A Curve Experience: {Summer Intensives with Contemporary Dance Dubai}

After a quiet summer, we are so excited that many new classes and courses are kicking off again! However while many other companies halted activity over the summer, Contemporary Dance Dubai instead chose keep up its momentum and run a series of intensive summer workshops. We sent our dance loving intern Farah to check them out. Could she keep up with this high energy workshop? Read on to find out!

I love trying new things in life, especially new forms of dance, so I was very excited to be invited to attend an intensive contemporary dance workshop with Contemporary Dance Dubai in Habtoor Grand Hotel in Jumeirah Beach Residence.

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The instructor Krista Degaetano is the founder of Contemporary Dance Dubai and is one of the pioneers of this dance style in our city. All the choreography she teaches in her workshops is her own and while it is not easy, it is truly beautiful. Her obvious passion for contemporary dance fuelled  the workshop and inspired and excited all the attendees.

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The class started off with some stretching and slow music. Following that, we began the tough part: the choreography. Due to the large number of students, the class had to be split the class into 2 groups and each group had to perform separately. The pace was quick as it was an intensive workshop, but Krista took great care to make sure she helped the students pick up the choreography and stay together. The energy in the room was fantastic throughout the entire session, and I enjoyed watching all the other students really put in their best effort.

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The class was a challenge for me because it was my first time to try contemporary dance but Krista’s style of teaching encouraged me to give it my all! The intensive workshops are open to multiple levels on different days until September 7. Don’t fret if you can’t make it to one of the last few sessions though – the new term begins on September 7 and you will be able to take a full 6 week course with CDD to suit your level!

{The facts}
Activity: Contemporary Dance
Provider: Contemporary Dance Dubai
Location: Habtoor Grand Resort & Spa
Timing: Classes run all week, the term lasts 6 weeks, and timings vary by level
Price: Varies by level
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A Curve Catch Up with {Krista Degaetano}

With Contemporary dance still in its infancy in the UAE, Krista Degaetano, the founder of Contemporary Dance Dubai, is regarded as one of the pioneers of the dance style in the country. We sat down with her to hear more about her journey in the world of dance.

Q: Tell us a little about yourself – where were you born & raised?
A: I was born in Malta and grew up with my other 6 brothers till I moved to The U.K to study Contemporary Dance and achieve my dream of becoming a professional dancer and choreographer.

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Q: How did your interest in dance start?
I loved dance, singing and performing from a very young age. I used to choreograph and direct small shows for my family from the age of 6. At the age of 13 I was already performing semi professionally for the Maltese National Theatre doing 3 shows a year. At 16 I was already in a Contemporary dance company based in Malta, and at 20 I was off to the U.K to do two dance degrees. I knew exactly what I wanted to do straight away. Guess you can say I was born a dancer & a performer.

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Q: Why did you choose contemporary as the style of dance to focus on?
A: I fell in love with Contemporary when I was in Cambridge studying Musical Theatre. We had all the styles under the sun to learn and I felt most free, felt like I could express myself and my art through Contemporary dance. I then decided to get a degree in just that. I have never looked back.

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Q: When did you move to Dubai and why did you choose to come here?
A: I came to Dubai purely by chance. I believe in destiny, and life brought me here 4 years ago on holiday. I saw how Dubai needed more art and dance, and I saw how frustrated artists and dancers were by not having enough professional dance in Dubai. I saw how there was no Contemporary dance here and decided to pioneer it.  I get so much satisfaction from watching people express themselves and learn that I found Dubai to be the perfect home for my art.

Q: How is the contemporary dance scene in Dubai? Do you see progress?
Contemporary dance scene is still very small compared to other parts of the world. I have found that once people take the step to simply try it, they see their work transform as they really do get addicted to this style of dance. The hard part I have found is getting people to try it. This is slowly developing, and I have enjoyed instructing with over 400 passionate dancers over the last 3 years. I know this will develop further, and I am thrilled to be here to witness it.

