Groovey Interview

January 30, 2012 § Leave a comment

I finally got the chance to sit down with Brookln Rogers to talk about dancing, teaching, overcoming injuries, healthy living, and a healthy spirit. She’s got a lot to say to grow your New Years Resolution into a life style.

The Internet Bachlelorette: Let’s go back to the beginning, how did you get started dancing?

Brooklin Rogers: I started dancing in the womb. I have pictures of me at one or two with big huge headphones. I always wanted music. Performing on our coffee table stage, me and my sister making up dances pretending we were in music videos. We would enter talent shows in, Salt Lake, my hometown. I was serious about it, I wanted my friends to really perform, but they didn’t know how so they just sorta watched me. It was always from a place of creation. I didn’t do a lot of imitation.

TIB: At such a young age who did you look up to?

BR: I would look at Micheal and Janet Jackson and I didn’t say, “I want to do what they are doing.” But, “I can do that, there is something in me that can create.” I did go to dance classes, but it wasn’t until I ended up in Hip Hop class that I felt at home. Then in High School I realized it wasn’t the classes I loved, it was putting on music and doing my own thing. I liked what came out of me, and I surprised myself.

TIB: It was more about the feeling of dancing.

BR: Yeah, having a relationship with the music. What’s the music going to give me next. I used the play a game in my head with the DJ, “give me something I can dance to.” I felt like I could dance to anything. People started giving me complements, but I didn’t really know what I was doing. I couldn’t see it, but I just knew how it felt.

TIB: Was it always your aim to choreograph?

BR: Well, I considered myself triple threat. I took acting, singing classes. Still to this day, I just want to be a rock star. I don’t know if that would ever happen, but I not so secretively want to be a rock star. I moved to San Diego because I was too intimidated to go right to LA. I was in Vegas for a while and I quickly realized that to dance in Vegas you are going to be a stripper or a showgirl. Both of those things were too “eye-candy” for me. So I danced with a crew in San Diego accompanying DJs at raves and concerts. Then the time came for me to go to LA and I was enrolled in LA Music Academy.

TIB: Music?

BR: Yes, I moved here with the intention of concentrating on singing for a year or so, thinking that dance wasn’t going to go anywhere. But I couldn’t stop so I got into the dance scene right away, finding a home with a group of girls who thought the same way as me. I knew I was in the right spot. Everyone was just there to dance, release our souls, we called it church. I became friends with a lot of DJs, one is going to be the DJ at my wedding. I started performing with Hip Hop crews from that.

TIB: Just can’t stop dancing when you are born a dancer. How did that translate to teaching?

BR: I started choreographing for musicals. While I was doing that I was working for a production company and my boss had two daughters who he brought in a lot and I got along with them. I had never taught dance, but I relate really well to kids. He kept asking where they should take dance classes and wanted me to teach them. So I took him up on it. Why don’t I start a class? Basically he enrolled all of my students, telling all the parents he knew, and I had my first class at Your Neighborhood Studio in Culver City. I had been taking class there so I knew the owner a little bit. I had a trial class, and there was a huge turn out of 6-8 year olds.

TIB: So it became a regular class at the studio?

BR: Yeah, and I started subbing for the adult classes whenever I got the chance. When I was first approached to sub, the owner asked me if I had ever taught adults. I hadn’t but I didn’t think I would be any different from kids. Sometimes they listen sometimes better, sometimes worse. [laughs]

TIB: I believe it. That’s a great way to ease into teaching adults.

BR: I really liked it. I started getting approached by other studios, and I got a couple of Hip Hop classes and I started brainstorming other styles I could teach. I subbed for a Burlesque class that was right after on of mine, and I like it. I did some Burlesque in Vegas, but I wasn’t into it then. But this time around, I really got into it, and the characters. Pulling from that choreography I started teaching my own Burlesque class, and really giving the students a cardio workout. I struggled a lot with the name of it.

TIB: Because it’s not really stripping even though a lot of people think it is.

BR: No it’s not. I do more of the musical theater movement, creative Fosse inspired. Women were being empowered to express themselves in a sexy fashion, letting their sultry side come out. It was almost like they didn’t allow themselves to do that anywhere else. I started feeling a real trust with my students, I think that’s because that’s how I treated the class, it’s just fun. We were just there to express ourselves and have a good time.

TIB: Then Burlesque really took off and that movie came out.

