What does “Nuh Behavior” have in common with “Dutty Wine” and “Willie Bounce?” If you said they are all Caribbean Dance Hall moves, you would be right! And I can promise you, they are just as awesome as they sound.
If you dabble in dance and you love hip hop, but want to mix in something a little raw and earthy, check out the newest dance class in town. It’s “Adult Hip-Hop Fusion” and it’s at Coronado Academy of Dance. Dance pro Trevor Van Orden teaches the class Thursdays at 7:15pm and Mondays and at 10:15am.
This isn’t a Zumba class. (Although I do love me some Zumba.) And it’s not Hip Hop Cardio (which I also like.)
“I teach it like a real dance class,” says Trevor, who also dances professionally in addition to teaching classes. “We warm up and stretch, and we work out parts of the body that every dancer needs.”
That means a high-cardio warm-up “so you can make it through a routine without being out of breath,” says Trevor, some abs, some arms, and some serious stretching. Then you move to the side of the dance floor for some “across the floor.”
That’s where the traditional approach ends.
“I call it Hip Hop Fusion because we are mixing in modern, jazz, and Afro-Caribbean dance moves,” he says. “You’ll learn dance combinations and new styles, all while keeping fit.”
Last week we danced to some super-fun Caribbean music and a modern African hip-hop track. “These are moves you would do at a carnival,” says Trevor. “Possibly drunk!”
This, I can do!
But make no mistake…it’s not silly stuff. You’ll be expanding your dance I.Q. while you break a sweat.
“It’s not just a workout,” says Trevor. “You are learning the art form at the same time. You are learning who inspired each dance move, and where each move came from.”
I found myself totally digging the dance hall moves (see some examples above.) Not just because they have funny names like “Tek weh Yuself” and “NoLinga” but because they are seriously rad to do! The dancing feels entirely different from jazz or even hip hop classes I have taken before. And how can you NOT smile when you do the “Wacky Dip?” Exactly.
“You’ll see lots of this style in the Justin Bieber video ‘Sorry,’” says Trevor.
Finally, at the end of class, we went to the center of the floor and learned a hip-hop combo. Just challenging enough that I didn’t quite get it, but accessible enough that I didn’t leave in shame, crying uncontrollably. (But it did make me want to go home and practice.)
Trevor (who is 26) says he is mainly self taught—he taught himself to dance at home watching YouTube. But his interest in dance started in an unlikely place…at New York Bar Mitzvahs.
“I grew up in New York and I’m Jewish, so yeah, I went to A LOT of Bar Mitzvahs. And I just started dancing!” he said. “I remember I had a hurt leg one year, but I just HAD to go out there and dance to the Cotton Eye Joe.”
While his mom made him take Marital Arts classes, Trevor would watch videos on YouTube, studying the different choreographies. Eventually he found his way into the dance studio, and into a dance company that brought him to San Diego.
Trevor continues to dance and perform alongside his teaching gig, which he hopes his students find inspirational. (He teaches Jazz and Hip Hop to kids at Coronado Academy of Dance, in addition to the new adult class. My daughter Marley currently takes his intermediate Hip Hop class and loves it.)
“I’m a dance teacher who is still dancing and performing,” he says. “I tell my students when I go out on auditions, and I tell them if I got the part. If you apply yourself, this is what you can do!”
So why an adult class, why now? And at a studio that is really known for teaching kids?
“Well, I was teaching a class, and all the kids are down here dancing, having all the fun,” says Trevor. “And I’m thinking, wait! It’s time for the adults to have fun too! And I got my class.”
And if you are worried about trying a class because you think you might suck, don’t worry.
“I haven’t taken a dance class in 20 years,” said one dancer at the class Thursday night.
But by the end of the hour we were all throwing down the “Willie Bounce” like pros.
“And another thing is, I don’t just leave you out there,” said Trevor. “I’m dancing with you the entire time, sweating with the class. And it’s good because I make mistakes too. You don’t have to be perfect all the time to be a good dancer.”
So here’s the real question. Living in Coronado, we are used to seeing some amazing dance teachers come and go.
“Are you going to stick around in Coronado and teach?” I asked.
“Yes,” answered Trevor without hesitation. “People ask me, are you going to dance and teach for the rest of your life? The answer is yes! And I plan on staying here in Coronado.”
We’ll do a wacky dip for that.
For pricing and schedule, check out http://coronadodance.com. First class is free. And we are checking with the studio owner, Dawn, on a pay-by-the-class option! And please note that Trevor will be gone Thursday September 21 for the 7:15 pm class.