sophiann mahalia teaches a heels dance workshop this sunday, April 11th!
Sunday, April 11th @ 2:30pm
90 Minutes | All Levels
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A current Philadelphia Artist, Sophiann Mahalia moved from Hartford, Connecticut to receive her BFA in Dance Choreography and Performance from Temple University. Sophiann graduated Summa Cum Laude and had the honor of being the recipient of the Rose Vernick Most Promising Performers Award.
Sophiann’s dance credentials include Equilibrium Dance Theatre, D2D: Dare To Dance, and Kariamu and Company: Traditions. She has trained under Lee Aca Thompson, who has influenced artists such as Michael Peters choreographer for Michael Jackson’s Thriller, and Dr. Kariamu Welsh, creator of the Umfundalai technique. She has studied West African, Modern, Ballet, Hip hop, Waacking, and Umfundalai with AQiida Gilbert, Dara Stevens-Meredith, Dr. Kariamu Welsh, Jillian Harris, Jolet Creary, Kun Yang Lin, Laura Katz Rizzo, Lee Aca Thompson, and Stephen Hankey.
Her recent works include music video Clarity for singing artist Saleka Night Shyamalan directed by Ishani Shyamalan and M. Night Shyamalan. Alongside this, she was one of the featured dancers for Ari Lennox’s Shea Butter Baby music video featuring J Cole. In the commercial world, Sophiann has had the opportunity to do work for companies such as BOMBAS, gone on tour with the Clothesline Muse starring six time nominated jazz singer Nnenna Freelon and performed in New Freedom Theatre’s Black Nativity directed by Rajendra Maroon Maharaj.
She promotes body positivity and strongly uses dance to tell the story that can’t be understood with just words, but movement. Sophiann Mahalia explores dance through her own experiences of the black dancing body by using her fusion of african, hip hop, and waacking to promote the limitless and regal qualities of womanhood within the black dancing body. She aspires to inspire other artists to take their artistry to the next level as she does the same.
I spoke with Sophiann to get a sense of what to expect from her workshop! Check it out!
What is a heels dance class?
I don’t want to generalize because all classes are different- there are master teachers like Kiira Harper for instance, that really break down the essence of a heels class. For my class we are focusing more on our own sensuality- how you feel in your own body with these heels on. We pay attention to how the heels create beautiful lines and how you can start to play with these extensions to slay your own way!
The heels help bring you up and keep you forward- they’re an extension of your own body. They are tools to help you expand your own movement and tap into your truest and most playful self. Heels help me find a way to fit into my own pocket when I dance. My advice is-don’t try to compare yourself to someone else when you are taking a heels class.
What do you feel like taking a heels class has to offer in terms of empowerment and getting in touch with a more feminine and sensual side?
From society we get a lot of messages about what is taboo- you shouldn’t wear that or you can’t touch here. But in a heels class you get to play with sensuality. You don’t have to feel like “oh I’m doing too much”- No! You can do more! And we’re gunna love it. In a heels class you can be whatever you want to be. It’s very empowering to be able to own your own body in that moment.
Do you need heels to take this class?
Nope! If you don’t have heels it’s ok! Come in sneakers and show them off!
What type of heels are best for dancing in?
I usually like heels that hold your ankle. I wouldn’t use pumps in this class- sometimes you move quickly so you want something that's more secure.
What are you looking forward to in teaching this workshop?
I’m so excited to get back into the studio since the pandemic. I’m excited to play with some choreo and dance with people!
This piece, choreographed by Sophiann, features dancers: Ama Gora (@sheabutta_mami and Surya Swilley (@swilley_). Music: Ja Ara E by Burna Boy (@burnaboygram) Videography: Kai (@rbkvisuals) MUA: Kymmie (@kingkymmie