BR: That’s when it really blew up. And I love how the movie expressed the fun, dancing side of Burlesque. There’s a lot of controversy. The word really comes from ‘to tease’ at least that’s what I’ve been taught. I really aim to bring that out in my classes, that joking, teasing, cabaret style. They do sexy stuff but there’s comedy. I’ve had some comments on my YouTube videos, probably from guys looking for strippers, asking “where’s the sexy?” If you can’t find it, you got a problem. If you can’t see the beauty, look again.

TIB: Everything I read always says pick a workout you love. If you don’t love running, don’t sign up for a marathon. What about dance as fitness?

BR: I can speak from my own experience, that when I’m not dancing, even just teaching a few days a week, I can feel the difference. The fact that I love to do it, I don’t even realize I’ve started sweating. But when I’m injured and I can’t dance I notice that I’m stiff, sluggish. I spend a lot of time outdoors hiking, I hate the stair master. You won’t even find me in the gym. But I will walk stairs outside or a hard hike, and I get to the top and I’m sweating or my legs will be sore the next day. There are workouts to do outside of the gym. I definitely would recommend doing something you love, whether that be hiking, or running, yoga or dance.

TIB: What about body image? A lot of dancers get a bad rap for being malnourished.

BR: You know I used to spend hours at the gym, wanting that bikini body you see in the health magazines. I wanted my abs to be rock hard and all that, but I didn’t like doing it. I interviewed a lot of men, friends and realized they don’t really like that so much. As women we are striving for that perfect Barbie body. There is only a small percentage of guys that want that. Most guys want the combination of firm and soft. They say, Women are supposed to be soft. I think that these kinds of exercises, dancing, yoga, hiking, even aerobics, something that keeps your heart rate up is good for you and keeps you soft and firm in the right places. And everyone can do it. Everyone loves to dance, I’m sure there are people who say they don’t, but it’s because they think they aren’t a dancer.

TIB: Right, like I’ll sing in my car, but not at karaoke night.

BR: Everyone is a dancer. Music is the universal language and you relate to music intimately by dancing. That’s one way the music and you become one. It’s spiritual thing too. There’s no way that you can’t benefit from dancing. If you can get over that you aren’t supposed to dance like everyone else, you are supposed to dance like you, you’ll be fine. I taught Groove and that class is a really good way to learn that.

TIB: What’s Groove?

BR: Groove is a class that gives you simple moves, like a step touch, that you take and express that step touch however you want to. Then you aren’t pigeon holed into doing one thing with the movement. What I really like about it, is the flow of it. I even incorporate yoga movements, going through the whole body, stretching and strength depending on the music. This is a place where you can dance and get a good workout, sweat, no one is judging you. I always try to establish a level of trust in the class. No one is looking at just you they are too worried about themselves. Hopefully that makes people realize it’s no big deal. Listen to the music and see where it takes you. It’s a way of teaching people how to explore what the music is telling them to do and to evoke the dancer in all of us.

TIB: Probably great for people who sit at a desk all day. Get you exploring how your body moves, probably aids in preventing injury. Which is what I want to talk about next, getting over an injury. How do you bounce back into an active lifestyle?

BR: We were just talking about it being a mental practice. Life, faith and destiny. When I’m injured this is what I question. I made an agreement with myself and I said, “I’m going to do this professionally.” I started going to auditions, I had an agent, dancing at the top studio in town everyday, choreographing. One day I was in Hip Hop class and I felt something in my hamstring. I kept dancing, like everyone does, which is the wrong thing. The teacher started putting me in the front of the class, so I was under pressure in the spot light. It was a two-week period of this hard dancing and then everything locked up. I had sciatica, my back was killing me. I was bed ridden.

TIB: Just when things were taking off.

BR: I know. I was just getting there. Getting good auditions and music videos. I had to think a lot about what I was doing, what was my destiny, was I supposed to be a dancer? I was out for two years. That’s when I started doing more healing stuff, more yoga and I realized I had a lot of stuff inside of me mentally and emotionally that I believe I created as a block, because I couldn’t believe in myself the way I wanted to. I was living more out of fear. I was on the train, like a lot of people, where I had to put other people down. I was in the mindset that you have to work hard and push your way through. That, “I’m gonna make it” mentality is so big in LA. It seemed, at the time, anyone was willing to put someone on the street just to get what they wanted, fame and fortune. I had a lot of time to think about that when I was injured to see what my motive was. What I fell in love with when I was young, the community of dancing was no longer my motive, I had started doing it for the money and recognition. Everyone wants to get acknowledged and have their hard work pay off, but I struggled with this. It wasn’t until I started teaching did I start dancing again. Finally my motive changed back to doing for the love of it.

