House rules: teaching the finesse of funk to anyone from street dancers to non-dancers, as explained by 10 of the hottest instructors.
Karen Amen (teaching four years)--"Fun Fantastic Funk" and "Salsa Funk" at Vertical Club in New York City
"Modern day funk fuses jazz and street dance but is more explosive. We've gone back to the dance roots of aerobics, but now it's more athletic."
Music: Sir Mix A Lot, Kriss Kross and new bands from England who use heavy base.
Dance Inspiration: Hammer.
Footwear: Avia Tech 5000 or Ryka 975. "The lighter the shoe the better," says Amen.
Moves: The "gallop," the "alf," "stomp 'n' shake" and "vogue" poses.
Joe Diemert (teaching two years)--"Bubba Funk" at the YMCA in Mobile, Alabama
"I teach non-dancers by first breaking moves down to a slow beat, 113-117 BPM. And since I'm not extremely funky, I inspire people who think they can't dance to give it a try."
Music: Hammer's "Too Legit" and premixed funk tapes.
Footwear: For AFAA presentations, Reebok. Otherwise, two different colored Converse high-tops for a funk fashion statement.
Moves: The basics such as the "roger rabbit."
John Ebadi (teaching nine years)--"Master Jam" and children's funk classes at Studio E. Dance & Fitness Company in Santa Barbara, California
"I can teach anybody funk by breaking things down to a child's level. I offer a bridge between dance and fitness and put together many different styles into one class."
Music: Prince, Second to None, Michael Jackson, Hammer and local underground bands.
Dance Inspirations: Janet Jackson, Bobby Brown and Hammer.
Moves: "Onion ring," "ghost-buster," "Janet I" and "Janet II."
MaDonna Grimes (teaching three years)--"Heat Funk" at Voight Fitness and Dance Center in Los Angeles, California
"My class, which is not for the beginner, combines hip-hop with low-impact jazz. It's a major workout with cardio and strength exercises at the end."
Music: Sir Mix A Lot, TLC and Michael Jackson.
Dance Inspirations: Hammer's back up dance troop.
Footwear: Reebok Hexalite, Reebok's new funk shoe (as soon as it's available).
Moves: The "slap," "reverse running man" and double heel work.
Barry Joyce (teaching five years)--"Street Jam" at Body Architecks and Concourse Athletic Club, both in Atlanta, Georgia
"I teach hip-hop style with a jazz dance influence, and incorporate low-impact safety sanctions which is a big difference from straight hip-hop. My intermediate level classes are comprehensible for aerobics mainstreamers."
Music: Dynamix tapes custom mixed for Street Jam, including extended club mixes of industrial house songs.
Dance Inspirations: Hammer, especially the "Addams Family" video.
Moves: "Ziggy jam."
Charles Little (teaching four years)--"East Coast Funk" and "Funk, Latin and All That Jazz" at Contours Exercise Studio in Arlington, Virginia, also "Funk 101" instructor workshop
"I try to take people out of their comfort zone and teach them new moves. People love to dance, but they're inhibited so they need to learn movements one by one. By the end of my class they can all do it; that's my mission."
Music: Michael Jackson's "Jam" and mixed tapes from radio DJs.
Dance Inspiration: Hammer.
Footwear: Combat boots or Reeboks.
Moves: Freestyle choreography based on dance training background.
Carl Powell III (teaching six years)--"Time For Funk" at Body Wishes in Atlanta, Georgia
"I teach funk for all--those students just learning to do funk or just looking for new aerobics choreography. The steps are bigger and more exaggerated, so I use slower music--125-128 BPM."
Music: In Lytes mixed tapes and hip hop, but not rap.
Dance Inspirations: Bobby Brown's "Every Little Step" video.
Footwear: Nike. "Funk shoes need to be very flexible," says Powell.
Moves: "I use emotional ties to describe moves, like the 'not tonight I have a headache' or 'ask me again, I'll kick you in the head.'"
Donna Richardson (teaching seven years)--"Fit For Funk" and "East Coast Funk" at DonnAerobics and StayFit Plus workshops
"Funk is fun, it's not ballet. There is no right or wrong. My class is a high- and low-impact with street dance/MTV style.
My goal is to make everyone comfortable, not just to entertain and show off what a funkster i am."
Music: Dynamix and In Lytes mixed tapes, tapes from radio DJs, Janet Jackson, Kriss Kross and Hammer. Paula Abdul and Pepper Von, an instructor at Step One Dance Academy in Sacramento, California.
Footwear: Avia Tech 5000, L.A. Gear Street Funk Tech or Doc Martins.
Moves: Variations on the basics such as "roger rabbit" or "running man," "robot," "hammer" and "the slide."
Chris Toledo (teaching six years)--"City Jam" at Voight Fitness and Dance Center in Los Angeles, California.
"Most funk classes are taught by aerobics teachers who transform exercise into funk, but I'm a street dancer who teaches all funk choreography from beginning to end. I don't exactly follow an aerobics format."
Music: Bobby Brown, Michael Jackson, Hammer's "Gaining Momentum" and local underground bands.
Dance Inspirations: Michael Jackson's "Remember The Time" video and Marky Mark's "I Need Money" video.
Moves: Changing all the time, based on new street dance moves.
Charlotte A. Williams (teaching four years)--"Funk it Up" at Gold's Gym in San Francisco, California.
"I start from square one, attracting students who want to try funk but are intimidated. I make them feel successful. My bouncier, hip-hop style is easier to learn, so people can get down with me first--then try to pick up more advanced video routines."
Music: Dynamix funk tapes and custom mixed tapes of top 40 hits.
Dance Inspirations: Pepper Von.
Moves: "New Bugaloo," "gene chandler" and "slow go."
By next year there will be a whole new collection of funk videos for instructors and consumers, and even funk fitness programs on TV. Many American instructors are presenting their funk workshops overseas as well as across the United States. And companies like Nike, Reebok, Avia and L.A. Gear are designing merchandise especially for funk.
So, if you still haven't tried out a "running man" in your class, you probably will sooner or later. Tune in to MTV and start practicing.
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|Title Annotation:||Aerobics and Fitness Association of America's Decade of Fitness 10-year Celebration|
|Date:||Nov 1, 1992|
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