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Q: What do you think someone benefits from learning contemporary dance?
A: Contemporary dance has it all. It uses a strong technical foundation, so dancers become more aligned and therefore able to achieve so many dance steps . Contemporary is one of the most original dance forms as although it has a base technique, there are no limitations therefore it is constantly changing, moving, becoming more innovative. Keeps dance exciting and fresh. Contemporary dance keeps you super fit as you are up in the air one second and rolling on the floor the next. You gain so much strength and core stability for ultimate fitness. Contemporary allows you to release and express yourself almost therapeutic. I guess you just have to try it.And when you do, please choose your class wisely. Please learn from professionals. Those that have an in depth education on the technique and have studied intensely.

Contemporary Dance Dubai’s new term starts in September with booking available on The Curve. 

Learning {Hip Hop Ragga}

Hip hop is, hands down, one of the coolest forms of dance. I love its raw edge, urban feel and the total freedom you have to improvise. So when my friend asked me to go along with her to try Hip Hop Ragga at Capella Club, I was more than happy to oblige.

Hip Hop Ragga differs from classical hip hop, as it focuses on Ragga Dance Hall, which originated in Jamaica. The music used is a fusion between hip hop and ragga and is extremely fun. It’s impossible to keep still when it starts!

The class’s teacher Walid is also a choreographer and Pilates instructor. He started the class off with some stretches set to the beat. After we were properly warmed up, he proceeded to take us through some choreography, step by step. His style was so fluid and funky that it was sometimes hard to keep up with him, but he was consistently aware of the group’s progress and would take time to repeat or slow things down if need be.
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After an hour, we had completed a short dance routine that looked cool when Walid did it, but more like Gangnam Style when I did. I did not expect this to be a major workout, but by the end of it we were all soaked in sweat.
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The class itself was very fun, but what I loved the most about going down to Capella Club was the ambience. The club’s owners Leah and Meryem envisioned Capella to be a place where a community is brought together by music, dance, and martial arts. When we were down there, the lobby was filled with people just hanging around, not waiting for a class but simply enjoying the music and each other’s company. Capella is truly a community club that is achieving its goal of creating its own little community.

{The facts}
Activity: Hip Hop Ragga
Provider: Capella Club
Location: Dubai Marina
Timing: Wednesdays at 8 pm
Duration: 1 hour
Price: 75 AED
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Love on the dance floor

Falling in love was not what Kerstin Deeke had in mind when she booked her first salsa class. Having just moved to Dubai from Hamburg on assignment, Kerstin was simply looking for a fun way to meet people in her new city, while also learning something new.  What she ended up getting was a life changing meeting.

One of the main principles of learning salsa is that you should not train with only one partner, so that you don’t get accustomed to one person’s style. This principle was highly irritating for Kerstin, as in her first session she briefly met David, an Australian man with whom she immediately felt a spark. But with only thirty seconds with each partner, it was hard to turn that spark into a fire, as the two rarely got enough time to interact during the classes. Despite that, both knew there was something special between them.

David & Kerstin

David & Kerstin

Over the next few weeks, a series of random events led them to go on a group trip together to Beirut with other salsa friends. There they did not have the pressure of the instructor pushing them to the next partner and got the chance to truly learn about each other. Little did they know that was the beginning of forever.

Salsa brought the couple together

Salsa brought the couple together

Six months later, the two were forced apart as Kerstin had to return to Hamburg. The pair maintained a long distance relationship for a year, which was difficult on both of them. By December 2010, Kerstin knew that this relationship was too important to be lived across continents, so she handed in her resignation and planned a move back to the UAE. A week later, David proposed, and the two were married in October 2011 with three different weddings across three different continents! Unsurprisingly, salsa was the style they chose for their first dance for all three.

The happy couple on their wedding day

The happy couple on their wedding day

Kerstin & David naturally chose salsa as their first dance

Kerstin & David naturally chose salsa as their first dance

Kerstin and David’s desire to learn something new along with a little sprinkling of fate brought them together, and while they don’t attend salsa classes anymore, the two still strive to continue learning and have actually taken up sailing as their new joint hobby.

The couple have now taken up sailing together

The couple have now taken up sailing together

Salsa is a great way to meet new people. Check out salsa classes on The Curve and you might just meet your perfect partner, both on and off the dance floor!