The thing about my dancing I have struggled with most lately is an inability to push to the next “level” of dancing, where I am not only technically on the ball, but every dance is fantastic. And while I don’t think I’m there (yet), I have caught a glimpse of what I can achieve: where I rock out every swing out, every song, and every triple step. In other words, where I become unstoppable.
The Format: the attendees are arranged into “pods,” a small group of people (no more than eight) with whom they take every class; groups are so small that individual feedback is easy. Pods vary in skill level, with at least one advanced and one beginner lead and follow in each group. Pods rotate between teachers in a single room, and each teacher gives a lesson or a mini-group private (teacher’s discretion). When not in a teacher’s class, pods are given time and space to practice class content.
Thoughts: I have to say that this is the most unique workshop setup I’ve ever participated in. And while I think it has its pros and its cons, I truly believe that the organization of classes in the Hop Shop has the ability to push each and every dancer.
One of the biggest bonuses of the Hop Shop is that it manages to work around the general complaint of leveled workshops, where less advanced dancers tend to seep into more advanced classes, thus challenging the pace and content of the class.
First, there are no levels at the Hop Shop, so no one is hurt or offended or righteously indignant when placed in a group (which I believe is the main cause of intermediate dancers fighting their way into advanced classes). Second, the classes are so small that leveling almost doesn’t matter in the first place: the instructors are able to give individual feedback (which is nearly impossible in a class over twenty people) so that you can always really understand the concept you’re working on, even if your partner does not.
I really only have two complaints about the Hop Shop: first, that it did not have breaks in-between individual classes, so I had no opportunity to scribble notes for five minutes, which is all I really needed. Some classes it was easy to take notes in-between nuggets of wisdom, but others not so much. Second, that the dance ended so early on Sunday night, ‘cause I was so energized from the weekend that I wanted to hang out and chill out before going home.
Honest-to-goodness, I have never been so excited and confident about my dancing. The difference between my dancing Friday and Saturday nights is astounding.
In a few words: Inspirational. Exciting. And Fucking Awesome.
Side note: I won’t lie, I was pretty proud of my wardrobe this weekend, too! I pulled out all my new knowledge about dressing myself from the BR, and I dressed to impress the entire weekend. Got a few comments on that too, which made me simultaneously blush and pump my fist in the air…