Here at uforia, we’re always looking to find time and space to think outside the box. Inspiration comes in many forms and sometimes you have to step away from your daily routine to see what else is out there. Our uforia Rockstars inspire us everyday and to give back to the amazing people who lead us in embracing the sweat, we’ve created the uforia Inspiration Scholarship. Whether is a trip to a fascinating city, a workshop in their discipline, or investing in exiting new training, this scholarship sends our Rockstars on a inspiration journey that they chronicle with journaling, photography, and videos.
This winter, Rockstar Alyson inspires us with her application to visit the famous Millennium Dance Complex in Los Angeles:
It was summer of 2015, and a co-worker had just sent me a viral youtube video with the caption…I could totally see you doing this. A dimly lit dance studio, red walls, punchy hip hop choreography, and the words “Unity in Diversity” painted across the wall. I was confused. In a past life, I was a ballet dancer accustomed to precise, pure choreography not the raw, gritty display I was watching. What connection did she see?
Two hours of Youtube videos later, and I had fallen down the rabbit hole of hip hop, mesmerized by the athleticism and vast diversity of the movement. One week later, I was signed up for my first Hip Hop Club class at uforia studios. The rest is history.
The more I learned about hip hop through classes at uforia (and obsessive Youtube watching), the more those special words, unity in diversity, resonated with me. Dance IS diversity. It’s physical expression as unique to each person as the sound of his voice. We all experience movement differently, but the experience is what unites us, brings us together.
As a fitness instructor, my goal is to help everyone experience this in our classes. That may mean a purely physical push, a deeper connection to music, overcoming an emotional hurdle, or welcoming a new uforian to the community. When the opportunity to apply for the uforia Inspiration Scholarship came, I knew I had to apply for a chance to visit the dimly lit dance studio with red walls that first captivated me, leading me to uforia and, eventually, back to dance.
Millennium Dance Complex was founded in 2000 in Los Angeles, quickly becoming an epicenter for hip hop education and top talent for the entertainment industry. Setting foot inside the studio, I was greeted by posters signed by Michael Jackson and Justin Timberlake, among others who have trained for world tours at Millennium. World-class choreographers teach all forms of dance and their famous mantra, unity in diversity, lines the walls of their studios, welcoming dancers of all levels, backgrounds, and disciplines who “cannot help but put their body and heart and mind to the test.”
Over the next few days, I did exactly that. I popped, locked, and freestyled my way through a multitude of classes. I pushed my body to its limits to internalize movement. I wracked my brain to master choreography. And, I listened to the nuances of music more intently than ever before. I was at once overwhelmed, frustrated, and humbled. Yet, with each additional class, I also felt more free, confident, and connected with my body. I told myself not to fight these emotions, to feel it all, and then challenged my body to make sense of it for me.
Dance is my voice. It’s more real than any other form of communication I know. It has led me across countries, to numerous jobs, and through injury. It’s brought me success and failure. But through all of this, it has always been my voice, my outlet to make sense of whatever I’m feeling that day. And this is exactly what I strive to foster in my own classes. Regardless of how we choose to sweat, movement is how we choose to express ourselves. It is that physical push, that deeper connection to music, that emotional release, or sense of belonging. It is so much more than our daily workout. It is our voice.
“Via the vehicle of the physical
Connecting with our world more deeply
By connecting more deeply with ourselves
Respect the dance
Respect its dancers
– AnnMarie Hudson, Founder Millennium Dance Complex