#uma has a whole stash of *free* online dance & Movement tutorials!
In this video, Ron Wood breaks down the basics of the Dolphin Dive- a popular ground move in house dance. You can find a TON of other tutorials from Ron including: "How to do a Spin Down", "How to do a Stab", and even "Getting to the Floor"- to name only a few.
Ron is not only dope at doing all this stuff- he's also dope at teaching it. We recommend Ron's class for anyone looking to work on coordination, flexibility, strength, balance, core strength, creativity, agility and overall confidence in moving in and out of the floor, holding weight in your hands, and going upside down. These skills are useful for ALL STYLES OF DANCE! If you want to get into class with him you can catch him the following times:
Tuesday 7:00-8:00: Home Bodyweight Workout
Thursday 7:30-8:30: Beginner Movement Flow
Friday 7:30-8:30: Intermediate Movement Flow
Sign up through our schedule page!
enroll the youth in your life in movemakers Philly Summer camp!
WHO? Youth ages 5 and up!
WHAT? A fun summer camp outside, in studio or online that gets kids moving through dance classes and games, as well as engaging their creativity through music and arts and technology classes
WHEN? All summer 2021! See our summer camp page for weeks offered. Drop off is from 8:30-9am. Pickup at 3:00pm. Extended stay options are available!
WHERE? MoveMakers Philly is located at 2100 Chestnut St. Philadelphia PA!
WHY? After a year of zoom school kids need to be outside, moving and interacting with their peers more than ever before! MoveMakers counselors create a welcoming and engaging environment for ALL students to thrive this summer.
MoveMakers Summer Dance Camp will get kids outside, dancing, playing games and participating in structured arts and technology classes!
Participating Campers will work on developing:
-Coordination and fitness
-Musicality and creativity, and
-Determination, focus and grit
And most importantly of all campers will...
Sign up now to reserve your spot for MoveMakers In-Person or online Summer Camp! In-person drop off is between 8:30 and 9:00. In person students will begin their days outside- taking hip hop and breaking classes and playing games. In the afternoon they will be at the studio for lunch break, more dancing and arts and technology classes! Online camp includes hip hop and breaking classes live streamed throughout the day as well as special arts and technology classes with incredible instructors!
Sign up through MoveMakers Philly Summer Camp Page!
Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
sophiann mahalia teaches a heels dance workshop this sunday, April 11th!
Sunday, April 11th @ 2:30pm
90 Minutes | All Levels
Sign up through our homepage!
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
Helen Nolan teaches a contemporary fusion Dance workshop April 4th @UMA!
Sunday, April 4th @ 2:30pm
Sign up through our homepage!
Helen has been training in street styles such as hip hop foundations, house, locking and popping since she was in grade school in Boulder, Colorado. Later on she began to branch out to incorporate contemporary dance styles in her training. Since then, she has refined her own style through experimentation in choreographing, enjoying and exploring the interplay between the various styles she has under her belt. Helen has danced and toured with, in addition to choreographed for, LA based dance company Academy of Villains Contemporary and has sat as artistic director and danced for Colorado based company Side By Side Dance Co. founded by Larkin Poynton and Sarah Touslee.
In her workshop on April 4th “Contemporary Fusion”, Helen will present a version of what a fusion between contemporary movement and hip hop movement could be. She will introduce participants to her personal methods of movement generation within this blend of styles. Participants will also begin to explore and discover within their own bodies what movement possibilities are opened up when we experiment with this kind of fusion.
Get to know a little more about Helen and what to expect from her upcoming workshop below!
Could you talk about your relationship with choreographing movement?
An early inspiration for me was being interested in seeing how contemporary choreographers formulated their dances for the stage as opposed to for a cypher or street gathering. Different stories and emotions can be told by utilizing these tools in choreography. I like to take elements from both [contemporary dance and hip hop forms] and have them ping pong back and forth from each other. That will definitely happen in this class.
My love for choreographing really started in CO when I was dancing with a company called Side By Side Dance Co founded by Larkin Poynton and Sarah Touslee. They were 2 humongous inspirations for me in terms of pushing my preconceived boundaries of what making dances that aren’t clear cut hip hop dances but still uphold its principles can look like. What if we use hip hop vocabulary but perform to a different type of music? What if we use hip hop vocabulary and other movement strategically to tell a story in a dance? I’d also like to say my relationship to choreography really grew out of being a part of a supportive community who was excited to make stuff with me. It takes a village!
Today I use choreography as a tool for reflection and recontextualizing the world around me. I’m interested in using the practices of dancing, making, and watching choreography to question and make sense of things that sometimes aren’t so apparent in everyday life! I’m always working to expand my movement vocabulary to have more things to pull from.
