Wednesday, February 23, 2011


It’s been a little project heavy around these parts lately, and from the most recent blog posts, you would probably think I do nothing but craft, eat and decorate all day. And you’re close.....
But once a week I put all that to the side, throw on my baggiest pants, my toughest expression, and I break it down- in my hip hop class.

Yep- this little blonde girl is learning to tear it up.

I danced for years as a child (and have the embarrassing photos to prove it), so I’m familiar with a lot of different styles...But I wouldn't say I’m good. I’ve never been flexible, or the quickest learner in the room. But I have enough natural rhythm to get by. And perhaps the most important part: I love it. I’ve taken a few classes since I moved to Pittsburgh....but never committed to a weekly schedule. Our weeks were always too crazy with Young Life and other commitments to find time to go to a class regularly. But not anymore!

So a few weeks ago I jumped (jazz leaped?) at the opportunity to get back into dance. Point Park University, a local performing arts college, offers community classes for regular people like me, who wish they were dancers. They offer a ton of styles, and the best part is, the first week of the session is free- so you can test out as many classes as you want! So of course I dragged people with me to check out things out, and help decide which class I wanted to take.

First up- Jazz, with my friend Meg. She recapped it beautifully, and I promise she’s not exaggerating- the two of us were pretty much a disaster. Every time the Beatles sang “Help!” I tried not to convulse into giggles, because man, did we need help. I couldn’t get the counts right, the teacher kept forgetting the routine, and due to a series of spin moves on the floor, I ended up with bruises on my knees for weeks.
Overall- I gave it a B. I liked the style, and the music was fun, but I’m not sure that the free-spirit attitude of the teacher would jive with me long term. (I need a little structure in my class...even if I don’t know how to follow it).

Next- Modern, with Dustin (I didn’t have anyone else to go with, so he finally caved and agreed to accompany me....and we’ve never let him hear the end of it...). This one was MUCH more structured (as in, the teacher told Dustin to spit out his gum mid-warm up, and then made him do a plie in front of the class to show how not to do it.) and longer- at an hour and a half. By the end I was so sore I could barely move...It was certainly great exercise, but I was worried if I could hang, week in and week out.
This class gets a B too- the instructor was fantastic, and the dance was interesting, but the slooooooow cello music just wasn’t doing it for me. I get antsy. I need to shake it....

Finally- Hip hop, with my friend Lindsey, and a friend from work.
I was a little scared of this class, because I had taken a few hip hop classes there with another instructor, and knew I would be WAY out of my league. For some reason being bad at hip hop is worse in my mind than failing at any other dance. I mean, if you’re bad at ballet, you just need more training. But if you can’t hip hop? You’re not cool. But I figured at least I had company, and thought if all else failed, I could combine the running man, and the sprinkler, and tell people it’s my signature street move. (In the previous class I took, after the warm-up and routine, my teacher made everyone circle up for free-styling. Seriously. You had to stand in a circle, and clap, while everyone took a turn showing off in the middle. I would have rather peed my pants in front of all of them. Which I practically did every time I was forced to solo.) So yes....I was nervous, and not the least of my fears was what I was going to wear. I agonized over it, and lamented the fact I don’t own any high tops, and eventually landed on bootcut yoga pants, a loose tank top with a hoodie on top, and my running shoes. I figured it was close enough.....

And then we arrived.
And the class pretty much looked like this:

And all of a sudden, my outfit seemed to make me look a little more like this:

For real- there was a guy with TWO pairs of brightly colored sneakers. Like, just in case he wore one pair out from dancing so hard? There was also at least one girl with a head scarf, and several with their hair in cornrows. And everyone seemed to have gotten the “you’re only cool if you roll up one pant leg” memo. (Except they probably communicated it in hand signs. Memo’s are for losers.) But the best, was what we referred to as the 7th Grade Gang, a group of 4 girls who could not have been older than 13, who I am positive could, and would beat me up in the parking garage after, had I given them a reason. They were popping and locking things they don’t even have yet.

And I haven’t even shown you my teacher yet...I pretty much want to be her. So, to say that we were WAY out of our league is an understatement. Especially when the class actually started, and we realized this stuff was fast. And hard. But it was SO. MUCH. FUN. After a few minutes, I didn’t care what I looked like, and just got into it the best I could. I got a great ab workout, learned a new song, and laughed (at myself) a ton.

I’ve gone a few times since then (dragging a different friend from work each time), and though my outfits haven’t gotten much better, and my dancing hasn’t really improved, I still really love it. Someday I’m hoping I will look like this:

But to be honest, I’d settle for this:

For those of you who want to get your groove on at home, here are the songs we’ve been jamming to (and hopefully the level of hood in these videos gives you an idea of what we're dealing with here....):
Beautiful Monster- Neyo
Down on Me- Jeremih featuring 50 Cent
Massive Attack- Nicky Minaj


  1. This is the greatest - I don't know what I love more, the pictures of you and your hip hop class or the thought of Dustin doing a plie in front of the whole class. I am super super impressed that he went with you to that and super impressed that you are sticking it out in the hip hop class. I have the love but lack the ability or I would love to take classes!

    One complaint - next class please sneak a camera in and get some pictures of your actual class - or at least you! Seriously - my curiosity is sparked! :)

  2. oh courtney, i WISH i was there to come with you to take that class!!!! i will be signing up for one one of these days :) LOVE that you are going to PPU too!!! when dustin told me i was so excited. i was also so excited when he told me he took a modern class :) way to go!!! not many guys would do that, but that's so awesome that you went together. so cultured are you two :)
    again, move to philly! :) hehe.

  3. You're too funny, Courtney!

    I have no rythmn. In fact, I'm pretty sure I can't even SPELL it. That's how bad it is.

    However, in a secret life, I give J. Lo a run for her money!

  4. See, this is why we need to live closer together. I could so be that old mom who has no gangster (or is it gangsta) in her but goes because her daughter does. Is there a Mommie and me hip hop? Maybe there is a need out there....More fun that planning parties???

  5. This post made me laugh really hard. Also...Darby just blogged about pininterest. now i know what it is/you still need to get a tumblr since theres like a million year wait list for the other thing. we will talk. you will be convinced. it will be great. you will so lucky to be friends with meg she makes my life easier.

  6. somehow i missed this post before. we both share the "i want to be a real dancer so bad" part of the brain. no really, we do. enjoy the classes - they sound great!