Lollo’s fantastic Saturday dance event with guest teacher Eroll Dobreva
It’s always a tiny bit disorienting when Louise Stapel, better known as Lollo S., speaks Swedish in her classes, because she looks more like she was transplanted here from San Diego, with a bright open smile that feels more SoCal than Stockholm – that elusive combination of being relaxed and energetic at the same time.
I know, though, that the relaxed part comes entirely from the confidence of having taught dance fitness classes for years, and from the relentless preparation that goes into each choreography. Fortunately for me and a lot of other dance lovers, teaching dance fitness is her passion, and much like going to a meticulously prepared party, we can have a fabulous time without having to worry about the work behind the details.
Sometimes Lollo even arranges extra workshops for those of us who can’t get to her regular Friday classes at WorldClass. When done full-out, all her moves are strenuous and sweaty, and if you push yourself, you might just look good doing it too. Saturday’s workshop was no exception, and we learned a dynamic choreography to Britney Spears’ 1, 2, 3. (Note that the film above is the same choreography done at Saturday’s event, but it was filmed during a different class). As opposed to a real dance class in a studio, we don’t take too much time to rest and learn the next counts. We learn it by doing again and again, and it is just the right level of difficulty so that you can go in the right direction and get the basic steps about halfway through the class, and then triumphantly get the details in the final minutes.
The great thing about how dance is being integrated more and more into group ex is that you get a group of people who are prepared to be very physical and used to athletic movement. When I go to Balettakademien and do classes, athleticism is often the weak link. We take long pauses, and focus on technique, but it can be hard to power the moves. On the other hand, dance fitness often has the opposite problem – lots of power and energy but little time for technique. Of course, that’s not necessarily the point either in a fitness class. A lot of clients are perfectly happy having a great time and working hard, and beautiful execution isn’t really a priority.
Although, a bonus of doing a three hour event was that we actually did have this chance to practice technique with house instructor Eroll Dobreva, who became more likable by the minute. In a yet-unpublished post, I have written about trying new things, at least when it comes to other people trying new things. I am no stranger to rhythm, but when I took dance lessons it was all about restraint and control, so it’s always an incredible challenge to try to unlearn these things and do something I’m really bad at. So I loved the minutes we spent just practicing getting the right groove, and integrating it into basic steps. I’ve got to admit that it takes a lot of bravery to be able to do things wrong. Repeatedly. I forget that it took a year of ballet lessons to master double pirouettes, and now I get frustrated if I don’t get something in one class. So I hope we see more of Eroll!
In any case, I am feeling all the contractions and roll ups and downs in every muscle in my back today, so I think I’ll be satisfied to do a long walk with the dogs and spend the rest of a rainy day writing more here.