How do you discover the movement that you decide to set in your choreography?
We’ll touch a little on that in class! Some of the improv work we do will be movement creation using one version of a process that I use sometimes. I come to choreography in a lot of different ways. I like to put myself through prompts or games to try to find different ways of combining movements together vs. listening to a song and trying to make a move that matches that part of the song. I try using limitations or choreography maps or other types of fun prompts to help spice things up and allow different results to come than I might have gotten if I just tried to pull moves out of my brain cold. After the initial exploration the next stage is usually revision and articulation of the nitty gritty details like musicality and texture.
What is your goal for this workshop?
My goal is not for everyone to look exactly like me at the end of the class. My goal is for the choreography and improvisation scores to be a guide into your own individual exploration and experimentation practice in your mind and body.
Sign up for Helen's workshop through our homepage!
Learning about learning: A Love Letter to UMA and to Imperfection
UMA Homie Heather (who made the dope "Seduce Yourself" poster featured below and is just generally a badass at making things, dancing, teaching Spanish and so much more) shared a reflection on learning, vulnerability and embracing imperfection that centers around her experience at UMA. Heather is a shining example of a community member that goes after their goals while also uplifting and supporting the rest of the community. We're so lucky to have people like Heather in our midst!
(Shout out to UMA fam Julia D. on the left in the pic with the puppets!)
Learning about learning: A Love Letter to UMA and to Imperfection
My first experience at UMA involved me standing in the back corner of the studio watching my body move in the mirror. Spastic, erratic, and stiff. It was a house class, and I was mortified. I had a small crisis, contained to the few speckled white floor tiles where I stood. I was quick to make jokes about how terrible and how sweaty I was, to beat others to the chase. I muttered them to the people beside me any chance I got. This has been my M.O. over the years—self deprecating armor. In a way the armor works. It also prevents me from trying anything wholeheartedly. I suffered through to the end of class, relieved to be able to get out of there.
It went on like that for a few classes. One mortifying experience after another. One more hour of watching my body do something very different from what I was asking it to. At some point I stopped cracking jokes about how bad I was, mostly because no one seemed to care much. Honestly no one was really looking at me in class at all. Sometimes I’d get to class early and eat a snack that I’d bought in the deli downstairs and I’d watch people practice. The people practicers ranged from being brand new to the teachers whose artistry was, and still is, otherworldly to me. Over time I let myself genuinely try in class. And I started to get the hang of some movements. That felt good. Then I got the hang of a few more. Each time I learned something I had more evidence that getting it was possible, because I had gotten things before. It went on like that in a loop: movement, progress, confidence and so on.
As my vocabulary grew, I started to be able to decode the movement of dancers that hung around that I admired. I started to see their movements in their smallest units, little steps strung together and made personal by the way their particular bodies tended to move. Before this I just thought that dance was magic, and it is, but not the kind that I thought. Not the kind that you are born with —or not —but the kind that you go building. Developing over the course of many hours of linking small learned things together, of messing around with friends, of practicing in the lobby before class while shy new dancers eat snacks nearby and try to play it cool like they aren’t watching you intently.
About a year into going to UMA regularly, they hosted a series called “Working on It”. A cabaret of sorts in which people showed pieces they were working on that were at varying stages of development. Again, demystifying the creative process. Watching these shifted something in me, allowing me to see people’s unfinished works. And again, witnessing people that I had come to know in class letting themselves be seen as they were.
Somewhere in the intersection of these experiences I learned something other than movement. Or rather, movement became the vehicle through which I could practice vulnerability in a concrete way: over and over in a room full of sweaty people. People say things all the time like “believe in yourself” or “be more confident.” And I always agree, but never knew how. Understanding this process has opened up a whole creative world for me. I’ve been able to teach myself things with a new fluency, and a new joy.
It was on the train home from a Working on It that I decided to make my own puppet show. Because, why not me? And a year later I did — an imperfect, falling apart, beautiful, DIY, earnest, clumsy puppet show in my living room. The cast was populated by people that I know through UMA. Friends from UMA filled the audience. Here, another stepping stone in that movement- progress- confidence cycle. This summer, I will be publishing a book of short stories. This, yet again, terrifies me, but the terror is now something I’m better acquainted with. When I was writing out my thank you’s at the end of the book I felt compelled to include everyone at UMA, for teaching me how to stick with myself through all of my imperfection. For screaming “YOU BETTER GET IT” at full volume every time I got up the nerve to close my eyes and jump into the middle of a cypher.
whole Body: Moving from the floor up