While I was in Africa, I had a great opportunity to meet some new people. There was a whole group from Seattle (some of whom I have known for years, others were a bit on the younger side and I met them for the first time). Kaitlyn was our only skipper from Canada and we had one guy come in from Japan named Jun Haratake. Jun is in charge of the Fusion competitions in Japan and is very well known and respected in the Double Dutch Fusion world.
I have to admit that since I have been performing for a living, I don’t do a whole lot of Double Dutch anymore. I still teach it frequently, but my main audience are beginners to intermediate so the focus is always on entry level skills. Due to this, I haven’t had much opportunity to work on the newer Double Dutch styles that have taken over the last decade or so. Fusion is a style where they incorporate dance, hip hop, choreography and Double Dutch. Thus the Fusion name. I know you’re probably thinking that I would be a natural at hip hop related stuff (I was told by Mike that I would never be a hip hop instructor due to my general lack of any sort of hippity hop ability…probably right). I will be the first to admit that dance is not my strong suit. I did enjoy working with Jun on elements of Fusion and the basic building blocks of how the routines are put together.
It’s always fun to watch a master at work. Jun did a great job of breaking down the elements into their component parts so that the jumpers (and me 🙂 ) could learn how and why things are done. In case you’re wondering, the most important thing to remember is timing. Your jumps always match the music. Choreography is huge and you need your jumps to match what’s going on with the music. Most of the sessions we covered mainly dealt with learning to jump on beat (I got that part down thankfully). Dance moves were then incorporated along with turning changes to the music. Turning I could do fine, dancing…not so much. I really enjoyed the difference that this added to our daily sessions as it was a new and different style for the jumpers.
I’ll see if there are any elements of this I can add to my shows. It’s hard being a solo performer, but I’m always looking for a challenge.