Shake What Yo Mama Gave Ya

POP Montreal Welcomes Dance Workshops to the Festival

Graphic Elizabeth Ranger

Get ready to bust a move.

That’s right, you can grab your sports bras and spandex—POP Montreal is giving you the opportunity to break it down and learn from the best.
The ninth edition of the festival is offering two separate sets of dance workshops taught by So You Think You Can Dance’s Emmy award winning choreographer and judge Mia Michaels and New Orleans’s bad-ass, booty-shaking Big Freedia.
Dan Seligman, one of the festival’s founders and current creative director, is happy to have dance on this year’s bill—especially in the form of a learning experience.
“I think it’s good, regardless of whether you are a musician or a dancer, to have an opportunity to learn from an established master,” he said. “I think it’s part of our job with the festival to serve as a liaison between some of the more established acts and the young up-and-coming artists who are looking for a chance to learn and develop their craft.”
Seligman is also excited about the opportunity to embrace as many forms of art as possible through POP’s diverse lineup.
“What we want to do is not necessarily have barriers between the different types of art,” he explained. “Whether it’s dance, music or visual art, I think it’s important for us to see that there are common threads and crossroads between these different art forms.”
Whether dancing is something you do purely when intoxicated or happens to be a passion of yours, POP is offering you a way to embrace and explore your inner rhythms. If contemporary dance is your cup of tea, check out one of the two master classes taught by Mia Michaels. The classes are hosted by local dance studio Extravadanza in tandem with the festival, and will be held at the Rialto Theatre.
The workshops mark the inauguration of Extravdanza II, a new studio opening in the Montreal’s east end. The first class is for intermediate and advanced dancers (with a recommended minimum of three to five years of dance experience) and the second is for pre-professional and professional dancers.
Luisa Sassano, owner and founder of Extravadanza, is thrilled to have the opportunity to share the art of dance with anyone who is interested.
“I think a dance studio should be a vehicle for dancers, allowing them to open doors and to explore their art,” she said.
If getting down and dirty is more your thing, you might want to check out the bounce class led by Big Freedia along with DJ Rusty and Altercation. Big Freedia is a transvestite rapper who will teach you how to get low, and shake what yo mama gave ya. The class will also encourage discussion on several issues, such as female sexual empowerment.

This article originally appeared in Volume 31, Issue 07, published September 28, 2010.