Dance, BodyBlast!, BodyBlast 2 and The Gamut
First Person: Bill Brown's 32-year
love affair with dance from KPCC
story on Studio A Dance and The Hyperion Corridor
story on best fitness class in The Hyperion Arts Complex:
Studio A Dance's home
CBS story on Bill and the dance biz
WITNESS MY CLASS COMBINATIONS IN ACTION VIDEOS ON OUR FACEBOOK PAGE! FACEBOOK-studioadancela
SEE YOU ON THE FLOOR! BILL
Tuesday and Thursday 7:15-8:30PM,
Friday 9:30AM-10:45AM, Saturday 10:15AM-11:30AM
Most of all, I attempt to create a supportive
atmosphere in my jazz class. Also, fun takes priority when I teach.
I say, "fun—first, discipline—second." In
fact, I admit that I am a playful instructor and strive for a collective
good mood during my class. My goal is to see every student walk
away with a big grin when the session has ended.
Jazz class consists of an energetic standing warm-up followed
by plies (which interprets into a slow, lyrical dance), then stretching and
strengthening while lying on the floor. Very upbeat music is played at this
time. The entire warm-up is approximately one half of an hour.
Next, we do progressions of steps in lines across the floor.
These include practicing turns and kicks. These steps are included in a jazz
dance combination that changes weekly.
In essence, students have four classes (Tues.,
Thurs., Friday and Sat) per week in which to learn the week's dance
combination. Each of those days I take time to teach the combination
from the very first step to the last so that if you only come to
one of the four days, you will have the opportunity to shine. Jazz
combinations vary from slow and lyrical to fast and funky and everything
in-between. Even Broadway show music combos! The class culminates
in a slow, aesthetic cool down. Level? Very mixed. If you
are a beginner, I give simpler steps in the choreography while others
may be given more turns.
This aerobics/dance class averages 5400 steps
(of various kinds) within an hour's time. Now that's working your
During this period I take participants on a
ride of fast moving, easy-to-follow jazz, salsa and funk steps.
The music I play is as diverse as the choreography itself. Whether
it be blues, Motown, jazz, Latin, world,or pop, I often notice someone
in the studio is singing along (an encouraged enhancement to the
hour). All divas welcome! Ha!
Believe it or not, sometimes you may even experience
a Mozart piece on the sound system (I
sometimes use this genre of music during a brief balancing section
of class immediately following the aerobics).
The remainder of the class consists of toning
exercises. BodyBlast culminates with a relaxing stretch section.
Ahhhhhhhh. And seriously, that is the
only down time during the hour. We move, move, move!
Side note:I delight
in knowing that my class draw varies from octogenerians (amazing,
right?) all the way down to people in their twenties. Often I notice
a first timer from the younger set stop to catch their breath, while
some of the older gals who have been coming regularly show no sign
of being puffed at all? No joke. Last but not least, my
jazz student Luna took my BodyBlast class for the first time, and
I asked her how she liked the class. Her response was "interesting,
it's like dance on crack" ;-)
BodyBlast with Stretch:
From zero to 60, and back again in one hour!
This class runs the gamut of movement. In the first half-hour we
begin with a quick warm up, then launch into an intense cardio
section that includes varied dance steps from the
cha cha to the twist, and from the charleston to hip-hop, and many
other moves inbetween. Hearts will beat fast and spirits will soar.
Following this section we transition to a cool down that incorporates
balancing techinques and barre work.
From here we head to floor to tighten abdominals
with slow intensity. Still on the floor, we seque into varied stretches
where I apply techinques that allow participants to release
tension in the lower back. The last few class minutes are
dedicated to meditaive relaxation. I suggest mind
techinques that allow your muscles to totally release with relaxed
I strongly adhere to the policy of relevant music drives
body movement. Whether it be fast, slow, or even stillness
of body, I carefully craft my playlists so that the perfect piece
of music fits each and every section of class.
Oh, and donít worry about intimidation as I
set the tone for improvement by suggesting corrections to the group
as a whole rather than to individuals. For example, if I see one
person slouching, I will address the group" elongate your spine"
and suddenly everyone lifts to their best posture! I hope to see
BodyBlast 2 has it all--stretching, cardiovascular
strengthening, balance and more. I call the class well-rounded,
but some might get the wrong idea (never round the shoulders!),
so for now let's just say BodyBlast 2 is a total fitness experience.
I begin the class with slow stretching at the
barre, then take our warmed bodies onto the center floor where we
begin to move to upbeat music. This segment of class lasts approximately
35 minutes. All right, so there may be a few dance steps, but I
repeat them so much that eventually all who participate do catch
on. Then voila! The experience is enhanced tenfold.
We laugh, we move, we sweat.
