25 May 2016

Good Vibrations

Every day has the possibility of something new when you wake up in a city like London. Whether it's a new experience, a different type of food or a personal style you'd never usually try, the possibilities are endless.

Last Friday, Kitty and I headed down to Danceworks to do just this. Let's get one thing straight first; I'm terrified of every sort activity that requires any coordination. Something about my hands and feet don't seem to want to move together.

Chris Fonseca, our teacher for the class, is deaf but that he hasn't let that interfere with his love of dance and with that in mind, who was I to let my lack of coordination and crippling fear of the embarrassment from tripping over my own feet to keep me from at least giving a dance class a go.

So, there I was in the bright airy studio last Friday warming up to throw some shapes with Chris. Chris explained to us that he may not be able to hear the lyrics but he can feel the beat of music. We spent the first part of our session learning a few moves of a routine. Even though most of class picked up the moves pretty quickly, the first ten minutes were anything but smooth in my case!

In all honestly I flopped during the first part of the session but I had a quick chat with Chris during the class interval. Kitty and I asked his advice on what to do if you have little to no coordination - i.e. the both of us. Chris explained that the key to a good dance class isn't to nail every move but to enjoy it, let loose and at the end of the day, if you've tried it and failed, at least you tried.

I felt a lot better after that. We tried a couple more run throughs before putting in ear plugs to block out the music and Sub Pacs, which look like a backpack, which vibrate in time with the beat of the music, enabling the dancer to feel the music when they aren't able to hear it.

You know when you're in a club, next to a loud speaker and the vibrations pulse through your body? Well, this is exactly how the Sub Pac backpack felt. With a lack of the usual melodies and lyrics, my senses were heightened and moving to the beat of the music via the sub pac was a weird but eye-opening new experience; I felt more connected with the music then I think I ever had done before and danced about ten times better. Maybe there's some hope for me and my co-ordination after all.

The real reason behind the class was that Chris is currently trying to raise awareness within the deaf community that hobbies such as dancing are a possibility and has teamed up with Smirnoff to create a video to do just this.

Chris is a great teacher and I left the class with a little more confidence in myself and in awe of what an incredible dancer he is. It's not every day you get to meet someone so inspirational. And on that note, Smirnoff are providing Chris with a dance space to host classes every Friday of the month (the first class is May 27th) so, there's the opportunity to get down and check one out yourself. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: This post was written in partnership with Smirnoff. Both myself and Smirnoff like a good drink but advise drinking responsibly.
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