without explaining myself. When I was a kid, it was very important to me to make myself understood. It's important for all children to make themselves understood. Especially at a certain point, they're feeling themselves out, and developing into what they will be like when they get older.
And that's what I was using dance for. Dance was my developmental key. It's a way that I can control my path through dance, because it's something that after awhile I learned how to do it pretty well. I don't know if I can call what I do dancing well, but I think I express well. I think that I try to show people, or try to open the door to my own mind. The way I'm moving is not necessarily the way I'm thinking. It's not really me in control all the times. The music takes over sometimes. So I let it. And for me, that makes dance a very special thing. It's my incentive for living.
It's controlling the energy through the music. It's controlling...it's control. When you think of control, it's something I meant to do. "I meant to do that". But there's something that happens in every movement, and if you meant to do that, then you truly have control. If I did something, and it made you feel a certain way, and I knew that I would make you feel that way, then I really have control. That's me, having control of the movement.
Like a singer, say a gospel singer. There are gospel singers that can sing one riff...one line...of vocal gymnastics that will shake you. It will make your heart drop, almost like you want to cry. You don't even know why you're crying. You may be crying because you'll never be able to do that. Or you're crying because it made you feel a certain way, whether it's special or scared... It made you feel a certain way. When a person can do that at a moment's will..."let me make you cry", it's manipulation. It's total control. It's building confidence, and that can be overbearing at times, but there's a confidence that it spawns. Having control of the moment, is something that I'm addicted to. I'm addicted to taking control of that moment, at that sound, at that time. Right on that time. That trumpet. That hit. That explosion. Musically, you hear it. Rhythmically, you hear it. And then if there's someone that's able to help you visualize it, then that's the ultimate dance control, I feel. If I can tell you my story, in so many words, or rather, in so many moves. If I can tell you how I feel, with a combination of moves, that I just thought up, right now, on the spot. Then I have control of myself. Then I know what the move can do...Or what the spirit can do to the move, and what the move can do to your spirit. And that's all in a moment, when the music takes over and it's going... It's moving, and you have to catch it. So that's basically what you're doing. We're all sort of catching up. And we're trying to get to tha tpeak. That peak moment. There's something there, whether it be a bell, or a gong, or an explosion, or a trumpet. There's something there. In some way, you have to figure out a move that expresses that. A move that makes that more vivid, more colorful. That's what we are. We're the brush that paints the picture. We show so much as dancers, that I don't think we're fully aware of how much we have to show. We're so busy trying to show ourselves, sometimes when we see another person on the outside, or see it and understand it, is all the incentive you need to go further, and to get better, at controlling more moments.
But, going back to your question, what dance means to me. Yeah, dance is a very special thing to me. Because of all of those reasons. But I'm really really really working on being in tune in being in control with every aspect of my movement. It's something, I want to make you feel a certain way. That's what I'm working on when I'm dancing. I'm not really anyplace else.
The spirit moves. The spirit moves is this film from the late 30s, pre-war 30s. It shows our father's fathers, the dancers before us, shows we're all doing the same things. We're not really doing anything original. All of this has been done before. We're just doing it in our generation. But a lot of this is just history repeating itself. Constant vibrations of the same combinations. Do it at the right time, then you will never be forgotten.
I started as a hiphop dancer. I wasn't a very good breakdancer, I wasn't good at all. I used to pop and lock and stuff like that. But you know...nothing to write home mom about. I would say mediocre, I won a couple contests, I won even more battles. But it didn't move me. It didn't stir my creative juices. I felt that at a certain age, especially after high school, I was looking for something different. And a way to deal with my youth, my youth in revolt. I was trying to figure out a way to live in this crazy world. And house just seemed like the best thing to do at the time. I didn't know at the time that it would be so special, that I would be so special to it. I didn't know that it would take me this far. I did it because it felt good and it made me feel good, and it made people feel good by doing it. Almost to the point that a stranger would come up "do that thing, do that thing you did again". Some people are amazed at the simplest things, the things that you feel or might do very simply. I dance, because it's just in me. So I feel like it's the best thing to do. So I just dance. It wasn't a conceived notion, it wasn't planned. I didn't plan to be a dancer.
