Last month, I challenged myself to one of the toughest assignments yet; dancing with Richmond Urban Dance in their I AM HIP HOP showcase: Club RVA.
The showcase is like a dance recital but Mandy Helmlinger, the creator of RUD, hates when we call it that. So instead, let's say it's a dance concert or a dance showcase, but really - it's kind of a whole unique thing.
Students who have taken class with RUD are invited to perform their pieces on stage in front of an audience of parents, spouses, friends and just the general public. The music is bumping, there are videos that play in between sets, the dances flow from one to the next and there's no intermission. By the end of the show everyone is on their feet and you feel like you've just witnesses a revival.
When we launched the TURNt with RUD classes at TURN, Mandy had her wheels spinning about including TURN clients in the show. And when some of our routines included tribute pieces to Janet Jackson's choreography with Anthony Thomas - we couldn't exactly say no. So, we rose to the challenge.
We met every Tuesday for weeks, learning more and more of the routines, perfecting them, cleaning them.
I did mention it's Janet Jackson, right?
They are some of the most iconic pieces of choreography and we had 6-weeks to get them ready for a show on June 1.
And it wasn't just the 4:00 Janet stuff, we also did several other pieces we had learned in class like Tip Toe, Finesse, Bartier Cardi and Clinton's choreography to Bad Man.
When the day came, it was exciting, stressful and exhilerating. I was also super proud of us. A lot of us hadn't danced on stage in years. Some of us, me, are 40+ moms who got up there and did the worm and a booty drop with 20-somethings. It was amazing. And after it was all over, I was exhausted for days.
I say all that to say this: You can do anything you want. Repeat that: You can do anything you want. And if it brings you joy - do the shit out of it. Don't worry. It doesn't have to be perfect, just be enthusiastic about it. Just love the shit out of it and let the rest unfold like magic. That's my takeaway from the whole RUD show. Talk about keeping yourself young and fine tuned.
It was a wonderful way to kick off summer.
It was also a wonderful way to become closer to dancers from other groups who performed with us.
Shout outs to IDanzeFitness, The Brand, RVA Tap Troupe and of course, Richmond Urban Dance who are now and forever our dance cousins!
About the Author
Sandi Cano Cauley is a small business owner, fitness instructor, dancer and retired broadcast journalist. She operates Turn Cardio Jam Studio in Richmond, VA (founded in 2015) with goals to mesh dance + fitness and connect others with some of their youth. She is also a 3 x boy mom, a Tejana, a wannabe