(that means frequently asked questions, not feed-a-quacker [why would you even think that?])
How are your classes structured?
We run our classes with all the precision of a finely tuned Italian sports car. We come out of first gear with a quick total body warm-up. Then as we start to get a rev going we pop it into second with 15-20 minutes of freestyling where you follow along with the teacher’s moves and keep that heart rate going. Just when you think you can dance no more, we drop it into third as we hit the floor for some stretching and strengthening. Next it’s time to cruise into fourth as we learn some hot Hip Hop choreography to the latest jams from the Bay Area and beyond. And once every 3 weeks we kick into high gear by pulling out the video cameras and recording the moves we’ve been learning (if you haven’t yet, check out our videos here). Sick of the driving analogies? Yeah, we thought so. How bout we pump the brakes on that now ... D‘oh! For the structure of the kids’ classes click here.
What should I wear/bring to class?
Everyone seems to think that everyone in Hip Hop class gets fitted like Beyonce or Jay-Z. But while we totally support anyone who wants to get flossed out to get in the mood, most everyone just dresses like they would if they were going to work out. That includes bringing a water bottle and a towel if you got it. Other than that, make sure you got footwear that lets you move easily and you’re set. And in case you are one of the people that wants to pimp your gear before you come through, know you won’t be alone. Us FUNKMODE folk like to don our flyest fits too, so play on playas.
Are your classes for beginners?
Absolutely. We call them classes because that’s the place where you learn. If everybody were already skilled, we’d call them rehearsals. We want everyone to feel like they can come take class no matter what their experience or skill level and we’ve worked hard to make sure our classes meet the needs of those who are just starting out.
What is the average age of the people in your classes?
Now you know it’s not polite to be asking people’s ages. Shame on you! But if you must know, we cover the demographic that watches MTV all the way to the one that watches CNN. If that’s not specific enough for you, just know that you won’t be the oldest student we’ve had and you won’t be the youngest. Don’t let a number become an excuse. If you love to dance, you don’t need to worry about anything else.
I have never danced before or taken a class. Is that a problem?
Only if it stops you from EVER taking a class. We have a long list of people who have taken class with us over the years who started out as complete newbies and eventually learned to shake it like pros. Again, that’s why we call it dance CLASS. You are there to learn and we’re here to teach you. All you really need to be successful is a love for music and movement, a willingness to learn and a sense of humor for those occasional moments when your feet don’t seem to wanna keep up with your brain.
Will I be the only guy in class?
Umm, being the only guy in a room full of girls seems like a BIG potential win. "Umm, or not." Okay, fine, whatever ... you're right, we don't know your life. In that case, just check out our videos and you'll see that you definitely won't be the only one. In fact, one of our lead instructors is a guy and he teaches the adult Hip Hop classes. He's a pretty solid dancer and, while full of manly muscle-flexing/beer-drinking testosterone, still manages to maintain said manliness while constantly surrounded by females. If he can do it, you can too!
I’ve danced a lot in the past. Will your classes be too easy for me?
While the majority of our students are beginners, we do have some pros hiding out here and there. Watch our class videos and you’ll catch em making it all look easy. We teach our choreography with options for beginners and advanced dancers. In case you’re still not convinced, just know that we’ve NEVER had someone complain that they needed more of a challenge. If you’re that good, we’ll definitely put your moves to work ... and we might even invite you to rehearsal!
Can I try/watch a class?
Yes and no. You can come give us a try, but we don’t let people just kick it on the sidelines. It kind of weirds out the rest of us who are actually dancing to have people staring at us. That being said, we HIGHLY RECOMMEND that you watch our videos to get a taste of class and then sign up for an entire session. Unless you’re an experienced and accomplished dancer, taking one class is a REALLY bad way to evaluate whether or not it’s for you. If you are new, you are likely to be somewhat frustrated during your first class as your mind and body attempt to form a new relationship. However, people always seem to advance very quickly and after only a few classes they have a VERY different perspective than they had initially. Don’t think of this as a dance class, think of it as a dance course. What we do works best as a package, not a one time experience.
Can I take class on a drop-in basis?
If you haven’t already, check the answer to the question directly above. Our classes aren’t structured for drop-ins. We do this for a few reasons. For one, people see much better results when they attend class regularly. Also, it makes class much more enjoyable for everyone when we get used to seeing, learning and dancing with familiar faces. Finally, it ensures that our student numbers stay relatively consistent which keeps teachers AND students happy.
