The Beautiful Street

Travel

Free yo' self

Dance, Popping, TravelKatie JanovecComment

Today, I am driving up to Seattle for a dance battle. I know, I know! If you’re my friend, you see me go to Seattle on the regular. Approximately 100% of my travels to this city are for dance battles, events or performances. I get a lot of joy out of visiting and grow as a dancer and human each time, so I'm almost always down to go.

While preparing for this short journey, I am remembering my trip from last month and have pics I want to share, and a few thoughts too.

In January, Angel Langley aka Moonyeka invited me, along with Agatron, Angyil Mcneal and Lady Scarecrow (all pictured above), to participate in a SeattleDances performance where she received an award for her event, What’s Poppin’ Ladiez (WPL). The same weekend she premiered the WPL documentary, Battle Grounds: The Hard Hits of Female Poppers.

Dancing with these ladies is beyond inspiring but eating, sleeping, practicing and getting to know everyone’s personalities and quirks is what it’s all about. I love having conversations, vibing and expanding.

 Backstage #1 Me, Angyil Mcneal, Moonyeka, Lady Scarecrow, Agatha (not pictured)

Backstage #1 Me, Angyil Mcneal, Moonyeka, Lady Scarecrow, Agatha (not pictured)

 Backstage #2

Backstage #2

Reflecting on conversations with the ladies, I returned to Portland last month thinking, what does it mean to be free? Specifically wondering, am I holding myself back from free expression. How do my choices in my daily life affect my dance life?

And more recently, I have been meditating on what it means to commit, as a human being, as a dancer, a partner, a new dog owner(!!). Without going into all the details, sometimes commitment is hard for me! Right now, I recognize a new level of commitment in my life and it feels good.

I'm realizing how connected freedom and commitment are. With commitment comes freedom and with freedom comes commitment. So let’s just say, I’m working on both -- being free in my movement and life and committing to my passions.

Excited to see what come from this weekend.

 Photo by  Warren Woo

Photo by Warren Woo

Vancouver Street Dance Festival

Dance, Popping, TravelKatie JanovecComment
 Yoshie Locking Final

Yoshie Locking Final

Whew! It has been a busy summer. I am so excited that I am getting around to writing about my Vancouver Street Dance Festival Experience. Were you there? It was truly awesome and I loved everything about my trip to the city.

Let’s get to it.

Vancouver Street Dance Festival (VSDF) is an all-day free festival in downtown Vancouver, BC, featuring battles, performances, workshops, deejays and lots of dancing. This year, VSDF celebrated its 5th year!

I arrived in Vancouver Friday and after checking into my Airbnb, I went to the battle prelims for the festival. They were held Friday evening with the top 4 winners in each category advancing to the final battles on Saturday. There were 6 categories: popping, hip hop, breaking, waacking, house and locking. I milled between the two rooms battles were held in, battled in popping and took inspiration from the other styles.

Let's get to the LADIES.

Ladies definitely represented in each category with waacking, hip hop and house having the largest number. Popping, breaking and locking had fewer, but overall there were strong dancers (ladies) in each category.

I got to catch up with a few of the ladies participating in the festival and wish I could have spoken with more!

So here are my...

Best Lady Highlights of Vancouver Street Dance Festival!

Kosi Eze - Hip Hop, House, Locking Dancer

Kosi is from Toronto and a fun-loving and giving mover. I saw her prelims and loved her energy and style. I spoke with her in between battles and was excited when she took the W in both hip hop and house. Well deserved. She lays her heart on the dance floor and flourishes in battle.

Clearly, Kosi trains a lot and has progressed immensely over the last 4 years of her dancing career. She said, “I have never been as happy as I am when I dance, ever.” She shared how finding Lady C as a mentor and teacher changed her life. She saw how her dance could have a feminine energy, be powerful, aggressive and emotional. Ultimately, be HER.

When I asked her how she feels women are supported in street dance, she said the community dictates the level of female engagement, which I love. She had just come from Ladies of Hip Hop in NYC where she felt men definitely supported the event and the ladies. She believes, we as women, have a responsibility to put ourselves out there and jump in that cypher, because it is important for younger generations of ladies to see.

