A bunch of us bought the ValuUp deal (HK$100 for 4 x 60-min classes) at DanzXtreme, a dance school in Sheung Wan led by an Indian guy called Master Ram. We don’t know much about Master Ram except that he was voted “Bollywood Dance King” by the Hong Kong Daily News (if that means anything) and, after some digging (read: Google search), I also found out that he used to teach at Planet Yoga (yes, THE Planet Yoga that closed down abruptly and scammed so many HKers of their contract money).
I’m not saying Master Ram had anything to do with it, but anyway, he’s now got his own dance school with classes like MTV Funk, Dirty Dancing, Bollywood, Belly Dance, K-Pop and more. On a side note, his website is freakishly fiery and over the top, so I guess we should have known what we were getting into.
The crowd: The classes we took had about 30 people in it, all female between the ages of 20(?) to 45(?). They are mostly die-hard students of Master Ram who not only take a whole day of back-to-back classes but come dressed to the nines in their funkiest clothing (think exposed midriffs, cropped pants, colourful sneakers, stage makeup, hair extensions, and even wigs). We were split into three rows during the class, with the regulars in the front and newbies in middle and back.
The class: The song we danced to at MTV Funk was Lady Gaga’s “Telephone” (a somewhat dated song) and the choreo couldn’t have been more literal. It started with us making telephone hands and picking up imaginary telephones to our ears (left, right, left, right), while other moves included pelvic gyrations during the “eh-eh-eh-eh” parts and more telephone ringing moves sprinkled in between. Let’s just say, it was less than impressive.
I get it — if Master Ram made the moves too difficult, a lot of people would get scared away and never come back. But c’mon, it’s a dance school, and I’d like to learn some real dance moves, not some silly moves I could be doing in a game of charades!
As for K-Pop, we were hoping for better but it was just as disappointing. This time, we started with jumping jacks (no joke) and then some aerobics-moves that repeated themselves over and over, with some twisting hops with T-Rex arms that made me feel like a stupid six year old. It’s like Master Ram doesn’t put any effort in making an actual dance choreo.
For both classes, there was no warm-up like other dance schools where you do push-ups and sit-ups for 30 minutes before learning a choreography. Master Ram starts immediately and ends right at 60 minutes. During the class, each row is also singled out to do the choreo on their own, probably so that people can get a taste of what it’s like to perform and watch each other.
Verdict: If you want to learn how to dance, I would avoid DanzXtreme. I actually told Master Ram about how I used to take krump, house, locking, and hip hop back in Holland, and he literally said to me, “It’s all the same. House is the same as hip hop.” Apparently he had only taken some house dancing classes in Hong Kong and came to this conclusion. My jaw dropped.
If you don’t know the difference between different dance styles, you are not a dancer, I’m sorry. Master Ram doesn’t, and the thing is, neither do his students. They’re just there to have fun, sweat a bit, lose weight, feel sexy, and a no-brainer choreo and music is really all they need. I must, however, give props to the ladies in the class for strutting their stuff, and making the simple choreography look great.
However, if you’re hoping to learn some real dance moves that you can show off in the club, or at a dance-off one day, head elsewhere. I recommend Ones to Watch in Tsim Sha Tsui, home of the real dancers in Hong Kong (who are really passionate about dancing).
PS. If you don’t know what house dancing is, watch the one and only Eszteca do it! I miss his classes soooooo much!!