What if I can’t make every single class in a session?
Not a problem! Talk to us and we’ll work with your schedule to allow for make ups. It shouldn’t stop anyone from registering for a session.
Do you teach real Hip Hop?
We may be out in the burbs, but our Hip Hop is definitely not from the land of make believe. We pride ourselves on being one of the very, VERY few companies around that truly represents for REAL Hip Hop. We don’t play sell-out rap songs. We don’t bite our moves from music videos or TV shows and if you wanna chill for a spell, we could regale you with more details about the history of Hip Hop than you ever thought possible. This ain’t Jazz or pop moves disguised as funk. FUNKMODE IS HIP HOP!
Do you teach freestyling?
A wise Zen Master once said, “If you can teach freestyling, is it still freestyling?” Though the Zen Man kinda has a point here, we still do our best to provide some basis for understanding the fundamentals of freestyling, especially since most people want to be able to dance socially. As mentioned earlier, at least a third of our adult class is spent following the teacher’s freestyling, which doesn’t mean you are actually creating on the fly, but you’re at least learning to follow on the fly. It’s a bit like learning to freestyle with training wheels. If you really want to get down with some serious freestyle training, private lessons are the way to go. NOTE: All kids’ classes include freestyle training.
Do you teach more than dancing in your kids’ classes?
Our kids’ classes are a far different animal than our adult classes. Click here to see the basic format. Since we’re giving most of these ankle biters and young adults their first exposure to the performing arts, we include a bit of everything in their classes. For example, Hip Hop classes include some basic training in other important dance styles in addition to working on not just the moves but also performance quality. We also do basic acting training, sessions on how to improvise, lessons on comedy and comedic timing and some musical education. We find that all of these skills make better dancers so we make it an important part of their curriculum. One more thing ... every Spring we have a big show that really gives the kids a chance to show off the whole range of performing arts skills they’re learning AND every month we shoot a kids’ class video just like the adult videos so you have something to show off to family and friends!
How do you choose your music for class? Also, is it kid friendly?
We have our favorite artists and we keep our ear to the streets for the new kids bringing the heat. We take a lot of requests from our students figuring that if you’re bumpin it outside of class, you’ll definitely be jammin when you hear it in class. And just so there’s no surprises, know that we are very protective of Hip Hop culture and we won’t play just any fool that’s sittin at the top of the charts. You gotta have staying power to get on our playlist. We play only real artists that represent for Hip Hop. As for the kids’ classes, our music is ALWAYS kid friendly. We want them to have the most positive image of Hip Hop possible. Check our music page to get an idea of the kind of tunes that keep our heads bobbin.
Will I get a good workout?
Better than a Jane Fonda/Tae Bo/Pilates sandwich (eewww!). Although it IS a dance class, we know a lot of people are just trying to find a fun way to burn calories without strapping themselves to a StairMonster. Sooo, we make sure to sneak a workout in on ya while you’re distracted by trying to keep up with the steps. We’ve got a lot of people to drop a lot of weight with our stealthy dance trickery so don’t be surprised if there’s less of you to go around by the end of the session.
How are your group classes different from your private lessons?
As different as watching people dance on TV is from taking a dance class. Private lessons put you a step closer to the action. Private lessons allow us to get into things that we’d never have the time or ability to cover in group classes. Besides that, they’re completely individualized, so whatever you want to do is what we do. They’re a great way to learn things we don’t cover in class or get extra assisted practice with the things we are doing in class. Especially if you’re a first timer, private lessons are a GREAT idea! Click here for more details.
Do I have to be in your class videos?
No, but everyone will look at you funny. JUST KIDDING!!! No one ever has to be in the videos if they don’t want to. BUUUT, our class videos are a BIG part of the way new people like yourself get a chance to see what classes are like. If everyone opted out of the videos, YOU would have nothing to watch. Also, if the videos only had people in them that made the choreography look perfect (i.e. no beginners), how realistic or inviting would that be? We’re not submitting our stuff to MTV, you’re not expected to be a diva/divo and there’s no judgment here ... just people who love to dance having a lot of fun.
Can I join your performance company?
We choose people for the company from amongst our students. That means, if you want to try out, you gotta be in class. We don’t bring in new people that often, but we also don’t let a good opportunity pass us by. If you’re interested let us know, then start treating every class like it’s your own personal show.