Thursday, December 11, 2014

5 Things I Learned From Taking a Class with Beyoncé’s Backup Dancers...After watching the On the Run tour video for the umpteenth time, (thanks HBO Go!), I was ready to take the necessary steps to transform into Queen Bey. It started with listening to her whole discography for a week straight, accompanied by music videos, Google image searches, and never-ending Beyoncé-praising group chats. For Halloween, I even contemplated buying a bodysuit complete with glitter, flesh-tone tights, and a sensible heel. Then it happened. I got an email from the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater about a master dance class taught by none other than Les Twins—Beyoncé’s French identical twin backup dancers with impeccable timing and standout hair. Also known as Laurent and Larry Bourgeois, the two have a unique ability to anticipate and finish each other’s dance moves. They began dancing at the age of two and started performing their own choreography with Beyoncé in 2011, as her backup dancersThe 25-year-old brothers are also famous for their hip-hop new style dance (lots of body rolling, popping, and fluid movements), so the dance class wasn’t exactly the bootylicious hair swinging and strutting I was envisioning. But since the two have danced in sync countless times on the same stage as Beyoncé, I thought something was bound to rub off on me. After nearly two hot, sweaty hours of attempting to memorize two routines, here are five things I learned (aside from the fact that I’m rhythmically challenged) from dancing with Les Twins: No, they didn’t play Beyoncé, but Les Twins are really into Drake and R&B. I arrived just in time for the warm-up when they played Drake’s “The Motion,” fitting for the continuous swaying and arm rolls we were doing. Then we rolled some more, and added some popping to Drake protégé The Weeknd’s “Often.” We ended by slowing it down with a throwback R&B song, “Amnesia” by Cherish. There were also some references to Migos’s “Versace.” While I didn’t exactly grasp all of the moves, Les Twins have great taste in music. Here’s hoping they’re working on a mixtape. They are really attractive, funny, and able to bear extreme temperatures. One thing I still don’t understand from watching On the Run was how Jay Z committed to all that leather and layering. But apparently Les Twins, like Jay Z, can wear layers of clothing in hot temperatures without ever appearing to be drenched in sweat. While I was sweating profusely in my sports bra, tank, and leggings, Larry and Laurent looked calm and perspiration-free in their jeans, jackets, T-shirts and flannels. I can imagine Beyoncé giving them a “no complaints from my body, so fluorescent under these lights” pep-talk. When I wasn’t trying to figure out their superhuman abilities, I was in awe of their French accents and laughing at their jokes. They bickered like typical siblings, showed off their abs, Shmoney danced, and even made a surfbort joke. They’re wonderful motivators. I walked into that dance class feeling nervous and uncomfortable, and left with Beyoncé-level confidence (they are definitely one of her secret weapons). Larry and Laurent kept telling us to “just be you” and “not try too hard” which didn’t drastically improve my dancing abilities but helped me to loosen up and put my personality into the dance routine. Seeing them dance up-close is even better than watching them in HD. There were a few moments during the class when I forgot I was participating. Watching their fluid, effortless moves from two feet away gave me goose bumps, and no matter how hard I tried to mimic them, the mirror never lied. Before the class ended, both Larry and Laurent gave us an amazing freestyle snippet, which made a multitude of jaws drop to the floor. You might unwillingly be featured in a YouTube fail video. Toward the end of class, I noticed that people kept stopping by to observe, and some ended up filming bits and pieces of it with their cameras and cellphones. When I got home I Googled “Les Twins Master Dance Class,” as I was scared I might become a dreaded dance fail Internet meme. Fortunately I found out that there are more than 60,000 videos on YouTube from previous lessons, so no need to worry about my out-of-synchronicity going viral just yet..