It was such a pleasure to return to my alma mater to share what I've learned with Vassar's Official Hip-Hop Dance Crew, HYPE. On Saturday May 2nd, a day of free workshops were held at Vassar College's Kenyon Hall and open to the community. Beginning with my own Spicy Latin Fusion and followed by Shiva Ware teaching Afro-Caribbean. Last but never least Apollo Sa'Deek taught his trademark Ghetto Stiletto class.
As a recent alum of Vassar Class of 2011 and co-founder of HYPE back in my sophomore year '07, it is very important to me as well as fellow HYPE founders that the community stays connected and that past members continue a dialogue with current and future members. Also, that current students continue to use their resources to their utmost potential during their time on campus. Alongside Merema Ahmed, fellow HYPE founder and Class of 2012, we proposed this opportunity to return to campus and share a slice of our experience and community as professional dancers and entrepreneurs in Los Angeles.
From their mission statement, "HYPE is an all-inclusive, dynamic, and energetic dance crew that is dedicated to creating a space on Vassar’s campus for hip-hop dance..."
This mission is one that is very dear to my heart. During my own time at Vassar, HYPE was just beginning to understand the importance of the group we created. Not until the tail end of our stay did we finally become an official organization and receive the opportunity to fund our vision for this community. Today the gates are wide open for current students to reach above and beyond what they think is possible.
Having the chance to return to teach my own brand, a mix of my two classes Spicy Latin Fusion, and Sensual Sunday, was an opportunity for reflection and inspiration. To return to Vassar alongside my mentors for the second time to share our experiences and art was a very fulfilling experience. Its so gratifying to continue to water the soil of this community and in turn, to feel supported as we take on the entertainment industry and life after Vassar.
The opportunity to learn from and have access to industry professionals would have been such an amazing resource for me as I was graduating and pursuing a career in dance, I am so grateful we were able to provide the students with some perspective and of course underline and emphasize the importance of staying true to themselves first and foremost as artists in whatever realm or career they choose to pursue.
So many thanks to Merema Ahmed for her dedication and hard work to making this happen and so efficiently. And of course, thank you to Shiva Ware and Apollo Sa'deek for offering their talents and wisdom. And to the members of HYPE (shout out to Tewa Kpulun and the exec board) for helping us make this event a reality, hosting us, and generally 'Ackin' Bad'.