In 2002 I fell in love with the sounds of house, which stimulated my infatuation with house dancing. I grew up in a household in which boogaloo, popping, breaking, and hip-hop were being practiced by my brother and of course my mother, who is an old school popper. Dance was a key part of my cultural development and falling in love with the house culture introduced me to house dancing…my favorite abstract expression.
As a child taking ballet, modern, lyrical, and variants of jazz, I had always had a passion for dancing. While my brother, choreographer Jamile McGee, took dance serious and made it his career, I on the other hand didn’t pursue it as a career. But my lifestyle of house music led me to discovering a unique freedom and abstract expression within the atmospheric beats of house. House dancing is one of my favorite styles of dance and I do refer to myself as a house dancer.
Now, within house dancing you’ve got legends like Brian “Footwork” Green, Ejoe Wilson, Tony McGregor, Marjory Smarth, Caleaf Sellers and “Brooklyn” Terry Wright that are professional house dancers, but I think anyone and everyone who lets house move them is a house dancer. Yes, there are technical moves in the foundations of house, which including footwork, jacking, and lofting, but aside from having the skills down, house is truly a feeling; there is no right or wrong way to house.
You see, the beauty of house is the unlimited potential to express yourself. Whatever the beat compels your soul to feel, your body knows how to naturally respond. Even if you do have some 8 counts prepared, you still get lost in the music and the spirit of house moves your body.
This fluid expression in house dance results in so many different styles of house dancing. You can spend hours on YouTube (like I do) and see so many different house dancers with their own style. While one might be more driven to do footwork, another dancer might be more soulful and loose with big expressions via the arms and torso. It all really depends on how the track moves you at the moment.
With the freedom of mind, body, and soul being priority, that doesn’t mean house dance is obsolete from competition; the vibe of competing is less aggressive and more in the spirit of happiness. Events such as House Dance International and House Dance Forever bring house dancers, spectators, novices, and house aficionados from around the world together to compete, share music, and keep the culture thriving.Competition can be fierce, but there is still a level of joy and spiritual freedom in the competitors that you might not see in a hip-hop battle.
House dance is all about letting the music take control and losing all inhibitions; nothing is off limits, no style or movement is considered “wrong.” You could be jacking one moment, then throwing in a hint of vogue followed by some african movement. Now, there are battles and styles such as vogue and wacking that are often in their own categories at events, but freestyle and experimental rounds allow for anything and everything…in the spirit of house.
So, as you can see, I can keep going on a long-winded explanation of house dance and the art of it. But I’d rather let the videos do the rest of the talking. So I leave you with this. You know how you walk into an art gallery and you see that insane abstract piece that makes no sense, yet it speaks to you? Well, that’s the spirit of house. House is that weird abstract painting that inspires you to stare, speak, or even pick up a brush and let the innate emotion move your limbs…jack your body.
Many of you might know me as ThinkSoul25, but my full name is Jasmine McGee. And if the last name McGee sounds familiar, then perhaps you’ve heard of the name Jamile McGee. Maybe you saw the first season of Fox’s hit tv show “So You Think You Can Dance?” and you recall that Jamile “Jamz” McGee won 3rd place. Since then, he’s danced around the world, including teaching hip-hop in Japan this summer.
I moved to Los Angeles to stay with him and find my own path out here in Cali, but since moving here I’ve had the chance to spend so much time with him and actually help film him dancing. I went to San Diego last week and filmed him teaching a Master Class, but yesterday I had the chance to just film him dancing and getting down to house music; no choreography, just ultimate freestyle and soul.
This video below is just one of the many to come. Each week we will try to put up more videos and showcase different spots in Los Angeles in which Jamz will be freestyling and just getting down to the music. If you love what you’re seeing, then please do contact him for Master Classes, lessons, and choreography. Follow him on Twitter @jamilemcgee and contact him on FB @ www.facebook.com/Jamile.McGee
I’ve officially been living in Los Angeles for four weeks and I have officially been at my new job (I’m a Marketing Coordinator/Social Media Specialist for a marketing company) for two weeks. Within these past four weeks I have met some amazing people and had the chance to see new things. I have yet to explore Los Angeles much since I’m carless for now, but even the bits I have seen have been awesome.
From hanging out with Wayne Brady at the W Hotel to spending every Friday at the Federal Bar in Noho with some awesome new friends, I’ve just been having such a great time. I thought I was going to hate LA and that all the people were fake, but I’m meeting some cool people from here and the East Coast (New York and Maryland) that are genuine, down to earth, and just trying to make life happen. It’s awesome!
So I just wanted to give a quick shout out to everyone. Of course a big shout out to my brother Jamile McGee and a shout out to the girls I’m hanging out with tonight. Oh and a shout out to LeAnn Hodge, an amazing upcoming singer that was great from the first day I met her at my new job. We work in different departments, but I hope to get to know her more and hear more of her music. She’s keeping it ultra 90s y’all, so get with it!!!
That’s all for now. So thank you so much for everyone I’m meeting and my lovely co-workers. You guys rock!!!
I didn’t even bother watching the Grammy Awards this year. Not quite sure where I was, but most likely it involved either blogging or playing MW3. You know I’m a gamer, so I surely stay on my Ps3 quite a bit.
Usually I go track down the performances I might have missed, but this year I just didn’t care. I just read the usual controversies on Bossip surrounding Chris Brown, Rihanna, and folks still not liking him. None of that really phases me because I like Chris Brown, and I know some inside scoop on the reality of their relationship. Like I said, my brother (dancer/choreographer Jamile McGee from SYTYCD Season 1) has spent a lot of time hanging out with Chris Brown and showing him dance moves. So after partying with him and hanging out with his crew, you know eventually that dreaded Rihanna situation comes up.
I’m not one to dish out dirt unless you ask me in person, so I’m keeping what I know to myself. As far as I’m concerned, I still like Chris Brown. I may not listen to his music all the time (usually off listening to electronica,) but I definitely will say that I like his new music video for his dance track “Turn Up the Music.”
I’m basically used to a lot of R&B and hip-hop artists attempting to do dance tracks, so at this point it’s expected. It’s becoming trendy. But not everyone track will actually get me moving, but “Turn Up the Music” isn’t bad. It’s not the best (I’m a dance music & house junkie, so I can sometimes be particular,) but I think Breezy did a pretty good job. Not only does the song get you moving, but the music video is very cool. It must have been a lot of fun filming it, and the choreography is pretty nice.
Every time I see dancers in music videos, I always ask my brother if he knows any of them. And as usual, he can name most of the dancers in the videos because he has worked with them before or is friends with them. So I haven’t gotten a chance to find out the scoop of who did the choreography (usually Rich & Tone Talauega,) but I think it all came together very nice for the vibe of the song.
Peep the visuals below for Chris Brown’s latest single “Turn Up the Music,” and be sure (if you’re a big fan of Breezy) to get his new album Fortune when it drops on March 16th.
©Jasmine McGee.ThinkSoul25. http://thinksoul25.com