By Rachel Medanic on September 22, 2012
I'll admit, I have been feeling the energy ever since I started going to Samar's Monday night Shimmy Pop Remix class at Hipline. Monday nights are some of my most fulfilling times of "worship" at...well...I call it "Temple Hipline." Part hip hop, part Jazzercise, Hipline's Shimmy Pop is the kind of dance class where mission #1 is to have fun and groove. But the chemistry of a studio packed with 30 or so women sweating it together for fun is a delightfully irreverent form of dance compared to the varieties I've done in the past. Monday nights have become my "Samar's Monday Night Revolution."
A fearless dancer with boundless chutzpah and creativity, Samar is not afraid to push the boundaries of fun and she curates a quirky, beat throbbing mix of music that has something for everyone. She's also not afraid to throw in music that channels what is going on in her own life or experiential oddities like Elton John's Circle of Life, re-enactments between students from the movie Grease, or an audio clip from Bruce Lee talking about water. Whatever it takes to get us to release our daily cares.
Now 4 years old, Hipline started as a belly dance fitness studio that has now evolved to a broader "dance fitness." You get a little bit of everything depending on the instructor. Conceived by Lebanese American sisters (Wonder Sisters!) Samar Nassar and Gabriela Nassar Covarelli, Hipline is a place where amazing women of all races and colors come together to be lead by passionate teachers of all races and colors. Into hip hopesque redemption (and not into temptation) we go! The energy of every Hipline teacher is also always vibrant, inspiring, pro-woman and makes you want to do things like tackle injustices, especially toward women.
So earlier this month, it happened. I learned I was not alone in feeling politically energized by dance. In the monthly Hipline newsletter there was great news: an invitation to Boogie for Obama--a re-election fundraiser. I thought to myself, how awesome! Some other woman must have been feeling what I felt and took action.
In fact, it was two women! Hipline regulars, Melissa and Kristen, were discussing in disbelief the recent comments from Todd Akin about legitimate rape. In horror, they asked: What can we do? Let's go to Hipline, they decided. Now that's a Temple, don't you think? When you need the power of community- to whom do you turn?
What gets lost in the digital, always online world of work, play and existence is just how deeply dance and movement can affect us. We're caught in a cerebral trap, staring at computers or devices through which we seem to be living more and more of our lives. But when you walk, you connect the body's parts together. When you dance, you give life to a channel for expression of whatever is built up inside--joy, love, gratitude, grief, sadness--whatever needs processing or releasing.
So the Boogie has now come and gone. Forty women have "boogied forward," and while the experience is done, we are still united in our hearts. It's time to re-elect someone who will lead to protect and preserve the rights of people and women.
The Boogie ended as every Hipline class does, with a spin and (with attitude!) pose. But the night was also closed out by a room of women intently singing the refrain to Chicago's If You Leave Me Now. We are all on a mission to bring someone to the polls who is thinking they are too frustrated or powerless to bother this November. We're in, Mr. President. And our voices are strong.