“I break them right down,” laughs Jade Duffy, choreographer and founder of BodyElectric dance studio. She’s speaking about her students at BodyElectric, a dance school she describes as for “beginner adults.”
You may have heard someone tell you that everybody can sing. Duffy applies that ethos to dance, and in a week’s time her troupe of lawyers, architects, fashion designers and scientists will prove whether it’s true with a one-show-only performance.
Twice a year, the inner-city dance studio stages a night of jazzy excess for its enthusiastic amateurs, with elaborate costumes, medley routines and glitter. Lots of glitter. This year, the studio’s eight dance troupes will perform the theme, Man, I Feel Like A Woman. The performance is a culmination of 14 weeks of classes and countless hours spent making their own costumes.
Duffy started BodyElectric in 2007, quickly finding a following of inner-city professionals. “A lot of them may have done a little dancing when they were kids, but haven’t found anywhere they can go and have a really good time,” Duffy says. “It’s something they’re really passionate about because they just want to dance. It helps take their mind off the stress of the day.”
BodyElectric teaches jazz, but it’s not all mum dancing, spirit fingers or hip thrusting (though there’s room for those). In more than three months of classes, dancers work on fitness and coordination. They also build a three-minute choreographed routine to present at the end of semester. For working professionals who’ve spent a career honing their skills in one area, BodyElectric classes are a time to be beginners again.
“We try to find that balance between discipline and fun. Jazz dancing by nature is very sharp and there are a lot of poses, so people get up there and do that thing they’ve always wanted to do. Dancing should be fun, it should be enjoyed.”