So I’m sitting in Giulia’s office after class, trying desperately to contain the sweat that is pouring down my face (and silently swearing at the other girls whose hair seem totally unaffected by the workout) when Dario walks in to grab his lunch from the cubbyhole it’s been waiting in. As he bounces in (apparently his energy is as unaffected by the workout as the girls’ hair), he says “hi Jynxy!”. Giulia tells me she thinks it’s cute that the Agency dancers have adopted my hip-hop nickname. I didn’t really think much of it at the time but later I realized something… I didn’t really think much of it at the time. I seem to have missed the pivotal moment when I was initiated into the clique.
If you are just now finding out that I am in awe at the incredible sense of inclusiveness I feel emanating from the Tripoli Studios dancers, let me be the first to welcome you,… as it is clearly the first time you are reading this blog. People already know that I am amazed by the openness this particular group has towards newcomers (never outsiders).
I spend a lot of time writing about “the dance world” but I have yet to write about the group of dancers itself. (As I type this, I can almost hear the Agency dancers catch their breath, wondering where I am going with this.) In a very short amount of time, I have been able to explore a world that is all new to me. And while the particulars of each individual in this world are still being revealed, the mold they fit into is very clear to me. Many words get thrown around – crew, group, agency – but in this case I’ll have to call it as I see it: family.
Family is not about a group of people who are exactly alike. If it were, my brothers (both around 6 feet) would have disowned my 5”3 frame years ago.
Sidebar: No, disowning me is not an actual option. I’m your sister and you’re stuck with me. But thanks for taking time to read the blog!
Like I was saying, family is not about everyone being the same, looking the same, having the same friends, sticking to the same routines… quite the opposite. Families are made up of people who can be very different. As such, they can fight, they can get annoyed with each other’s stupidity, they can mock each other relentlessly…. and they can love each other, both despite this list and because of it.
See that last line… Yeah… that’s the definition of family.
Every week, I am enveloped by the Tripoli Studios family. By now, those who don’t know my name will at least recognize me as the girl who stands in the back right corner. Those who do know my name greet me with hugs (and then there’s Ken who greeted me with a hug even before he knew my name). As we wait for class, people share their accomplishments, their experiences and their frustrations in life (or in love or in lunacy… it really depends on the day). For me, it’s a chance to catch up (or learn about) the details of the hip-hop world that I have missed whilst in my therapizing land. Although I’m pretty much the only one who still carries a visitor visa in this world, I’m not the only one who juggles multiple personalities. The couches are filled with a hodge-podge, complete with a make-up artist, a scientist, a future cop and a synchro-coach (to name a few). Despite our differences, it takes only sweats and sneaks to morph this chaos into a cohesive (albeit somewhat dysfunctional) crew.
In class, we blend together – not in style or funk; not in attire or language; not even in agreement over how the movements should look (I mean waacking is never actually part of the choreo and yet there are people who somehow manage to put it in every week) but we blend together in laughter and in support. Whatever musicality you bring into the room, or even if you are just learning what the wordmusicality means, coming to class becomes the common denominator.
So I am part of a dance family. I never thought I would have one but I seem to have adopted them… or they have adopted me… it’s all kinda’ hazy how I came to be in the current state that I’m in. But it is what it is. We mock each other’s ridiculous moments. (Hint: ask Giulia to show you what to do when Cee-lo “can’t afford a Ferrari”) We have inside jokes. (Hint: show Dario you have cookies). When the circumstances require it, we come up with code words and secret handshakes.
It’s not about surrounding yourself by those who are most like you;
It’s about surrounding yourself with those who are most likely to let you be you.
PS: If you are curious about this family I speak of, you can check them out for yourself…