Dance or not to dance – by Rina Kamta
Since I started dancing, I’ve kept myself incredibly busy doing lots of “things”. Going to countless classes, doing countless movement phrases and doing countless repetitions. And it’s true that I progressed a lot in that time. But what have I really been doing? I was one of those wanna-try-everything girl. Curious and always up for challenges. To be honest, I still am. I started with jazz, followed by hip-hop, I took a few break dance classes, had a crush on House dance, fell in love with Modern dance and somehow got lost with pleasure in the world of salsa. I was hooked though. I danced, I performed and I had a blast. And then, I took a break from dancing to explore other activities like acting, teaching theater, yoga and meditation.
However, after two years I started missing the good old times. I thought about going back into the world of groovy house moves, old skool hip-hop or modern jazz. I started a modern dance course, when the audition call of JSX crossed my path. I thought about attending, it was a chance to make a dream come true, why not give it a try?
Day of the audition
What a day. If you’re going to audition, of course you make sure that you are on time. That did not work for me. I was lost in (for me) big city Amsterdam and arrived 10 minutes late. With my heart beating in my throat, I picked up the exercise Joyce was demonstrating. While jumping and spinning around, I try to check out the other participants. Joyce taught us a cool dance piece from her new choreography, Shades of Wonderland. We had to show our skills all together and in small groups to the jury. In the jury: Joyce and all the other ladies of La Diferencia. After the choreography, it was time for more sweating with the final solo dance of each participant. For your information, I never, ever danced in front of a jury with professional dancers. Heck, this was my first solo dance audition ever. One by one I watched girls show their solo dance. Hip-hop, salsa, and a lot of modern jazzy stuff. Finally, it’s my turn. While I stand on “the dot”, my thoughts turn back to the dream I had when I was I little girl. Whether or not I pass the audition, this moment will never be taken away from me. I danced as if my life depended on it. Diligently I told my story to the music of Stromae, ‘Formidable’. What a formidable moment it was.
An “old” new beginning
After a few days the good news appeared in my mailbox, I was welcomed as a new member of Feminine Difference. Whoop! One week later we started training. An “old” new world opened up to me. The workouts were tough, the choreography was a challenge and in the first few weeks, I felt like I was run over by a truck. At home, the couch was my best friend. I had to rebuild my physical condition, my dance skills, my life. As time went on, things went better. More routine, more sense, more fun. Premiere Eventually, the moment of the premiere is getting closer. For the first time after two years, I’m back as a dancer on stage. The nerves raged through my body. I was sweating in my gorgeous white suit. But I did my thing, together with the team. Our first performance on stage, we nailed it. I felt amazing after our first show. The adrenaline was flowing. I was relieved. Proud. Ready for the next show! That wonderful moment of joy soon makes space for intensive training again, cause the next show is waiting at the door. And the next after that. The extra training sessions, Friday night performances, three hours of sleep, rise and shine again on Saturday morning to perform at a fashion show, photo shoots and training again. Always smiling and always with the same positive energy. This is what a dancer’s life is all about.
Experiencing the difference
I am blessed to be surrounded by people who each have their own unique sense of style and enthusiasm. For myself, I have constantly been thinking about ways to push myself. As a dancer, you need to grow and that is exactly in which Joyce challenges all of us. To become better performers,enlarge our confidence, to be fierce and feminine. To be the difference. With this new experience, I realize that training isn’t about doing things right. It’s about doing the right things. How you use your time in class, how you approach doing all those exercises and movement phrases every time, matters. It matters a lot. Oh yes, the life as a dancer comes usually with lots of muscle pain, lack of sleep, hard work, blood,sweat and tears. But I love it. And no, I wouldn’t trade this adventure for anything.
A period began in which I worked my ass off – by Kelly Roos
My premiere with the new Feminine Difference show ‘Shades of Wonderland’ was at Salsa Madhouse in De Kuip in Rotterdam. Almost all my salsa friends were there. I waited at the sideline of the stage, standing still but already sweating my make up off, and then we began. We danced, we performed, and I LOVED it. How sweet it is to perform and to share your feelings and your love for dancing with other people through a show you worked so hard on together!
We started training for ‘Shades of Wonderland’ in February. A period began in which I worked my ass off in tiresome warming ups, getting used to a new style and thinking I would always be a little behind the other girls, who seemed so confident and at ease. Joyce taught us the moves and styles of her choreography – the modern dance parts, the cha cha, the fast salsa and she brought her talented friend Linda Provenza to teach us the groove of house music. How hard we have worked! And slowly but steady, without realizing, I got more comfortable. First, I knew the moves. Then I learned the choreography. And then I started to get the dance. And perhaps even more important – I got to know Joyce and the team members – my team mates! – better and realized we were all going through the same process of growing into a new group and into a new choreography. Dancing and performing in a show team isn’t about who learns fastest or who dances best, but about creating a show together.
Without noticing, a new phase started: fine tuning. Deciding on positions, choosing and trying out costumes and new shoes, doing your hair and make up for the first time – and, of course,performing! After Madhouse came De Kroon in Amsterdam, Salsaventura in Zoetermeer and even performing at a runway show in Apeldoorn. And we’ve only just begun. I love to perform our show and I love to tell my own story with it. For me, it is not only about doing something you love, but also about growing into the best version of yourself and about working together on things you may never think you could do. I hope everyone will enjoy ‘Shades of Wonderland’ and the story every one of us is trying to tell. I’ll see you on the dancefloor!