Budding dancer and Hooper enthusiast Sarah Stone writes about her experience in Darkstar’s weekly London classes.
I found the Core Skills class approachable as a beginner and is good for building confidence with the dance style. Clear and detailed explanations are given for technique, and short combinations are broken down and drilled at a manageable pace. I found the classes to be fun and challenging, and Darkstar takes the time to give brief feedback to individuals to help them improve and progress. To me this is very important and something you do not always get in dance classes. I also found that this class is valuable to attend even when moving past a beginner level as it is varied enough to inspire new ways of moving and work on drilling fresh combinations, keeping technique looking sharp.
The Level 2 class covers more advanced technique such as layering, spins and learning full choreography for performances. I found this a more challenging class but again it is made manageable and easy to digest as Darkstar breaks down the technique and muscles utillised for performing isolations and layering, and these are drilled and practiced. In particular I think that Darkstar has a skill for breaking down choreography to make it easy to pick up and learn. Her combinations flow well and she always takes the time to explain the steps in counts which is very helpful, particularly if you aren’t used to picking up choreography. You will soon pick up this skill as instructions given are clear and easy to follow. An example of this can be seen on her appearance on the UK Tribal Fusion DVD where she breaks down a tutting combination.
I also liked how Darkstar’s teaching is adaptable depending on how the class is doing. If people are picking things up quickly then she will push students to challenge themselves, go faster and move on to the next section. She strikes a good balance between keeping the class moving at pace (so you can get in a good workout) and slowing down in order to fully explain a move or combination.
In this class students are also given information, tips and exercises on performance skills, musicality, staging and stage presence. Again this is important because it prepares students who are interested in performing and gives them a chance to work on these skills in a class environment.
I really feel that Darkstar’s classes gave me a strong foundation in tribal fusion technique, stylization and performance, as well as the confidence to push further and explore my own creativity within dance. She is a teacher that sees and encourages the potential in her students and will challenge you to be the best dancer you can be.
Article by Sarah Stone