You may remember last fall when I started dancing again after a four-year hiatus thanks to Jess Grippo and her You Can Dance Again (YCDA) program. Since then, Jess has started to expand the concept, offering alternatives to her core workshop. YCDA began as a six to nine week experience, available both online and in-person for those living in the NYC area. This spring, Jess offered the first pop-up version of YCDA – a four-week mini workshop with a focus on pop-goddesses.
You might be wondering, what is a pop-goddess? Jess may very well have coined this term herself! She took three major goddess archetypes – Artemis, Kali, and Aphrodite – and paired them with a modern pop star whose personality, style, and dance reflect the core characteristics of the goddess archetypes – Pink, Beyoncé, and Lady Gaga respectively.
Over the course of the four-week Pop-Goddess workshop, the weekly virtual sessions focused on the core characteristics of the goddess archetypes and their pop-star counterparts. After exploring each theme, Jess shared guiding prompts and action steps to help us integrate the concepts into our dance practice and beyond. For those in the NYC area who were able to participate in the in-person program, each weekly class allowed us to put the prompts and integration steps into action with a community of fellow dancers.
The studio sessions allowed us to work collaboratively with the other dancers to create movements that embodied the goddess archetypes and pop-star qualities. Jess also incorporated choreography from the pop-icons and created a curated set of playlists with music from the core pop artists as well as other female artists whose music channeled the goddess spirit. The culmination of the virtual sessions and in-person classes allowed us fully embrace and embody the energy of the goddess archetypes and direct this energy through our bodies and into our dance.
The very specific and guided focus of the Pop-Goddess workshop provided a perfect space for introspection and internal work as well as a supportive community to outwardly express our inner-goddesses through dance. As Jess’s YCDA programs evolve and progress, I believe this balance of internal and external exploration, both individually and communally, is the core. Creative self-expression starts from within – dance is merely a medium to convey that expression.
The four-week Pop-Goddess workshop flew by, only brushing the surface of the themes, internal exploration, and expression through dance. I, along with many of the other dancers in the program, was left craving more. Jess listened and was inspired to create the next version of the YCDA program – a four-month experience with monthly themes, a two-day dance retreat, and a culminating showcase. This YCDA workshop is available online and in-person for those in the NYC area, and it kicks off in less than two weeks.
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. Maybe you’re already dancing, and you’re looking for a strong community to support you in working through internal ideas or barriers and expressing yourself fully through dance. This upcoming workshop might be just what you need – check out the full details here. If you’d like to chat further about my personal experience with YCDA, feel free to connect with me!
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.