TIB: You had to be injured to become a teacher. You became a teacher and found your love for it again.

BR: I’m not a teacher because I think I know more than other people, I teach because I know I can express something to a class and make people feel comfortable. You hear it all the time if you want to get better at something teach it. I wanted to get better at choreographing, so teaching really helped me define my movement. It has only been in recent years where I realized, I’m giving back. I was given this gift of dance. We talked about non-dancers and now I’m giving them the gift of dance through a class. I discovered this side of me through this injury.

TIB: Is it better than music videos?

BR: [laughs] It keeps me going. There are a lot of dancers out there and we don’t get recognized as athletes and it’s really hard to make a living at it when you are in your top shape and that window doesn’t last very long. So when you are injured, you don’t have a job.

TIB: It’s really important to take care of your body and be healthy. For everyone. You only get one body.

BR: I know! Sometimes I think my unhealthy is most people’s healthy, but there were a lot of years I wasn’t taking care of my body. Going out, drinking, eating poorly. Getting older, I want to be able to dance into my grave. You take care of yourself, and honor your body.

TIB: When you are ill or injured you really assess how you live.

BR: Exactly. You really have to assess how your living. There is something in us, that drive. But you have to calm the voice and ask for help. Accept help, and put self-care first. That will help you heal faster and completely.

TIB: What do you want to do as a teacher?

BR: I want to be an inspiration. I want to show other women, you don’t have to be this Hollywood image in order to have the experience that these women are having. Brittney, Xtina, you don’t have to be a pop star to feel like that when you’re dancing. At the end of the day we are all just looking for an experience of ourselves that creates joy and love and laughter. That’s all I’m looking for and have my life be about that, being a leader or a guide to achieve that. Well, not even a leader, we’ll all go together to a safe place where women can enjoy their bodies.

TIB: A Dance Ambassador.

BR: [laughs] Yeah.

For more about Dancer/Choreographer/Teacher Brooklin Rogers check it on…

Facebook for updates and class times and flirty fun.

YouTube for instructional videos and eye candy.

Website for more information.

Check out Your Neighborhood Studio for class details.

Selected photographs by Anela Bence-Selkowitz.

 

 

 

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Kermit Medley

January 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

Kermit the Frog is just about my favorite being on the planet. I like to tell Mister Red the only reason I even gave him a chance was his impeccable Kermit impression. I have an undeniable soft spot for this frog and after a tough week, I can’t think of anything better to raise my spirits. Hope you enjoy today’s uplifting Friday Foto Folly.


Throw back to hilarious. And the famous love affair.


Got to love a frog in a trench coat.


Always a great announcer and the best host!


It’s not easy being at all, the frog got that.


This song pretty much haunts me so I had to include it because it’s pretty powerful. Puppeteer not actually homeless, just message sending amazingness.


Makes me cry every time.

Hot for Teacher!

January 26, 2012 § Leave a comment

Miss January, Brooklin Rogers, says one of the most important steps to taking a dance class is to find a teacher you like. I have been dancing since I could walk, taking classes for over 26 years in 5 different cities, I may be qualified to recommend a dance teacher, if I may toot my horn. Let me tell you, Brooklin is a great teacher for all levels.

Brooklin’s classes are always mixed level adults, but experienced dancers and beginners alike shouldn’t shy away from taking from her. She starts off with a great warm-up to ease her students into the movement of the class. You are sweating in the first five minutes, shedding extra layers almost immediately. A proper warm-up prevents injury and strengthens muscles used in the class. Brooklin’s warm-up combines the essence of the class with easy movement that gets the heart pumping, but it’s fun so it doesn’t feel like work!

When you go into a work out you want to be sure you are getting something out of it and are targeting the problem areas so you can see results. Brooklin’s class is no exception. She still leaves room for abs and tush to push yourself beyond plateaus. Also capturing the movement of the class even while doing crunches. Whether it’s hip hop, groove, or burlesque you’ll work your booty to the beat of that drum, which makes doing the dirty work more enjoyable than hitting the mat at the gym.

Brooklin’s choreography, no matter the style of dance, is always easy to pick up, fun, and created in a way that makes you feel your best. She has a unique way of instructing beginning dancers to propell them to the next level, building confidence and skill as well as challenging more advanced dancers by allowing them to find their own groove to the movement. So many teachers want dancers in their class to be a cookie cutter of themselves, but not Brooklin. She encourages the evolution of movement which is sometimes scary for experienced dancers. She forces all her students to think about the economy of movement in her combinations allowing for characters to be played.

