Bring The Beat Back

Our core group decided on two things before college, that we would head our own way and pursue our academic or employment goals, but then that we would all gather up again where we could once it was all over to continue pursuing our passion. It sounds like a weird pact to make in hindsight, but it turned out to work, fortunately for us. My two compatriots head out to go to college, and myself, I went to work for my uncle at a Louisville Roofers company. I know that it didn’t seem like much of a goal in the short term, but I love my work, I’m good at it, and I can continue it for as long as homes and businesses have roofs, so I’m ok with it.

When my friends finished with their studies, they decided to move up here with their degrees, as Louisville is a pretty big area, and they could pursue their careers while still being together. We began once again holding auditions almost the same weekend they landed and got set up in their own places as we were all in a hurry to get going again on things as soon as possible. Once we had our fifteen people gathered, we set our sights a little higher. There was a local national dance competition that was facing off some of the best dance crews in the country against each other, and we knew that it was the right launching platform for us.

Though we knew we wouldn’t win, only having roughly seven months to prepare, we went in with a different objective, to simply get our name out there, and garner some recognition for our troupe as a whole to possibly push further the following year. We put in some of the hardest work ever when it came to our dance, and pushed our new troupe members even harder. All while trying to balance work and home life. But fortunately, we have been surrounded by supportive people who have allowed us to do so with minimal personal impact. Within that seven month period, we put together a routine that we felt confident in, and ready to bring to the world as a whole.

Our set went well, and we accomplished what we came for. We had a respectable fourth place finish, and managed to put our name on the map, which was our ultimate goal. From that point to today, we have the fortune of working with some of the best dancers in the region, who come in and put on workshops for local area kids, we work with many local charities, and we perform at every opportunity we get. We have had the ability to take our dreams from behind the school yard, onto a national stage, and still move forward with it every single day that goes by. We are blessed, and fortunate to have been able to follow our dreams, and we hope to inspire others to do the same, and to show that you can be both a dreamer and responsible.

Move Your Body

yay-21384234-digitalThe beautiful thing to us about hip hop dancing was how informal and communal it was. There were no hip hop dance classes, there were no teachers other than ourselves, we saw by watching, and mimicking, and eventually teach each other. There was something quite primal and primitive about that aspect of things that I think really drew us in, and allowed us to bond together as much as we did, because we needed each other to improve. Our first foray into major public performing was at a local talent show that was held in our high school every year. We spent a solid two months practicing every single day, making sure our formation was perfect, that we were hitting every note, every beat, and adding in enough impressive moves and sets to get peoples attention and keep it on us.

That first performance was where we adopted our troupe name, we were no longer the guys who danced out back, we had an identity. And when we hit the stage, and that song that we all got sick of listening to while training first came out of the speakers, we were all jazzed up. The beat dropped, and we put everything we had into that performance. We didn’t know it then, but it was a rebirth for us, a reminder of why we spent so many hours making sure that everything was perfect. And for a town that was all about big trucks and country music, the crowd was electric, listening to our music, watching our dance moves, and by the end of it, they just exploded. It was a high in life that has been hard to replicate save for a few instances.

The funny side effect of that performance though was the parents who came to watch their kids perform. They would come up to us after the show, or whenever they passed us asking about how we learned, and whether or not we would teach their kids. We never thought that we would turn into instructors, but we gladly took in anyone willing to learn, and at the height of our gathering, we had just under forty dancers. This led us to realizing though that we needed to keep our numbers lower if we didn’t want to spend an entire year practicing for one performance, and began to run a troupe of fifteen that required an audition process. It wasn’t ideal, but we wanted to grow.

By the time our senior year rolled around, we were performing at various events across the city and the surrounding area. This group of a couple kids and a stereo only a few short years ago, were now establishing a following, and it was fantastic. But soon the dreaded time started to loom above us. There would be changes coming, colleges, and futures, and none of us were in the position to be professional dancers for life, so we needed ot figure out what it was that we would be doing.

Southern Charm

yay-21924776-digitalEverything Must Go!!! … Except that’s an old blog and domain title.  It’s time to switch our viewership towards my passion.

We are the men, women, boys and girls of Lonestar Ensemble, a dance troupe based out of Texas and currently operating in the Louisville area. The core of our group is three life long friends, myself included, who have been working together in the dance industry for almost 20 years. We aim to bring a sense of cohesion and family unity to our dance troupes, and to spread awareness of this art form that we love so much. To give you an idea of how we have come to pass, and what we’re looking to do with our future, allow me to take you back in time to our Texan roots, and where we started.

Growing up in Southern Texas, you wouldn’t necessarily think of hip hop as being one of our major influences. After all, you can go to any corner, any parking lot, and you’ll see big trucks, big flags, and country music. Line dancing has been a thing in this area for longer than we’ve been alive, but it was hip hop that had us collectively hanging out around the back of our high school and bobbing to the beat. We spent a lot of our time watching the famous dancers of that era, and breakdancing. It was unlike anything that we experienced here, and the way that these people could keep time and rhythm with nothing but their body movements, totally captured our attention.

Every day we would gather around the portable stereo I brought to school, sharing the newest moves that we managed to track down. And you need to keep in mind that at this point, the internet as we know it was barely nascent in it’s growth, so we were watching music videos and music television stations, ask your parents. One of us would find something, show it to the rest, and we would all practice that specific move for an entire lunch hour. Each day typically had one new move being added to our repertoire, and eventually led us to having enough that we could string it together into full routines.

We began to work together as a group to come up with ways to make it new, and exciting, and eventually drawing the attention of other likeminded dancers in our school. With this, our troupe first began to spring into life, and to form it’s own identity. Each lunch hour, dozens of us huddled around the music, often with a bunch of hastily taped together cardboard boxes as a makeshift dance floor, as we each took our place in the center to see who could outdo who. This friendly competition stepped all of our games up, and in turn allowed us to teach each other to new heights. Eventually we had the nerve to perform in front of people rather than hidden away in the back of the school, and the energy and enthusiasm of the onlooking crowd did nothing but fuel our need to improve, and improve we did.