We have this obsession with documenting important moments in our lives.

We take photos at graduations, birthdays, and weddings, we journal about falling in love, and we record dance performances that took months of work and sacrifice. In dat 4K quality.

But how often do we revisit these moments?

In this day and age, there is just so much noise, so much stuff, that it’s easy to get caught in a hamster wheel of doing, doing, doing MORE!!! – without realizing that it’s getting us nowhere.

What we all need from time to time is a dose of reflection.

To slow down…

And flip through those photos; remember that sense of accomplishment and joy of celebration. We need to re-read those journal entries; be transported back to the love and lessons. We need to re-watch the performances that set the stage (pun very intended) for all the things that define who we are and what we do, now.

Don’t get me wrong – we’re on a wonderful, magical journey – each as individual dancers and as a collective community. Our future’s filled with possibilities impossible to know ahead of time, and unbounded potential that’s buzzing to be fulfilled.

We’re on this tip of moving, chasing, growing, grinding –

And that’s precisely why, once in a while,

We need to come back home.

Body Rock 2017: Homecoming

I’m just gonna say it –

The current climate of the community is changing. And change can sometimes be confusing to manage.

Hip hop was a voice for minorities. It’s a way for our people to tell their stories through their art. It created a sense of belonging, acceptance, identity, and empowerment.”

– Anna Sarao

While Hip hop dance has grown an entirely new branch (the urban dance choreography scene), the essence of it has remained the same.

Our love for dance is intrinsically tied to the freedom to use our voice, and our love for other dancers who care to listen.

The community – our tribe – our family – our inspirations – our mentors – our friends – they make it what it is.

We’re all on the same team.

These days, a lot of us kind of vaguely feel that there is some lack of substance in the scene – whether it’s in our choreographic movements themselves, or the reasoning behind certain things we want in dance.

We know that we need some re-calibrating to the source of our love.
We know that we need some context to our identity.
We know that we need this reflection.

This necessity is so often felt, even more often talked about

Yet seldom acted upon.

Body Rock 2017 is a chance for the dancers in our community to come back home.

 

How, though?

This year, the competing teams at Body Rock 2017 will be honoring a moment from a past year’s performance from a different team.

They are “reimagining” 45 seconds to 1 minute from that team’s set – whether that means doing the choreo straight, choreographing their own version of the piece, or incorporating a new mix or certain prop used in that section, whatever!

Before the teams perform, the audience will see a video of the moment being honored, including a brief explanation of why it holds such significance. So even if you weren’t there when it originally happened – no worries.

Judges will be asked to come early and be briefed on all the “moments” by Arnel Calvario and Anna Sarao.

The 5 bonus points are incorporated into the judging sheet under the category “Crowd Appeal.”

The other criteria is no different from any other show.

Execution, routine, staging, performance will all still be in the rubric; just with an extra “Easter egg hunt” for THE MOMENT.

 

Time capsules

When Anna explained the logistics of the performances to me, I was reminded of the times I’d be listening to a song on the radio and my mom would tell me which oldie a specific melody was sampled from. I’d then proceed to look up the song, find that section, and switch back and forth between the original and its newer interpretation.

It’s so cool. It gives perspective and appreciation for classics, as well as for their evolution.

“Dancers are always changing and innovating moves, as artists love to and have to do, but it’s also good to know the source of it.”

– Anna Sarao

This year’s competing teams have a similar challenge to producers of live-action re-imaginings of classic films. They are asked to use more creativity, create more depth, combat more challenges in the process.

But with one glance at the lineup, you can probably already tell – these teams are guaranteed to take this extra layer to the artistry to another level.

And we cannot wait to see how they do it!

 

Beyond space & time

We all draw inspiration from each other. Now, thanks to the internet, the range of inspiration knows no geographical boundaries –

Dancers from another state or country mimicking certain “styles” from YouTube. Beyond whether that’s good or bad (whole ‘nother article,) – it’s happening. Can’t deny that.

The range of inspiration knows no temporal boundaries, either.

We have access to years and years of footage – it’s a humbling reality check for those who are caught in the ego of the “now.”

The only reason dance has grown to what it is is because individuals have worked to create something bigger than themselves.

In a meta way, this applies to Body Rock’s journey, as well.

“Because I’m a dancer, I don’t ask the questions that a business person does. We don’t have a huge budget and never prioritized the fame or fortune.“

– Anna Sarao

Body Rock’s success and expansion is a side effect of simply staying true to dancers’ love of dance and wanting to cater to the community’s prosperity.

 

It starts with us

The world is changing fast.

It’s never been more important for the dance community to celebrate our shared history… past and present.

We need to keep what is ours safe and sacred.

– Anna Sarao

The speed at which we are able metabolize information endangers our lives in subtle, but insidiously compromising ways.

The messages that deserve the intimacy of face to face contact and body language are delivered instantly through text.

Heavy news topics that should cut deep are essentially forgotten once we scroll past them on Twitter.

Stories that need to be heard go in one earphone… and out the other.

The gravity, depth, and meaning of (not to be dramatic, but) life, gets diluted.

With so much saturation and not enough absorbing, Anna was inspired to take a break from Body Rock next year.

Yes, you read it right: There will be no Body Rock 2018.

There’s just a lot going on in this “transition phase” right now –

So many teams are evolving from friends getting together to dance, to full-blown companies with business models and different objectives. Classes aren’t just intimate learning experiences, they’re social gatherings and stages for dance videos.

Again, all amazing developments. Dancers in our community deserve to be recognized and (bluntly put,) paid for what they do.

But, like puberty, change can be difficult and confusing.

Let’s all use this time to come back home.

Just for a bit.

 

Home is where the heart is

Life moves so dang fast.

Good things, bad things, small things, big things…

Unless we make the conscious effort to preserve them, they will slip away.

We hope you join us at Body Rock 2017, in paying tribute to our past and simultaneously sharing excitement for our future.

In the same vein, we want to challenge our readers to implement their own rituals and traditions. Whether that means you, as an individual, keeping a dance log, or your dance team having a discussion, or asking your parents to tell you stories of their childhoods, or flipping through your teenage-years’ diary to see how you’ve both changed and remained the same…

Create systems that encourage yourself to honor your story.

If you’re not sure where to start, then Body Rock 2017 will be the perfect way to see it happen.

 

What are your thoughts on Body Rock this year? Comment below!

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