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Letters 07-27-2015

Next For Brownfields In regard to your recent piece on brownfield redevelopment in TC, the Randolph Street project appears to be proceeding without receiving its requested $600k in brownfield funding from the county. In response to this, the mayor is quoted as saying that the developer bought the property prior to performing an environmental assessment and had little choice but to now build it...

Defending Our Freedom This is in response to Sally MacFarlane Neal’s recent letter, “War Machines for Family Entertainment.” Wake Up! Make no mistake about it, we are at war! Even though the idiot we have for a president won’t accept the fact because he believes we can negotiate with Iran, etc., ISIS and their like make it very clear they intend to destroy the free world as we know it. If you take notice of the way are constantly destroying their own people, is that living...

What Is Far Left? Columnist Steve Tuttle, who so many lambaste as a liberal, considers Sen. Sanders a far out liberal “nearly invisible from the middle.” Has the middle really shifted that far right? Sanders has opposed endless war and the Patriot Act. Does Mr. Tuttle believe most of our citizens praise our wars and the positive results we have achieved from them? Is supporting endless war or giving up our civil liberties middle of the road...

Parking Corrected Stephen Tuttle commented on parking in the July 13 Northern Express. As Director of the Traverse City Downtown Development Authority, I feel compelled to address a couple key issues. But first, I acknowledge that  there is some consternation about parking downtown. As more people come downtown served by less parking, the pressure on what parking we have increases. Downtown serves a county with a population of 90,000 and plays host to over three million visitors annually...

Home · Articles · News · Features · Soul Step Urban Dance is Phat
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Soul Step Urban Dance is Phat

Valerie Kirn-Duensing - March 2nd, 2009
Soul Step Urban Dance is Phat
Valerie Kirn-Duensing 3/2/09

A dance studio typically evokes images of pink leotards, satin ribbon toe shoes and minions of little girls lined up with their hair pulled back into tight little buns. At Soul Step Urban Dance Studio you need to stop, rewind and erase those images. It ain’t like nuthin’ we’ve seen here in Northern Michigan.
Soul Step is the brainchild of Traverse City native Emily Fine who cut her teeth dancing with the Dance Center and Dance Arts Academy throughout her childhood and teenage years. After graduating from Traverse City Central High School, she headed west in 2002, to San Francisco to further her studies in dance.
“I first fell in love with hip-hop class here in Traverse City,” said Fine. “When I got to San Francisco, that interest just grew to the point where it became my focus.”
Soul Step Urban Dance Studio opened in September when Fine and husband, Jason, moved back to the area. Class offerings are beginning hip hop, street jazz, freestyle funk, dance foundations and urban elements. No ballet. No tap. No little girls in pink tutus.
In fact, the studio is actually adult-centered, with a mature, open-minded, unintimidating atmosphere. Fine wanted to create a space where people could try new things without being self-conscious or have fear of judgments. She also wanted it to be inexpensive and thus established a drop-in dance policy. The cost is just $10 per class. Stop in when you can or when you feel like it. Multiple class cards can be purchased for quantities of eight to 44 classes with increasing incremental price breaks.
Younger students (those aged 8 to 14) will get their chance to try urban dance moves starting in March when Fine will offer a Saturday afternoon hip hop class.
“I certainly don’t want to exclude young dancers, it’s just that they already have so many options here in Traverse City,” said Fine. “My focus for now is on adults. I want to inspire positive change and promote creativity. Dance is so therapeutic. My clients can come in and forget about their problems for an hour or two.”

THE OPTIONS
For those with little or no dance training, Fine recommends her Foundations class. While focusing on and breaking down basic aspects of dance such as core strength, balance, flexibility, and body isolations, participants will get to know their bodies and find a new understanding of dance and movement.
First time dancers will also feel right at home with Beginning Hip-Hop. This class is all about having fun and getting your groove on, while learning the fundamentals of hip-hop dance. From old school popping and locking to music video style moves, the diverse range of movement allows you to explore and in time, incorporate you own style. Plus, it is a good workout.
Intermediate to Advanced Hip-Hop classes simply build upon basics and fundamentals established in the beginning class. Although Fine encourages anyone to drop in and at least give it a try, especially if you have some previous dance experience.
The real fun begins with her Freestyle Funk class. Set to a funky-fresh soundtrack, students will be dancing as soon as they walk in the door. This is a high-energy class that focuses less on technique and more on exploration of individual styles and freely feeling the music.
Street Jazz is contemporary jazz mixed with isolations and syncopations of hip-hop. It is designed for all levels of dancers ranging from first timers to advanced.
Urban Elements is one of the newest dance forms out there. It is an exploration of the diverse language of hip hop, including club and house style dancing. Expect anything from Michael Jackson’s moonwalk, to b-boy top rocks.
“Hip-hop is so misunderstood,” said Fine. “Mainstream media just trashes it. I want to represent it in a positive light.”

ROOTS
Hip-hop first surfaced in the 1970s in New York City as a style of music, dance, dress and even behavior. The phrase “hip-hop” was actually first used in “scatting” sequences, which are moments of improvisation when the “MC” or DJ speaks rhythmically over the top of the musical beat.
At the same time a similar phenomenon was happening on the west coast, except its version had a decidedly funky beat to it and introduced the main stay dance moves of “pop” and “lock.” Over time, the dance forms of the west and east coasts were linked by common interests in music and now the term ‘hip-hop” incorporates influences from the ‘70s from both areas and there is less distinction between the two.
According to Fine, hip-hop is an amazingly creative, energizing and empowering form of dance. It allows for much more improvisation and personal interpretation than any other form of dance she knows of. Because it is so high energy, it is also a very effective cardio workout.
For now, Fine works part time at Oryana Natural Foods Market by day and teaches dance by night. She has big dreams of using dance to inspire positive change in people’s lives.
“I was definitely inspired by my first dance teacher to have my own studio,” said Fine. “I feel lucky that one of my dreams has already come true.”
You can check out Soul Step at
www.soulstepdancestudio.com or call the studio at (231) 421-5656. Soul Step is located at 1249 Woodmere in Traverse City.

 
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