Taking a dance class has been on my bucket list for a while now. However, the thought of being surrounded by experienced dancers and not being able to keep up TERRIFIED me! Well that all changed when I decided to take Ana Ogbueze’s “Beginners Hip Hop” class at 8 PM on a Monday night.

To say I was nervous was an understatement! I had always felt like a professional dancer “in my mind,” but translating that to actual dance moves my body could perform was something a little different. I’ve always loved dancing, and I’ve always made it a point to learn the “hottest new dances” to keep up, but I hadn’t officially taken a dance class since college and let’s just say that was years ago.

When I first walked into the NC Dance District Studio, I could instantly tell it was a fun place. The 7 O’Clock class had already started, and Allison and her class members were jamming to “How Long” by Charlie Puth. I could tell by the different people in the class that this was a place people came to let loose and have fun!

There was a mom who was dancing her butt off as her little boy sat in the waiting area watching YouTube videos on her phone. There was an older gentleman who despite moving a little slower than the others, kept right on pushing through the beat. Even as I sat watching and waiting for the 8 PM class, I was doing the dance moves in my head and I wanted to join in terribly, but I was still nervous and a little scared.

I would later find out that Allison, the 7 PM instructor, is a 53-year-old hot mama who not only teaches dance but is insanely active! I can only hope that at 53 I am as awesome and groovy as her! At 30, somedays I feel like I can’t even walk, but that’s a story for another day. ( Lol)

The time is finally here, and Ana starts the music and begins to tell us about the choreography we will learn that day. Some more women have walked into the class and from the first take they look like they are in much better shape than me, and I instantly pray I can keep up.

Ana starts the class by welcoming everyone and putting us all at ease right away. You can tell from the minute she walked in the room that she was passionate about dancing and that she was truly in her element.

She started the class by explaining that we were all there to have fun and while the class was for beginners, it didn’t mean the choreography would be simple. She talked about how her goals for this class was to focus on levels and the energy we put into our dancing. She explained that by embracing our own creativity and understanding levels, it would help us retain the dance moves.

After her pep talk, I slowly begin to feel more comfortable. However, what was stressing me out more than anything was finding out what song we were going to dance to. I was really hoping I knew the song because I felt like it would help me connect more with the dance moves. She tells us we will be learning a dance to OT Genasis “Push It” and I immediately get excited. I’ve always been one of those “I love Jesus, but I listen to trap music” types, and I was born ready to dance to this, or so I thought.

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The choreography started off simple enough, and Ana was great about walking us through everything and answering questions about certain moves if we had them. I was 30 minutes in, and I felt like I was doing the DANG THING! Then she tells us she is going to split us into groups so we can practice and add our own flavor.

I instantly became nervous again because my first thought was “Oh Lord, now half of the class will be watching me.” Before, we all practiced and learned the dance together with Ana instructing us. Now, we were going to be split into two groups and recorded so we could see ourselves. “Jesus take the wheel!”

It wasn’t as bad as I expected, and I actually had a lot of fun with the girls in my group. My mind of course slowly went partially blank when we did the dance without Ana, but luckily I was in the back, and the girl in front of me was killing it! In the end, the girls and I crushed our challenged and added our own little flavor and were definitely “Going to get the money!”

Overall, I had such an amazing time taking Ana’s class and just being in an environment where dance was cultivated. I am rethinking that whole “professional dancer” thing in my mind now, but I know I definitely want to return to Ana’s class to continue to build on this passion of mine. It feels great to know I knocked one more thing off my bucket list.

What’s really cool about Ana and NC Dance District is that beginning this month, Ana will be offering online classes. While the drop-in classes are $10 a visit, or you can get a monthly pass for $35, Ana’s new online classes will provide users with a unique opportunity to learn choreography from the comfort of their home. Ana-On-Demand, the name of this new service, ($12.99/month) will give users a chance to learn and watch live dance classes, tutorials, and even interact with live dance students.

For more information visit the NC Dance District site at www.NCDanceDistrict.com.

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Layout & Edits by: Angie Baquedano

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