The best part about taking a class from Brooklin is her sense of humor. From the moment you walk in the door you feel like you are visiting a close friend. It’s hard to be nervous when you got a pal there building up your confidence and cracking jokes. It’s like she invited you over for a dance party in her living room.

For more about Dancer/Choreographer/Teacher Brooklin Rogers check it on…

Facebook for updates and class times and flirty fun.

YouTube for instructional videos and eye candy.

Website for more information.

Check out Your Neighborhood Studio for class details.

The Trifecta of the Charming Man

January 23, 2012 § Leave a comment

I’m on the short list… that means someone else thinks I’m a sort-of good enough writer other than me and my mom.

Please read it by clicking the link below.

The Trifecta of the Charming Man.

ESPN is the Mothership

January 20, 2012 § Leave a comment

In the end, it’s just a silly game.

Man Time vs. My Time

January 18, 2012 § Leave a comment

Boys do not plan. As little girls, we are raised planners. We plan to have a tea party. Getting all the dolls and stuffed animals ready is part of the fun. We could spend all day planning what to wear, just playing dress-up for hours. Wait… I still do that. Setting up the Barbie world and planning her outfit is in some ways better than her date with Ken. Ken’s usually a disappointment anyway, his head always pops off when they kiss. It’s all the boys, brothers, neighbor kids that parachuted in with their G.I. Joe’s ready to destroy everything we just set up. Impulsive simple fools set out to ruin all plans. Hence, Little girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice and little boys are made of everything that is icky and gross. Duh.

We get older, training bras turn into lacy bits with under-wire, our plans become more flexible as we traditionally wait to be asked out. We wait on Man Time. This is where Man Time starts and Boy Destruction dissipates. Wait for them to call, wait for them to text, ask us out, pick us up, make the first move, wait for them to figure out what exactly it is they really want then wait to see if they change their minds. They like to say they wait on us, but the reward is fabulous looking arm candy. With Man Time there is no reward.

I admit it, I’m in love with Mister Red, but he cannot keep a calendar. He’s continually surprised when appointments he’s scheduled weeks in advance pop up. I suppose it’s an exciting way to live. When you are continually on Man Time as the relationship progresses, you start to realize there is no method to the madness. Zero. I like spontaneity, surprises, being swept off my feet, but I also like to know when or if he plans on eating dinner with me, has to work late, or has decided that a three hour shopping trip to complete the survival kit must be executed immediately. Come on guys, you’d let your mom know if you were going to be late for dinner.

It’s funny to me how he will always know what time the game starts and all the stats of both teams, but somehow forget that we have a wedding to attend and stumble over his college buddy’s wife’s name. I thought about converting my whole life to mimic sporting events, making his punctuality like a batting average and birthdays like playoff games. But that’s just too far down the rabbit hole.

 Is it that I was too available when we first started dating? I flowed with the Man Time to get a dinner date and a make-out session. Then suddenly Man Time has taken over my time. Always a fact checker, I’ve discussed with this with a few ladies to make sure I wasn’t the only one with these sort of scheduling issues.

Come to find out Mister Red isn’t the only one to attempt bridging this rift with an offer to share his gmail calendar. We don’t want your calendar, we want the courtesy call that you’ve decided to go to the strip club instead of meeting me and my mom at the museum. We don’t care what you do, as long as you tell us when you’re doing it. We’d like to take that pole dancing class we bought on groupon or slosh back margaritas with our best gays. We have lives too, but heaven forbid we are unavailable. They’re more whiny than a toddler in a tiara. The Man Pout accompanied by super snuggle nuzzle puppy dog eyes seems to be the tactic of choice. Heaven forbid we put them on our time.

So we are the planners, and we’ll set out to plan around them. Is that how marriage is going to work? I make a plan, he ignores it, then I plan around his forgetfulness? Is that what this is? Or when plans change I don’t get notified until four days too late, ten minutes before we’re supposed to be somewhere. Then I’m the idiot, for not knowing because he swears he told me at least a week ago.

To avoid future mamsy-pamsyness I might just accept that invitation to his gmail calendar, like I’m his personal assistant or something. Boys aren’t like girls, they just don’t plan. My mother will attest to this, having raised one of each gender. She would be dumbfounded year after year when my bother wouldn’t have one clue as to what he was doing for New Years Eve until about 9pm. Finally she accepted it. I guess that’s what I’m learning now. So perhaps we are anticipaters, and men live more in the now?

