I think my mom enrolled me in my first dance class as soon as I could walk. From that moment forward, dance was a major part of my life. Hours after school were spent in class, weekends were spent at rehearsals, and summers were spent at camps and later full-blown dance intensives. By the end of high school, I was starting to get burnt out with auditions and politics, and I left the company I’d been with for over ten years. I spent my senior year taking classes at various studios in the area in a more low-pressure environment. I left for college unsure how dance would continue to fit into my life, but I quickly found a new dance community at the University of Georgia and at an independent studio in Athens. I’d never known a life without dance, but I graduated from college, moved across the country, and dance slipped out of my life.
When I moved to New York City last year, I vowed I’d start dancing again, but something was still holding me back. I’d lived in the city for eight months without stepping back into a studio. I felt out of practice and intimidated to take a class. Then a friend introduced me to Jess Grippo and her You Can Dance Again (YCDA) Program. After a brief call with Jess, I felt like YCDA was just what I needed – an alternative to the traditional dance scene and a supportive environment to reconnect with my dancer body and dancer identity. After a four-year hiatus, I finally started dancing again.
Jess is a dance reviver and creative coach based in Brooklyn. She created the YCDA Program because she, like me and so many other dancers, experienced a time where she lost dance and, in turn, a part of herself. YCDA is a simple way for dancers to return to their passion. The program is available both online and in-person for those living in the NYC area. During the virtual program, you’ll meet weekly with other dancers over a video hangout to receive guided dance sessions and coaching from Jess as well as other guest instructors. In the NYC-based program, you join the virtual program weekly in addition to meeting in a studio weekly with Jess and the other dancers. Both versions of the YCDA program focus on developing choreography from improvisation, guided prompts, and collaboration, culminating in a virtual showcase for the online program and a performance in NYC for the live program.
If something is holding you back from dancing again or you’ve been hoping for an opportunity to dance again free from comparison or competition, I highly recommend speaking with Jess and exploring the YCDA Program. The next session will begin in 2016, so be sure to join the movement to be the first to learn about what Jess has in store for the New Year! In the meantime, if you’re in the NYC area, get your tickets for the current program’s showcase next Friday, December 11 at 7:30P at the Alchemical Theatre Laboratory in Manhattan.