Building Block is like the Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory of dance studios. All of us know about it, are dying to get inside, envy those who’ve experienced it, and admire those running it. BUT, we have yet to be privileged to the inner workings of Building Block – which is why we’re taking you on a quick BB session with Keone and Mari.
Watch our inside look to experience what it’s like to get a private session at Building Block and the story and motivations from Keone and Mari themselves!
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Breaking It Down
Building Block, as its name suggests, focuses on your training from its elemental roots. The atoms, the alphabet, the ingredients of dance- from the ground-up. They dig deep into the root of your movement, your intentions, your strengths and weaknesses.
Before you begin your sessions, you will have a consultation with your instructor(s), where you can discuss what you’d like to achieve through your sessions at Building Block. As you could see in the video, Keone and Mari were interested in my background, as well as my strengths, weaknesses, and personal goals as a dancer.
You could very well ask to learn a piece, as any other class goes, but the shortcomings of regular classes that Keone and Mari hoped to supplement went further than that.
Over years of teaching abroad and the culmination of countless conversations with students and fellow instructors, they decided that the most important thing that dancers needed to do, was to touch back on the basics. From grooving and exploring foundational styles, to studying how each individual’s body mechanics make them move,
“It’s important to grow while preserving your roots.”
The tailored lessons designed by careful examination of your roots- it’s an experience that is impossible to get from a class that isn’t as intimate or hands-on as Building Block’s sessions.
Here, you have no choice but to be engaged and give full attention to your mind and body, which pushes students to see their own potential that they otherwise would have glossed over while learning a few 8-counts at a workshop. Beyond being able to watch one or just a few students at a time, it also gives the instructors a chance to get to know each dancer on a more personal level.
“You build a relationship with your students in a more sincere way. You see specific improvements and cherish their accomplishments. It makes me believe in my students and want to help them see what they’re capable of.”
Building Block caters to students of all different levels, styles, backgrounds, etc. Their instructors have trained dancers mostly non-locally: at the time of the interview, 5% of their students so far were from San Diego, and the other 95% were from out of town. Since then, the studio has only gathered more acclaim and added to their roster of past students who have used their experience as a catalyst in their growth.
In the video, Keone touched on how dance affects every other part of your life as well. Dance is really all-encompassing, and who you are as a student, a leader, a teacher, a community member, all need a little redirection at times in order to refresh your understanding of your purpose as an individual. Beyond drills and grooves, Building Block is also open to discussions on leadership, mission statements, or using your other skills and passions for dance.
For example, as someone who loves writing about dance (obviously), they gave me insight on ways to evolve in the skills I have to offer. The community grows as its members grow, and in order to keep nurturing it, you need to be open and willing to learn. And to have mentors so dedicated to your success is quite priceless.
“We want our students to take the lessons and principles from Building Block and apply them everywhere- in the classroom, with their teams, in their lives.”
– Keone & Mari Madrid
Thank you, again, to Keone, Mari, and all those involved in Building Block. The experience was definitely challenging, but in the most rewarding and enlightening ways.
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Wanna train at Building Block? Visit their website, or shoot an e-mail to [email protected]!