Friday, Aug. 21, people from all over North Carolina joined the children of the Warnersville community to attend the creative development workshop Community Play!/All Stars’ hip hop dance class, “Dance Hip Hop with Domonique” at the Warnersville Community Recreation Center.
Led by Domonique Edwards, UNCG senior and dance major, 22 people of various ages and dancing abilities were guided through a myriad of simple and complex dance exercises to the tune of popular dance music.
Beginning at 6:00 p.m., children and adults signed in and began to stretch in order to properly prepare for the dance lesson. After stretching, Dr. Omar Ali, Community Play!/All Stars facilitator, led the game, “Zip zap zop,” in which volunteers gathered in a circle and engaged each player to say specific words on cue. The purpose of the game to loosen up participants and to focus the young children.
After stretching, Edwards organized everyone into vertical rows and began to illustrate the first few moves to a dance called, “The quan.” The steps to this dance included: bobbing the knees, stepping to the left and right repeatedly, pivoting around with one arm above your head with the opposite leg in the air, then switching legs and arms, putting your hands on your knees and arching your back upwards. Participants performed this dance in stages repeatedly while, “Look at the flick of the wrist,” provided background music. The younger dancers were seemingly more adept than most of the adults.
The second dance, “Whip and nae nae,” accompanied the popular song. While it has certainly been widely visible over social media, when breaking down the dance movements, more fluidity and precision were required than expected. Yet again, knees bent, the left arm is outstretched in a punching motion, directing the torso to the left or simply directing it at all, participants then released their fists, outstretched both arms in repetitious wave like movements and bent one or both legs to do the, “Stanky leg.”
The third dance was more of a freestyle, in the formation of the, “Soul train line,” meaning participants formed two lines and faced off against each other in a mock competition. This was an interesting, rather individualistic, performance; each person would perform any dance or movements while walking along the line of people with the expectation being that it was supposed to be better than the person preceding them.
It ended up being less of a competition and more of everyone being in awe of the children’s dancing.
Notably, a boy named Kevin did backflips, front flips and parkour-esque moves, only to be rivaled by a girl named Danajah who executed similarly impressive multiple splits, cartwheels as well as impressively fluid and precise dancing.
As the workshop winded down, more freestyle ensued, most if not all people attending started to dance. Although this writer was rather awkward and stiff, it was a fun experience and exercise in learning new skills.
While the dance and hip hop workshop was a single-interest event, Community Play!/All Stars hold an array of different activities such as museum visits, talent shows and poetry workshops. These events are monthly and typically held at the Warnersville Recreation Center; however, the September event date is not yet known.