And I totally agree.

Watch her VSDF final here!
 

DJ Beaubien - House Deejay

I also got to catch up with DJ Beaubien from Vancouver. She deejayed the house dance battle and plays east coast, soulful, uplifting, positive music with vocals and nice rhythms. I personally loved the music she played and have been listening to her Soundcloud since.

 DJ Beaubien

DJ Beaubien

She began deejaying 4 years ago due to a shortage of deejays playing what she liked to hear - soulful house. As she says, “I was a big fan of the music, first and foremost.” It was a natural transition for her to move from being an avid listener to deejaying herself. While she asked her mostly male deejay friends to teach her how, some were open, but mostly she learned on her own.

We had a great conversation about people who like to go out and dance to house music and people who dance the style of house. Confused? House dance is a style of dance that originates from the music. Within the music (and the dance) are influences from African, jazz, Latin, funk, etc. I love that she said, “I think music is meant to be played loud, on a good sound system, in the dark.” I definitely agree and often want more house dancers (people who dance the style of house) to go out to clubs.

I was excited she closed out the festival with a fun set everyone was groovin' to. I mean really, these dancers competed and cyphered all day long and then danced some more. Her music was good.

Listen to her weekly radio show Saturdays from 7-8pm PST on SpinzFM.com. Check it!
Find her at
djbeaubien.com


MAKING IT TO TOP 16 IN POPPING

I'm going to take a moment to say, I feel really good about making it to the Top 16 in Vancouver and am proud of myself. I am having more battle rounds where I feel I am accurately expressing myself. What more could I want?

Out of roughly 60 poppers, there were a handful of women, myself included. So I feel like I was holding it down for the ladies. 


And Finally...

Hip Hop with Natasha Gorrie

AND Natasha Gorrie! Taking class with her and kicking it post-battle were all super fun. She is incredibly kind, giving and a dope dancer. Her class was so fun, groovy and I need more of it. Hip hop, I’m coming for you.

 Natasha Gorrie Judge Showcase

Natasha Gorrie Judge Showcase

Closing!

Overall, it was a great weekend. Lots of learning, inspiration and feedback that I am still integrating!

Until the next battle...

My Argentina Anniversary

TravelKatie Janovec1 Comment

I officially returned from Argentina one year ago today!

I want to take a moment to reflect, as this anniversary feels more monumental than other's. The last year was filled with lots of change and I can recognize, in many areas of my life, I have made moves! That always feels good.

I professionally moved into the world of PR and copywriting and have learned a great deal, and still am.

Dance is a constant that I lean on, love, and train in. I am growing and progressing and like any passion, I have days where I feel a level of confidence and days I don’t like anything my body is doing. But most days, I move, whether that is on my way to my desk or a dance session.

I am choreographing a piece.

I restarted this lovely blog.

I have opportunities lined up to teach dance with teenagers.

I have a meditation practice.

I now enjoy listening to and reading entrepreneurial podcasts and books. 

I have been exploring the world of buying a house, which still seems unlikely, but is a complicated, interesting world to venture into.

This last year I have committed more fully to many of my personal endeavors. My passion has grown and my focus is narrowing on what I can best be used for. It isn’t time for me to travel; it is time for me to stay put and see what I can seed and nurture. I have been adulting hard. I have even been looking for a little dog ;)

While I am content with all of my physical endeavors and I love how I spend my time, I look back at the last year and I see that it was emotionally one of the most challenging. There were lots of tears, sadness, loss and pain. I attached onto the 9-5 schedule like it was the best new invention. The routine of my life kept me balanced and moving forward and at age 29, I finally understood why people work these hours! Wow.

I look over the last year and I ask myself, how did I become a better person? A better friend? How did I become more balanced? How did I spiritually grow? What is the basis for my connection with others, myself and with a Higher Power?

Sometimes I can answer those with confidence, and other times I feel a little less, honest. The path to truth is not an easy one. It is long and curvy, and sometimes I feel I am just hanging on as I get whipped around the corner. And other times I feel that the truth is right here, in front of me, inside of me, and amongst me.

So...here I am stepping into the next year of change, acceptance, and full on push to expand more and fear less.