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A Step to the Side
By Jul 5, 2006 Activities


If you have been to a club in Shanghai, then you probably recognize the need for people to learn how to dance. Perhaps this might include you as well? Luckily there is a lovely place that caters to just such an eventuality. Jazz du Funk serves up some of the most popular dance styles and then some. They provide classes in most any dance style you can think of.

I decided to try a few trial lessons to see how I fared in several different styles. Let's just say my dancing skills can be compared to that of a well trained monkey. First off I tried the Street Jazz class.

The name conjured up images in my head of some hoodlums dancing on the street to show of their "skillz", which was surprisingly not the case. Street Jazz is a combination of Jazz, Hip-hop and even Ballet! When we started out the routine with pirouette, I thought I had walked into the wrong studio. Though, as the lesson continued, the instructor, Liz, mixed in a variations of dance styles that seamlessly and easily blended together. Liz has a background in Ballet as well as many other dance styles, and started dancing at a very early age, as is common with all the instructors I met at JdF. Street Jazz is apparently one of the predominant styles seen in music videos.

Now that I had mastered... well perhaps not ... Street Jazz, it was on to the Funk. Funk is a fusion of street dance styles, with the main influence being new age Hip Hop. Sophie, the instructor, mixes in some African, Street Jazz, and what she likes to call "locking". This seems to involve fluid motions ending abruptly. You might want to wear a helmet. Though, even I, with my meager body movement abilities was able to keep up with her instruction... almost until the end.

The last and most interesting class is a new one at JdF. You have seen it in the countless movies you probably never watch. Hailing from the Indian big screen, this is Bollywood dancing! Yes, now you too can dance like your favorite Bollywood superstar! Bollywood is a mix of many different styles of traditional Indian dances but with an added flair for that big screen pizzazz. All of the movements incorporated into the dance are associated with an emotion. I must admit though, I was tripping over myself trying to keep up with all the hand movements, fluttering, spinning, and other emotional movements. Hafsa has been a fan of Bollywood movies and dancing to them since she was 4 years old. I really learned an appreciation for the dancers in those movies - it's not as easy as it looks!

All in all, if a big footed, off beat guy can get into these classes and come out with something to show for it, I am sure anybody could. Dancing is a great aerobic workout as well, but if that's all you want, you might be better off going to your local gym.

You can dance at Jazz Du Funk by either purchasing a membership or drop-in pass. For July only you can bring one friend alogn free with a drop-in pass. Membership details on their site.
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