Review of Zafire DC Workshops with focus on Class 7/20/2016

(Picture credit- Zafire DC Project)

I have been going to the regular Zafire class every Wednesday night led byEdwin Alvarez of Zafire DC for the past 4 months at the Latin Dancer Studio and have always left the class inspired and motivated to work on my dance. His classes push the students to get better- no matter the level- and are progressive in nature, designed to help build a more confidant, technically skilled, and better dancer. He emphasizes timing and the footwork portion includes alot of off beat timing so the students can REALLY LEARN TIMING and not just get trapped into a robotic 123, 567. He often puts you on the spot at the end of class to demonstrate the material just taught in front of your fellow peers. This holds everyone accountable and serves as an effective tool to motivate the students to really make their best effort to focus in class and learn the material as best you can less you find yourself embarrassed. Needless to say, I pay STRICT attention in class and this is coming from someone whom it has been proven legally has the attention span of a Gnat. . These reasons and more are why I keep going back.

Class 7/13/2016, Edwin invited Zafire Team Member Marleny Espinal to teach with him. I was ecstatic that she would be in class because I’ve watched (STALKED) her on the down low for a few years now without even knowing her name at the time, taping her whenever the opportunity presented itself like a thief in the night, disappearing quick when the dance was complete so she wouldn’t know who was shining that bright light in her face in the dark. Now with her in class and within close proximity, I made sure to position myself right behind her and watched her like a hawk trying to absorb and imitate her every move- no matter how feeble my efforts were. It was thrilling to have a female dancer of this caliber in the DC area in class on a week night to provide an example of how to style dynamically and femininely while stepping effectively during the dance.

Last night 7.20/2016, Zafire DC presented a special Body movement workshop led by Jariel Garcia and it was absolutely AMAZING! Why? Because it was a beginner class that still delivered high level concepts of body movement, timing, weight shifting, and rumba to show how they can enhance your dance immediately.

First half of the class covered the footwork and the timing while stressing how to step out your turns and how to utilize weight shifting to make you more effective in doing syncopated footwork. 2nd half of the class focused on the upper body and hip movement adding contra body motion, the natural rhythm of chest movement, placement of arms, the concept of angling the body, alternating between crouching and standing tall- all effects and concepts that made the routine jump to life. The material in its entirety was a wonderful fundamental starting point for introducing a new language that could be incorporated into your OWN dance to make it better looking and more authentic to behold/express.

Jariel clearly explained and demonstrated why it was important to incorporate the Upper body in your dance and not just focus on the stepping or footwork so that now you can actually LOOK like you are dancing and not like you are just going through the motions- BOOM. I now feel like I need 10 more years of dance study to integrate these concepts into my OWN dance to even remotely feel satisfied with my dance journey. FANTASTIC class and am SO looking forward to the next one.

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