HARRISONBURG — Pop it, lock it, wave it? Dance aficionados and klutzes with two left feet alike can all learn something new at Saturday’s dance intensive, No Limits.
No Limits is a yearly collection of dance workshops at the James Madison University Festival Conference and Student Center led by dancers from across Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Maryland. Visual Distortions Dance Crew is a hip-hop and urban dance group at JMU and host of the fourth annual event.
“No Limits was created in 2016 in the efforts to bring the DMV urban choreography and hip-hop community together,” said Mykim Hang, president of VDDC. “The purpose is to encourage individual and collective growth for all levels and experiences, as well as remove any barriers and limitations that we put on ourselves as creatives, movers and humans.”
Choreographers include members of VDDC, JMU’s Mozaic Dance Team, Blank Canvas from Virginia Commonwealth University, Akademix from the University of Virginia, Capital Funk from Washington, D.C., and Crewcial from Virginia Beach. There are five workshops throughout the day for participants to learn new styles of urban choreography moves.
Richard Pak, co-director of Blank Canvas, said dancing is more than a means to stay active and socialize; it’s a way of sharing one’s story and emotions.
“Dance is the ability to use another form of language. In my viewpoint, dance is a form of language. It’s another way of expression and communication. There are things that words can’t describe that your body can just feel,” Pak said.
Pak attended workshops at last year’s No Limits and returns this year to teach his spin on popping: a dance style that uses hits — muscle flexes — and different techniques such as waves and tuts to dance along with the beat of music.
Turk Hasnan, a dancer from Maryland, is a member of dance groups Phunktions and Laura Edwards Dance Company. Hasnan, who has been dancing since he was 8 years old, said there is a layer of connection with others when it comes to dance.
“It’s just the ability to express how much you love this music and how it makes you feel. It’s such a beauty in itself, and just to see people’s bodies and how they feel. It’s like ... I can see somebody dance and I can essentially get a feel of who they are,” Hasnan said.
He is teaching the last class of the day. He said he gears the classes to be motivational in regards to both participants’ dancing abilities as well as their lives.
Formed eight years ago, VDDC has hosted the dance intensive for half that time. Intensives serve to raise money for the dance program and establish better relationships across the regional dance communities.
Pak said that each dancer’s style is unique, and by supporting and sharing everyone’s creative interpretation, the community is able to improve and evolve.
“I believe everyone has that type of different way of viewing musicality, and I think that it’s important that if you have a specific view to share it so that other people can take it and make it their own and then make it better,” Pak said.
While intensives are popular among collegiate dance clubs, all members of the community are invited to come and learn. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday. It costs $7 to attend all five workshops or $3 a class. Registration is at the door of the Festival Conference and Student Center. There are also a limited number of T-shirts for sale for $18.