Groove Basics (was Build Your Groove) with Noel Bajandas

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From the Class Archives

 Noel Bajandas no longer teaches Groove Basics.
He continues to teach other classes at IDA.

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Groove Basics (was Build Your Groove)

Taking Class

In Groove Basics, Noel Bajandas breaks down music and rhythm to help everyone from experienced dancers to absolute beginners find their own groove. This is a hands-on class where Noel works with students, leading them through exercises to explore movement and music, rather than teaching a choreographed dance. His goal is to break dance down to its simplest form, he says, without taking away the fun and the joy of it.

"I want groove to be interpreted as so much more than just dance" in this class, Noel says.

Style. Swagger. Mojo.

“When I break down the simplicity of movement,
I enjoy it so much more.”

"I want you to find your style," he says. "I want . . . a way for you to be free."

Noel's class concept for Groove Basics developed from private dance lessons he's taught. People might come to him needing to learn a specific dance, such as for a wedding, he says. But what he found was that often before he could teach people even a simple combination of steps, he first needed to teach them to dance—to connect with the music.

So Noel has his class listen to music. There's so much there, he says—the instruments, sounds, tempo, and lyrics, the emotion behind the song.

"I want you to understand it," Noel says. "I want you to hear what I'm hearing."

Noel enjoys breaking music down with clapping exercises. When you clap, he says, you physically create the sound with the music. You can play with the spaces between beats.

But first, each class begins with walks. Noel has dancers walk forward, backward, and sideways, and to different speeds of music.

"Walking is something we do without thinking about it," he says. "I want to make dancing like walking."

First we'll follow the music with a simple walk, Noel says. Then add some swag. Then add a finger snap on each step.

Next thing you know, the walk is a dance.

And changing directions while walking, Noel says, is a precursor to performing turns.

To teach the fundamentals of how to understand and control the body, he has students isolate different body parts and move just their head, legs, chest, and so on, or practice shifting weight. He leads his class through creative movement exercises, using everyday analogies like putting on a seatbelt, walking in sand, or moving while surrounded by a block of clay as inspiration for dance movements.

This is Noel's favorite kind of teaching.

"It's what I thrive in," Noel says. ". . . when I break down the simplicity of movement, I enjoy it so much more."

This type of training is "more of a growth, more of a process," he says, than just learning a piece of choreography. He wants people to always come out of class having learned something that they can use outside of class.

And dancers of all skills are welcome to come pick up something new and build on their groove. We're all on the same level here, Noel says. We're all learning.

This is a class for you to build your own groove, in your own way.

*       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *

From the Class Archives

 Noel Bajandas no longer teaches Groove Basics.
He continues to teach other classes at IDA.

*       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *

Groove Basics (was Build Your Groove)

Class in Brief

Noel Bajandas breaks down music and rhythm to help everyone from experienced dancers to absolute beginners work on their groove. He strives to present dance in its simplest form without taking away the fun and the joy of it.

In this hands-on class, rather than teaching a choreographed dance, Noel uses clapping with music, basic body isolations, walking, and a wide variety of creative movement exercises to get students in touch with their bodies and the music.

This type of training is "more of a growth, more of a process," he says, than just learning a piece of choreography. He hopes students will gain something from every class that they can use outside of class.