SHUT UP AND DANCE

I love this song, for so many reasons. It's fun, it's about living in the moment, it's catchy. All the usual appeal. And then there's that story line of being the biggest dork on the floor while everyone's watching. I love it because the music and the video embrace how I feel, it gets straight to the point. Shut up and dance. Enjoy the moment. Walk the Moon (ya get it? Heh ...) 

For as long as I remember I wished I could dance and not just flail.  I have friends that have natural rhythm, an ability to shake what matters and enjoy it.  I don't (didn't) dance (in public). I loved the idea of it and the idea of singing to some over-played but amazing song and having a good time. You know, that uninhibited ability to own the floor. 

My life has been so busy but this year I decided it was now or never, I'd free up my schedule and I would do it. I would apply myself no matter how hard I thought it was and I would stick through. I signed up for Hip Hop, an annual workshop master minded by Micaya of House of Micaya (Micaya I love you for exactly who you are).  I paid my money and once I did, I couldn't turn back. I showed up and every time I showed up I felt like who am I kidding and just so it's on record, I felt that way till the end. There was an occasional moment where I broke through and my inner dancer came out. Ah, the satisfaction of being able to pull off some bold sassy move, (I smile). I was hot! (And I don't mean JUST sweaty!) The hard work is rewarding. And even when people are judging you and you think you suck, sometimes it just doesn't matter. (Oh I mean, it never matters.) 

I stuck through an eight week workshop, including six on-stage performances in front of a packed house every night. But it wasn't without some fear and and the risk of feeling like I wasn't getting it. 

___________________

Enter stage left, Patricia Lam. This photo session is inspired by her. 

The workshop was where I met Patricia. This girl bubbles with kindness. She pulls people in and embraces each person and for that I love her! That and for getting me through something I would have never done. This girl's got sass mixed with a compassion that glows, people around her benefit from who she is and that is truly inspiring. I asked Patricia how she got started and what inspires her so read through and I hope you are inspired too. 

I worked with my first team to make this shoot amazing and I am so appreciative of all the hard work! These people made this possible and I love them for it. Patricia, Matthew Freeman did the makeup, Matthew you are such an amazing artist! Tania Keenan on Art Direction I could not have done this without you! Katja Werner O'Brien on Style Consulting, you inspire me every time I talk to you! And Lauri Levenfeld, for always bringing positivity into my life and for encouraging me to do what I am best at, I love you. Thank you each for helping to make this possible and for being part of my life. I love each of you. 

If you can get out of your head long enough, dance and enjoy the moment it's pretty rewarding. I'll try it again someday and for now, I'm takin' more pictures. 

I'd say "have no fear" but really I just mean "shut up and dance". 

DANCE LIKE NO ONE IS WATCHING.  (BUT YOU KNOW EVERYONE IS).

 

"I found my love for dance in my sophomore year in high school and started teaching in 2006 at Mercy HS in SF, Westlake School of Performing Arts, and Shan Yee Poon Ballet School.  I have a lot of music background, I received my Bachelors degree in music specializing in piano and minoring in business management."

jess epstein photography

Her laugh steals my heart.

"As long as I can remember, Chinese culture dictated how I should behave, thus it collided with a personality like mine. As an American-born Chinese, I discovered hip hop was a language I understood thoroughly well and seemed far too familiar from a distance. I have an amazing fiancee, Stephen, and a great circle of friends who support what I do and provide me with such inspiration and a strong loving community. I am also the result of a traditional mother and an estranged father who provide me the other half of inspiration. They themselves may not know this but they help shape my interpretation of life in a way people are not a stranger to."

"The differences, growths, struggles, conquers, and failures are all blessings in disguise. I am no skinny quiet Asian female and do not ever intend to be. I am strong and beautiful in what I do and I will never stop. I love hip hop because I am hip hop. I am now under Micaya's Soulforce Dance Company, a hip hop fusion company experimenting with theater, acting, and interpretation; and I'm loving every moment."