We were challenged to meet students where they were and bring a touch of movement into their day. Of course, the best place to meet other students is none other than Starbucks. All of us were challenged to teach one of the sixteen phrases we had learned to one student. We also handed out flyers to promote enrollment in the class and to spread the word that it isn’t a dance class for dancers but a movement class for all bodies and skill levels. This experience brought us closer to bridging the gap and bringing this class to non-dancers.
I faced three challenges with this assignment. The first was getting over myself. I had a lot of fears such as “they might think I am weird.” But I’ve learned that I will never understand the thoughts of another human and it is a waste of my energy to dwell on these thoughts. Next, I worried about being rejected. Most students were working on things with harsh due dates, in the middle of conferences, or simply not in the mood. Rejection in any form is never very easily taken, so this was good practice. The third challenge was the space. A coffee shop is not typically conducive to movement, but the One Hundreds were created to be performed by everyone in every space, so it was just a matter of translation.
In addition to reinforcing dance techniques, this experience also taught me social skills! It is essential to be able market ideas to people who aren’t familiar with them. I found huge success going up to people and pitching to teach them a phrase of movement. Though some said “no,” three said “yes” and performed the phrases—and sometimes for the camera! My favorite moment of the day was the look of accomplishment on their faces. I could also feel their sense of ease, as if to say, “that’s it?” Whether because of silly movements or awkwardness, the process made most people smile. I loved knowing that I added something memorable to what-could-have-been an average Thursday.
Overall, communicating the movements was not very difficult. Most people followed along while watching me and listening to the the vocabulary I developed for phrases such as “making orange juice” and “sassy hips, kicks the rock.” The most important part was that I knew the phrases well enough to teach someone else and not confuse them (or myself)!
Though the class is about movement, I learned a great deal of social and communication skills with this experience.