So yeah, my great grandmother used to put me on her feet, and move me and made me dance. While I was standing on her feet. Looking at her, "what are you doing?" "Stand on my feet, stand on my feet" So I think that's the earliest thing I remember about dancing. The first thing that I remember about dancing, is how good it made me feel. You don't really even know if you're doing it right. You don't even know if it's making you feel good. The music makes you feel good, so it makes your body do something. A baby will like a certain song or a certain sound, and they start moving to it. So it's very natural. And that's what I mean by "some people are amazed by the most simple things", because it's a natural thing, movement and dance. I think people get caught up in so many other things, that they miss it.
The thing about house that moves me, is that it stood out. It's very different from hiphop. "In which way, please?" Well, in hiphop, in a lot of dance, you have a lot of repetitive movement. We have the same thing. But it doesn't have to be so neat. It doesn't have to be so perfect. Sometimes you do a spin, and you want to just do a spin. You don't want to do a pirouette, you want to do a spin. In here (ballet studio), a spin is a pirouette...it has the same value. So you don't have to conform your body in a certain way in order to look good. It looks good if you're doing it with some love, and some strength, and whatever you put into it is what we see out of it, if you're clear. But house was a way that I could express that. House was a way that I could make that movement mean something. Other than that, I was just moving like everyone else. I wanted to move like me. It's hard to do that when everyone is doing the same dance, and moving the same way. So as a dancer, as a true dancer, to myself I felt that broadening the spectrum of movement and soaking up as much as I can. And once I had it, it was like: I have some of these things, and people are telling me that I look good while I'm doing it. But there are people that want to know how to do the same thing, and they can't seem to make it connect. And that was where the teaching came in. And I knew that I had a knack...well, my mother's a teacher. I had a knack for being able to break down this movement.
@20:13 in dance studio
It's soul, it's so inside you, that it wants to get out. You're just a host, you're just a body. There's so much inside you, there's a spirit inside you. That makes you jump, that makes you laugh, that keeps you from being sad all the time. There's a spirit inside you, and music talks to that spirit, if you let it. This all has to do with the millions of ways that your body can move, and millions of ways that you can move to any kind of music. House sorta fits in that way, you're listening to old school classics. And later we'll be listening to more up-to-date stuff. But the rhythm is still the same. And think of that like your heartbeat. If it stops, then you die.
You ever hear disco, when you hear music from after the 60s, in the 70s, after the way. Rock and roll came. And people were experimenting with different drugs. And growing their hair long. And stopped wearing the suits. And started going out. And black people and white people were going to clubs and meeting each other. It was still taboo, still kind of weird, still kind of scary, but music and dance were these social things that we all needed in order to get away from "hey that guy's a different color, and her hair's different".
It's club music. And clubs and discos were social things. It's where people went to meet each other. And music is what kept them from fighting and killing each other "because you're different". That's how we were outside the club. When we got inside the club, you get to dancing, and you're looking around, and you don't know anybody, and you're feeling kind of shy, but you have a couple drinks, and you feel like raising your hands up, and get a bit more free. And through that freedom, is where we found each other. And it is a peaceful nation. It is a higher state of mind, because we are all on the same plane. We are all in the same room, appreciating the same sound, together. But we were all doing our own thing. it's togetherness.
There's so many things in this world, that people are going to tell you or people are going to do and say, in order to seperate you from what you feel and love. You follow your heart, and your heart is never wrong. Your heart will tell you where to go. Even if it's for a short time, even if it's for a moment, your heart will tell you where to go. House, told me to be here. Something told me that this is more than what it seems. So I had to make more of it. So I'm walking my road, I'm still trying to make more of this dance. And one of these days, they'll remember me. They'll be like "that guy was in it to win it." He was there, and he wanted to make changes. That's what I want to do, I want to make changes. I want people to look at the dancer, I want them to see us and respect us as dancers, no matter whether we put fifteen years into it, or five years into it. We do something that you do too. We connect here. That's what we have to do, moving things around, and start connecting with each other. It's about music worship. It's church. We go, and we rejoice, and we worship the sound that people have put together for us. It's appreciation. It's a way to give and take at the same time. It's an exchange. But it's a beautiful exchange. It's not something that makes you feel bad. You don't feel bad, because you didn't really lose anything, you gained more than you gave. And now that you gained so much, now you have to give more. So it's sort of balanced.