I first heard about trendy Shoreditch dance & fitness studio, Frame’s Music Video Dance Class some time ago and as someone who considers them self an enthusiast of both dodgy pop music and throwing them self about, my interest was immediately piqued. But there were two main factors holding me back: a fear of hipsters and a total absence of rhythm, coordination and all other skills that might enhance my dancing capability. Still, I’m fully into this whole “outside the comfort zone” shiz, now, so this seemed like a good place to start the next phase of my journey through the dark arts of physical recreation.
With minimal ear-bending of the extremely helpful Rosy, from Frame’s marketing team, it was agreed that the music video on this particular week would be, you guessed it, Beyoncé-based. And with a spring in my step, I dragged bezzie Katherine along to Fashionable Shoreditch.
It’d be fair to say Katherine isn’t massively into sport. Despite being one of my bezzies, she’s thus far managed to resist any attempts to engage in Inspire a Jen sporting activities. She has, however, provided a good deal of companionship for supportive binge drinking, during the tougher parts of the project. She does enjoy a dance, though, and she was well up for the music video dance class.
We arrive at Frame, which suitably as a trendy establishment is tucked under some railway arches, alluding to some ironic Shoreditch griminess. I feel in equal measure intimidated by the trendiness and glad I packed my super-shiny leggings. To my surprise, the staff at reception don’t treat me with utter disdain and are actually very lovely indeed. The clientele is also a bit of a surprise. Sure, there are a few whippersnappers who look like they have just walked off the set of Fame, but there are also people who look like they have boring jobs like me, and I’m back in my comfort zone.
Instructor Gary welcomes us to the class and it’s time for the big reveal: the Beyoncé music video we’ll be learning the moves to is Naughty Girl. To be honest, I was hoping for Crazy in Love, it being probably my favourite song of all time, but hey, I’ve already nailed those moves over the years. And by “nailed”, I mean something more like “embarrassed myself hideously on a variety of occasions”. Naughty Girl, perhaps a slightly leftfield choice, is one of Beyoncé’s “sexier” numbers. Sexier even than recent release Drunk in Love, in the video of which she just looks, well, drunk actually, whilst husband Jay-Z, very sexily likens himself to notorious lady-abusers, Mike Tyson and Ike Turner. Tres sexy, indeed.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with ‘Yoncé’s back catalogue, here are the moves we were to try to recreate, with the exception of the curious trumpet-scat toward the end.
I imagine very few people are able to accurately assess their own sexiness and probably most, me included, consider themselves roughly about as sexy as a kick in the junk. Which I suppose, depending on your preferences, you might find very sexy indeed. In which case, you might also find moderate social awkwardness and frequent references to the discography of R Kelly equally alluring – who knows. My point is, it’s a bit uncomfortable trying to force a sexy vibe, and distinctly un-British.
More awkward still, when one of your best friends is in the room. Don’t get me wrong, Katherine has seen me sobbing into my second garlic mushroom pizza on Brighton beach, wearing my mascara as a beard wailing “WHY CAN’T I JUST BE A DIAMOND??” (She told me I was a diamond “in the rough”) and a lot more besides, that I’m probably not going to go into via this particular forum. There are no secrets here, there is no shame, but perhaps this was a step too far?
Alongside this awkwardness is my innate inability to dance without looking like, erm, a man. A man who is bad at dancing, compounded further by my inability to follow direction (ask my friend Nicola about this) or even to instinctively know my left from right. Essentially, I’m a mess, and not even a hot one. As the class goes on, I seem to actually regress in terms of my ability. On the other side of the room, some of the kids in our class are GOOD. They’ve danced before and they’ll dance again – even the ones who look like they work in the city.
Sensing some of the class needs to loosen up a bit, Gary tries to get us in the mood.
“Ladies, I want you to imagine you’ve had the day off work. You’ve been to La Senza,” he ponders for a moment realising what an unsexy treat he’s lined up for our hypothetical dance class widows. “No, you’ve been to Victoria’s Secret. You’ve got a bottle of wine, it’s chilled and the door’s on the latch. I want you to dance now like you’re dancing for your fella when he walks through the door”.
I’m determined to have a good shot at this and not to be a child about it, so I make a conscious decision to dance my arse off, but the result is a bit like the difference between how loudly you think you’re talking during a presentation and the extent to which anyone in the room can actually hear you. As I catch sight of myself in the mirror “going for it”, I’m horrified to see how serious my facial expression is and I actually feel bad for my hypothetical fella, making a mental note never to try to recreate this routine whilst drunk at a wedding. I had planned to make a video of the routine, but I felt too awkward to ask. As someone who has posted a video of themselves on the internet, wearing a sequined leotard, twirling a ribbon to the theme from Black Beauty, I’m telling you, I would have been too embarrassed to share this routine, publically.
After the class, Katherine and I are still able to look each other in the eye and there don’t seem to have been any long-term effects on our friendship, I’m pleased to report. In fact, despite the awkwardness, we had great time because really, dancing is fun, even if you’re crap at it and everyone else isn’t. And despite the obvious disparity in the ability of individual class members, no one laughed at me or made me feel inept, in fact my natural instinct to distrust a hipster was clearly wrong, and there was a really nice feeling of camaraderie in the class. Not only this, but instructor Gary was hilarious and we both left wanting to adopt him as our new best friend.
I highly recommend trying one of these classes which make for a much more interesting and entertaining time of it than a sweaty treadmill (you could even stop by their Beyoncé workshop THIS VERY SATURDAY). If you are a bit more on the introverted side, watch the Beyoncé video again, imagine me trying to recreate these moves, try not to feel too violated, and remember that anything is possible – even if you are sober.
In addition to their Shoreditch studio, Frame also has a studio in Queens Park, London and offer a range of membership/payment options.