Country Guest Instructor, Sequoia Nelson
Have you ever heard of the word “assimilation”? According to good ole’ Webster it can mean “the process of becoming similar to something”. Assimilation in the dance community is the ability to pick up choreography quicker and more accurately. Did you know that the more ways your body is exposed to a variety of movement styles the easier it becomes to adapt and become more versatile? Our bodies form habits of repeated motions so the more we can introduce new ways of moving the easier it is to pick up new choreography and be able to control and access our muscles more efficiently! The skill of assimilation has slowly been lost with the use of technology as dancers have relied more and more on videos to help them remember choreography rather than purely memory.
Explore Dance was an idea formed by Roxanne Nielsen and headed up by Landon Anderson to allow dancers around the Auburn area an opportunity to continue dancing when the world shut down for COVID 19. Since then, Adam Lee, PBD’s new Outreach Director has taken the program under his wing to continue developing it.
“I really look forward to bringing in more unique styles and talented guest instructors that can’t be found elsewhere”, said Adam. “I also look forward to the opportunities this will create for us in partnering with other dance groups and getting more involved in the community. We can connect with people that wouldn’t otherwise know who we are or what we do.”
Students of all ages have found the Explore classes to be a breath of fresh air allowing them the freedom to move and dance without the pressure or deadline of a performance and the benefit of increased fitness, an important PBD value. PBD has created relationships with fellow dance instructors around the Seattle area expanding our collaborative dance community and sancers also practice the skill the assimilation as they are introduced and challenged with new ways of moving.
“The most enjoyable part has been seeing students grow to appreciate other styles of dance and how they are taught! I remember specifically watching our Tahitian class and after the very first class the kids came out beaming, saying, ‘I had no idea it would be this much fun!’, ‘I want to learn more!’. These classes can inspire students in ways that are different than what we normally do”, Adam shared.
You can learn new dances and meet a lot of new friends because you both like the same dance style. Some of the dances like Ballet and Contemporay have specific technique that helps you in Ballroom. My favorite class has been contemporary or choreography class. I love contemporary because it’s an emotional dance and my friends and I love to make contemporary dances. Choreography was also a fun class because we got to learn how to choreograph a dance ourselves.
This year, PBD has welcomed guest instructors in the styles of Yoga, Bollywood/Punjabi Bhangra, Hip Hop, Jazz, Tahitian, and Tap. Explore Dance has also included Ballet, Contemporary, Zumba, and Country.
The ’22-’23 Explore class season will be offered once a week with one new dance style option unlike the last two years where two options have been offered per week. “Most importantly, I hope that students can gain a love and appreciation for other cultures, styles, and ways of moving.” Adam concluded, “I want them (students) to gain additional dancing skills! Every one of the styles taught can help them improve in their own dancing, even though it may not seem that way at a first glance. Increasing their ‘dance vocabulary’ will help them become a more well—rounded dancer.”
What Explore Dance style are you going to try? We challenge you to step out of your comfort zone, expand your horizons and just dance!