For the last year, I’ve been lucky enough to study regularly with some of the best dance teachers in Washington, DC. In January of 2010, I became a work-study at Joy of Motion Dance Center, which is a wonderful organization with three locations in DC, and an extensive selection of challenging and exhilarating dance and movement classes.
The classes I attended religiously were:
Jazz with Vincent Williams (“Are you sweating? Good. I like to see that forehead shine.”)
Egyptian Cabaret for Performance with Yasmin Henkesh (I had to take beginner and intermediate level simultaneously before I was allowed to graduate to advanced. There’s no skipping her foundation no matter how good you think you are. I can see why some students might resent this, but she’s helped me become a much better performer.)
Yoga with Margaret Townsend. (I used to think Darin Para Somma was the best yoga teacher on Earth–and maybe he is–but I formed that opinion before I met Margaret.) She is incredible.
In addition to my coursework at Joy of Motion, I did independent study with Artemis Mourat, who taught me to analyze and better interpret the music. I can not say enough wonderful things about her. I planned my departure to Turkey around a workshop she’s teaching this weekend.
I also did a few “domestic exchanges”. I met once with Najia Marlyz on one of my trips to Oakland. She’s a dance coach to many of the performers in the Bay Area, and it was after that meeting that I was inspired to find a coach of my own. (Artemis.) I visited the Suhaila School of Dance during another stay in Northern California (I was sore for a week afterward), and traveled to Philadelphia to complete Sahra Saeeda‘s Journey through Egypt Certification 1. Sahra Saeeda was really inspiring and helped spark my desire to venture to Egypt. (Which later became a voyage to Turkey and Hong Kong, but never mind.)
As a full-time dancer without a day-job sucking up 40 hours of my life a week, I was in a position to take advantage of many of the offerings at Joy of Motion. In addition to the classes I took regularly, I can also recommend any class by Maurice Johnson, Stretch and Align with Mane Rebelo-Plaut or Michelle Ava, Zumba with Tanya Nuchols, and ballet with Tammy Hurt. (I thought ballet was boring before I studied with Tammy–it’s not!) With all that I studied, there were still a number of classes I didn’t get a chance to try: “Tease” the burlesque class, taught by Derek Brown, conflicted with Yasmin’s class, which I never wanted to miss, Kukuwa dance workout (it’s like an African Zumba-style workout), and Vegas jazz, to name a few.
I suggest you try them all! I hear there’s a work-study position that recently opened up. . .