After this, I play slower music and we spend
the nextsection balancing. While standing on one leg, we raise the
other in various positions coordinating the arms to help achieve
perfect balance. So sometimes the moment of perfection may be fleeting--not
to worry. Practice makes better-- then we make a great discovery---
our center of gravity. Wow. Even you might catch a glimpse in the
mirrors and ask yourself "Is that really me, or some exquisite ballet
dancer I saw on a stage once upon a time?"
Hope to see you there!
Currently this class is
My StretchZone class includes stretching, balancing, musclework,
along with care and attention to lower back. The
hour culminates with a short focused meditation. "Pushing"
is not part of my vocabulary, but rather nuanced stretching that
can be expanded on in time. My goal is to articulate to you the
importance of "lift," and "opening up" as opposed
to the ubiquitous "core-support." Same thing really, but
if you approach it differently, the body will open up like you have
never experienced. That said, the torso --the body's frame --takes
charge in my class: arm reaches begin from the torso--middle of
the upper back, safe stretching of the lower back starts with a
lift of the torso from the hips, finding your balance on one leg
is greatly improved by reversing the gravity-bound upper body with
a simple lift and breath. Although I verbally guide the class with
continuous suggestions, music also takes a leading role in the hour's
flow. I carefully choose tempos that fit the stretch. Be it jazz,
classical or mellow pop, you will find that a simple lunge with
a gentle push off becomes an unexpected (graceful) modern dance
move, even to those who consider themselves dance or rhythmically
challenged. Before the final stretches of the class we slip into
meditation mode and "give into gravity" as the body becomes
one with the floor, and a classical piece of music sends your mind
adrift. I hope to see you there.
CERTIFICATES! EMAIL US YOUR REQUEST AND WE WILL TAKE CARE OF YOU!
Bill & Bub (Studio A's mascot)
As a last resort to rehabilitate chronic lower
back pain, Bill Brown started taking ballet classes in 1976. Although
he loved the discipline and the art of ballet, his interest became
more piqued by what was happening in the adjacent studio--jazz dance.
More about bill here: An
interview with Bill
The lure of the music and slick choreography caused Bill
to take on a split major, if you will. Jazz dancing became his passion, and
ballet his discipline. From that point on he set forth to sample classes throughout
the Los Angels area. His mentors include Joe Tremaine, Sally Whalen, Sarah Reed
Tayir, Christine Verse, Vince Patterson and Fred Walton.
After thousands of pirouettes and becoming
intimate friends with Terrance Curtis (his favorite jazz instructor),
the two set forth to open their own studio. Studio A Dance successfully
debuted in 1982. At that time, Bill began teaching aerobics in their
Los Feliz studio (now in Silver Lake), and soon after he led jazz
dance classes, and continues today. Although Terrance passes away
in 2003, Bill keeps the tradition of dance alive on Hyperion Ave!
In addition to jazz, cardio, and stretch, from
time to time Bill teaches beginning ballet classes. He has also
led movement classes in halfway house for recovering addicts, and
has hired himself out as a private trainer. Bill performed in the
review "Earl Carrol Revisited" at the Variety Arts Center,
a rock musical entitled "Cosmic Sands," he choreographed
a piece presented on the Orpheum Theater stage, strutted down runways
in fashion shows and appeared yearly with Studio A Dance's resident
company Cumulus. Bill also volunteers his time as choreographer
for the local high school musical theatre productions. Bill now
a monthy theater venue at Studio A Dance open to local choreographers.
Locally, for the past ten years, he has choreographed musicals at
the local high school, John Marshall.
But teaching takes top billing. The supportive
instructor allows his students to find pleasure with dance
rather than perfection. By keeping the atmosphere positive
and by sharing his joy for dance, Bill motivates students to the
point of surprising themselves and excelling far beyond preconceived
A blast from the past (written
from a small village in Japan, Summer 2015) I was so excited
to see that you are still working your magic Bill Brown.
I doubt you would remember me as I only attended classes for a short
time before taking a roller dance job in Japan. At 28 I had never
yet studied dance, couldn't remember the combinations for the life
of me but you told me, (and I remember like it was yesterday) that
I moved well.
That compliment went a long way!! I'm still in Japan, and am now
teaching dance based exercise to a small but wonderful group here
in the tiniest village ever. Your enthusiasm and energy inspires
me at every class I teach, and although I'm not a "real"
your inspiration has enriched my life and also of the people who
I have thepleasure of dancing with. >>>> So thank you
from the bottom of my heart, 30
years later!!! >>>> Melody
more from Melody:
I went to your jazz dance class for a very short period in early
'89, so I guess that makes it 26 years ago, although I remember
it very clearly because it thrilled me to the core. I wanted to
take some dance classes as prep for my dance skating job in Japan
(6 month gig), little did I know that I would love it so much. So...
I finally started my own little "dance" class in my village
8 years ago, only twice a week, learning as I go. I
know it sounds silly but I kind of channel you every time I teach,
as best as I can. It's working because it is an hour of pure joy
for everyone in the room. Such a gift! Thanks again for adding so
much to my life, and the dancing ladies in my village. Sincerely,