My new thing is to start scheduling sex. Then maybe he’ll give me a call to tell me he’s going to be late for sex, or sex isn’t going to work for him on Tuesday because he’s got an important meeting. We’ll see how many time he has to cancel sex. And no rainchecks.

Take 10 Steps to a Dance Class

January 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

Did you fall off the wagon over the three-day weekend? It’s fine. Make this weeks resolution a fun one. Take a dance class. There’s nothing to it. Dancing in a class shouldn’t be anymore intimidating then dancing at a club, or in your bathroom, or at a traffic light. I talked to Miss January, choreographer/dancer/teacher, the lovely and talented, Brooklin Rogers to help calm those nerves and get you dancing circles around yourself.

You aren’t auditioning for the part of the Black Swan or the Broadway revival of Fame so stop pulling your hair out. It’s just a class, and classes are for learning. Plus, if you like dancing in your underwear think about how much fun it’s going to be doing that for exercise. It’s like double negative exercise because it doesn’t feel like exercise. It feels like fun.

Still scared? Don’t be scared! To ease your worries here are Brooklin’s 10 tips to prepare for your very first (or first time in a long time) dance class.

1. Know your intention. If you have the desire to go take a dance class that should be your motivation to stay in the class right there. It’s a mental challenge, and emotional challenge. Be in your own world and know that you are doing it for you. Try to keep that attitude the whole time.

2.Research the class. Find out all you can about the type of class it is, what the instructor is like, the parking situation, etc. You’ll feel comfortable knowing the lay of the land.

3. Don’t try to hide. If you think you’re going to hide in the back and go unnoticed, you’re wrong. There’s a big mirror (in most studios). It’s a self challenge. Everyone is too concerned about themselves to be worried about you. Don’t be worried about them looking at you, chances are, they are looking at themselves and worrying about the same thing. If you try to hide because you’re embarrassed, you won’t be focused on dancing, which is why you came in the first place.

4. Find a teacher you like. Don’t keep pushing yourself to take a class from a teacher you don’t relate to. There are plenty of teachers and teaching styles, find someone who you’re comfortable with.

5. Find a style you like. Again, don’t push yourself to take a class you don’t really like. Trying new classes is part of the process. Maybe you thought you’d really like hip hop, but you find burlesque more fun. Concentrate on taking more burlesque classes rather than forcing yourself to take the hip hop class (because you’ll probably end up skipping the classes you don’t like anyway).

6. Wear what you feel confident in. A lot of dance studios you go to people will be dressed up to the nines, which is fine. Some people want to express themselves that way, but function is most important. For example, in burlesque there are sexier moves so baggy sweats aren’t the best wear to show off the movement. But in a hip hip class, big sweats complement the movement. Don’t wear a black leotard, pink tights to a hip hop class, it will only make you feel self conscious. Think about the energy of the style. You’re going to be looking at yourself the whole time, pick something you look and feel good in. Especially if you’re taking the class for the first time, wear your favorite workout outfit.

7. Feel the part. It’s not about putting on the outfit. Some people won’t go into a class because they don’t “look” the part. It’s about putting on the outfit to “feel” the part. If you can feel like a hip hop queen in fishnets then go for it. But when you feel the part, you’ll feel the dancing.

8. Wear appropriate footwear. This goes back to #2 and #7. Research the class and find out what the teacher’s wearing. Some classes you can go barefoot or wear sneakers. Some classes you get an option and that’s where #7 comes in. In Brooklin’s burlesque class you can go barefoot or wear character shoes or something with heels that will be nice to the floor. Just as long as you aren’t wearing ballet slippers in hip hop class, or are barefoot for a tap class, your judgement is probably fine.

9. You are going to sweat. Bring a bottle of water, and a hand towel if you need it. You are going to sweat, you are going to workout, you are going to be sore the next day.  Prepare workout accessories like you were going to the gym. Make sure you let the teacher know of any per-existing injuries and, as with all workouts, know your limits. Sometimes people think it’s “just dancing” and they forget how athletic it is.

10. Be punctual. Leave about 10 extra minutes before class starts. You are paying for the whole class so you might as well get your money’s worth. Be there and be ready for every moment. It’s good ediquette to be on time, it’s distracting to the other dancers and to the teacher if you stroll in after class starts. Plus if you’re a little early, you have time get into the dancer mindset and solidify your intention for the class. Getting focused helps you stay focused and you’ll love the class more if you’re 100% there.

For more about Dancer/Choreographer/Teacher Brooklin Rogers check it on…

Facebook for updates and class times and flirty fun.

YouTube for instructional videos and eye candy.

Website for more information.

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