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Something Magical Happens on the Dance Floor

I have nothing but heaps of praise for Wendi Baity’s hip hop class on Monday nights at Moorpark College! This class has been such a great experience for me as both a dancer and as a social experience. Having done mostly partnered dancing for the last six years, this class was a definite stretch for me. I am very grateful for the spirit that Wendi brought to this class. She has been an incredible inspiration for me, not just with hip hop, but with all styles of dance.

Wendi infuses this energy into her class that became so abundantly clear at the end of the semester dance performance this evening. The monday night class is packed with students from all walks of life. Everyone in that class has an amazing story to tell. They are all great people.

When we all hit the stage, something magical happened. Wendi had been asking for more energy throughout the entire semester. All that energy came onto that stage tonight. It seemed like everyone just lit up on the stage! It was an awesome experience to see and also to be part of. I’m looking forward to the funny 80s piece in tomorrow’s dance performance.

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Intermediate Dancer Syndrome

I’ve developed a theory that explains some of the arrogance I’ve encountered in the dance community. I’m not going to name any names, but over the years I’ve encountered some interesting people in my dance classes who have suffered from Intermediate Dancer Syndrome (IDS).

IDS is a severe and sometimes fatal dancer character flaw. It occurs when a dancer starts to excel in a particular dance style. Often times IDS only infects the dancer on their first style of dance s/he learns. However, it can sometimes reoccur, depending upon the dancer. Symptoms may include:

  • Thinking you are better than other dancers
  • Thinking your choreography is the ish!
  • Thinking you can score any guy/girl in the dance class or company
  • Giving limited effort during classes and rehearsals
  • Not listening to the teacher/choreographer during class
  • Thinking you are the hottest man/woman to grace the face of the planet
  • Thinking other dance styles you don’t do are lesser forms of dance or really easy
  • Thinking that when you pick up a movement with all the details from the choreographer when you really just picked up the basic location and position that your body should be in
  • Feeling that you shouldn’t have to mentor or help others out
  • Sitting around during dance classes rather than doing the movement
  • Believing that one teacher is somehow better than another or deserves more respect or attention than another teacher

By no means is this an exhaustive list of the symptoms of Intermediate Dancer Syndrome. However, if you find yourself acting out any of these symptoms, do the rest of the world a favor and jump into a bigger pool than where you are at. No matter how good you think you are, there is always another dancer out there that can dancer circles around you. You just need to find that circle.

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One Rich Rhyme

At the beginning of February, one of my best friends of nearly 20 years committed suicide. This has been one of the most difficult events in my life to grow through. It hasn’t always been easy, and there have been so many people who have made such an incredible difference over the last couple of months.

One of the most influential parts of my life has always been dance. In January, I started taking a hip hop class taught by Wendi Baity at Moorpark College. Hip hop is certainly NOT a style of dance I am at all familiar with, but this class became my safe ground. Wendi has been an incredible teacher! And hip hop allowed me to find an escape from the torment in my brain over losing such a great friend.

One of the assignments for the class has been to write a journal. Over a few weeks, I started writing a rhyme that just kinda flowed from me into my computer. The following is my dealing with the loss of my friend and the pain of my girlfriend of more than 5 years blaming me for his suicide and leaving me.

What the fuck is this shit
How could you pull this shit Rich?
Best friend of 20 years and you give up on this bitch
This shit makes me sick
I sit in this pit
this ditch 6 feet under
So much younger we wonder
How we’d be when we’re old
so many stories to be told
Now you’re just growing cold
and I’m starting to unfold

I wonder where the fuck you went to
ain’t no one but you
sitting in your house
It’s all emptied out
6 months you planned it
I’ll never understand this
Your choice you made
you say
I thought this out
This is what I want without a doubt
Fuck it you say
I lost my dream
Now that’s all that you are

It hurts my brother
our love like no other
and now I sit with your mother
Tears, they cover
her face and her makeup runs down her chin
Why didn’t you just let someone in?

We talked about this shit years ago
Something you just can’t let go
Your dream you were chasing
You felt it slip by
while the world was racin
And now I just cry

You’re gone and that’s it
There ain’t no more Rich
No more smiles
or drunk dials
Just piles and piles
of shit left behind for your family and friends
Cuz you called it quits
and said it’s the end

And we gather together to sit and pretend
that we didn’t see our friend
wanna put a fucking gun to his head
Instead we said
I didn’t see it coming
Rich was so lively
He always made me smile

But if we step back for a minute and ask you about it
You’d tell us you’re drownin
But we’d all think you clowin
Cuz that’s the Rich you wanted to be
It’s alright to make your friends smile while you’re in fucking misery

You always counted on me brother
There really was no other
Why couldn’t you just lean on me one more time?
We supported our families, kept them out of crime
got our fucking mothers out of food stamp lines
and gave our brothers hope
Kept them off dope
no soap on a rope
Little shits going to college to study isotopes

We’d say “That’s my boy” with a tear in our eye
now nothing but tears that we cry
when you said goodbye
And I’m still just wondering why the fuck why!

It’s not time to act tough
but sometimes crying isn’t enough
Not going to suck it up
and try to forget this fucked up stuff

I gotta deal with the grieving
of my best friend leaving
girlfriend deceiving
confidence receding

Into the abyss
I sift through the gift
that you are
Wondering if you are now a shooting star
Wondering if you look back on us all
suffering to know it hurt to watch you fall

And the thought of you suffering keeps me true
I live my life for you and keep you alive
in my thoughts and heart, you’ll never die
Not because of burden but cuz I fucking love you

And right now, I need you bro
I got this ho
She’s saying J, I don’t know
I think it was your fault, so I gotta go
Forget the five years and all your support
You need me now, but I can’t resort
to showin you love when you need it the most
and here’s a toast
to your friend Rich who killed himself because of you

I wasn’t sure what hurt more
You taking your own life
or the words from that fucking whore
But I can’t dis you like that
Can’t compare a best friend who helped me grow up
to a bitch who makes me wanna throw up

I know I’ll forgive her
and if she gets that respect
I guess
I’ll have to disect
and reflect
why I still haven’t forgiven you
I love you bro
It just hurts to know
you were in so much pain and had to go
And couldn’t reach out
give me a shout
and let me spout
words of wisdom to help you pull through
God damn it Rich, I’m gonna miss you