Alright! I arrived back to Bali from Singapore, and at this point, I knew it was time to get into full gear to finish teaching and filming my studio workshop series.
Although I had originally planned to put together a performance for the people I taught in the studio, I quickly realized that seven weeks was simply not enough time to do that – it simply wasn’t feasible. So instead, I decided to go with the pace of my class, thoroughly teach them three pieces of choreography, and film them dancing the routines in the studio. While I do think that my students gained new skills and knowledge from the classes, sometimes that can be hard to show other people because it is not something concrete. Therefore, I decided to stick with a video because I know that it is a concrete representation of what they had accomplished, and it is something that they can easily share with other people today (especially with the help of YouTube and Facebook). However, since most people in my studio class planned to leave for the holiday of Eid by at least July 25th, I had to crank out working formations, deciding who was going to be in what dance, and plenty of dress rehearsals on Monday and Tuesday so that I could film on Wednesday. Luckily, all who wanted to be in the video was able to make it to all three practices. As I had been during my entire time teaching with my studio students, I was still amazed by their dedication and enthusiasm. All of them practiced and went through every piece of choreography they had learned with no complaint, and most of them were eager to perform in several parts of choreography for the video. Even when we took water breaks, after drinking they would get into groups and just go through the pieces for fun. Especially during those last three days, I really appreciated them. Every time that I had class with them, they made my day. They absorbed all that I had to share, and they reflected exactly what I wanted them to get out of it. Once we had all practiced the pieces and split up into groups, I explained to them how we would use the space of the studio for the video, and after going through everything a few times, they caught right on, and we were able to jump right into filming on Wednesday. The entire video was done in one shot, and it only took them about 4 tries to get a recording that was unanimously agreed to be awesome! After each take we looked at it on a computer, and they were able to take notes on how they looked, and I was able to give more general feedback. That day of filming was just how filming should be – fun, tiring, and extremely satisfying. We finished with about an hour to spare, so we all just hung out around the studio. It was at that point that I decided I would regularly post on our Facebook group page every month with hip-hop dance videos from YouTube as a way to keep in touch and to keep them supplied with resources in case any of them wanted to keep dancing or start choreographing. (Check out the video http://bit.ly/1sdVLvB)
After I left the studio that night, I reflected on how I felt first coming to Bali. I remembered being so worried, being so concerned, being so afraid of what challenges I might have to face in teaching a studio workshop series all by myself. Riding back from the studio on my scooter, I let out a big sigh of accomplishment and gratefulness. The people in that class provided me with the experience of a lifetime. They helped me open my eyes to what is possible with dance education, and they showed me the power of dance and the power of positivity in hip-hop. In terms of my part, I had done all that I could have done, and I felt so great about it. I was so happy that I was able to give my students (and this goes for all of the people that I taught) an opportunity to learn something new in an open and fun environment. I think that scooter ride back from the studio that night was the highlight of my experience.