I remember a few weeks ago, Ethan and I were standing outside our studio talking about how to improve my dance ability. The first thing he said was, "Mindset is everything," but this time, there was something different...
"When you try to hit that freeze (a freeze is a trick that you see b-boys/breakdancers do when they're upside down in strange positions) during practice, why do you do it? Is there any meaning behind the freeze? Because if you're just doing it so you have it, it's just going to be another trick in your book; but if you have meaning, it'll raise your dancing to the next level."
He followed by giving me an example of his friend's drive to dance. Something about wanting to be a better father than his father was to him, and he couldn't do it unless he got the freeze. It sounded kind of unrelated at the time, but it made sense to me when I thought about it.
The reason why I brought this up was because today I was supposed to take a locking class in the city today. Oh, by the way...locking is a funk style of dancing that incorporates party dances and unique dance moves such as Uncle Sams, wrist rolls, and such; but back to my story. So, I was supposed to take the class today, and I usually take a bus to get there; but low and behold, I got on the bus and forgot my wallet, so, I couldn't purchase a bus ticket, and I missed class. Now, the thing that really got to me was that i wasn't really sad about missing class (which I think I should be sad about!). If I really loved hip-hop that much, this class would mean everything to me, right? But as I walked away from the bus, I remembered the talk that Ethan gave me. Sure, I went to class because I wanted to get better at dancing; yeah, I went to the gym to become stronger so that I could b-boy more efficiently; of course, I stuck around Ethan because he had the knowledge I needed to become a better dancer. But for what?!?!?!?!?!
Why do I dance?! What is my drive?! These are the questions that I asked myself as I walked back into my car to drive home from the bus stop. Ethan told us that we need to express ourselves when we dance, but if that's the only thing that makes me love dance so much, I don't think hip-hop will become anything more than just a hobby, and I refuse to believe that. Several things crossed my mind as to what my purpose was to dance. One idea was that I've never really pushed myself to the limit with anything before, and that i wanted to prove to myself that i wasn't lazy. Another idea was that people didn't believe that i was good at anything, so i wanted to prove them wrong. But when I really thought about it, just proving something wouldn't be enough either, because it wasn't something personal.
Hip-hop was all about the struggle of these kids back in the 1970s, and I need to embrace that and struggle. Life has been so easy for me because I knew exactly how to handle every situation and I never really took challenging paths, so finding something so personal to attach to hip-hop is quite a challenge for me, but I need to do it. Because if I don't attach something meaningful to something as simple as taking a class, taking that class would be meaningless, and I wouldn't have learned anything valuable because I would not have the right drive and mindset to take the class.