Thursday, July 29, 2010

She's Fly, So Fly . . .

" ... and fresh, truly fresh" ~ Tony Terry

1990. What a year. I was 13 and believed myself ready for the ride into adolescence. I had learned that puberty would be a storm of emotions and bodily changes. I had braces that made my already oversized lips cartoonish and fish-like. I had just switched schools after leaving a very comfortable position in the social world at my K-6 elementary. I was desperate to fit in and be liked by the already established cool crowd. I readied myself for a couple of years of angsty journaling and radio-listening ("... if you hold on for one more day, things will go your way ...").

But no one had prepared me for the Fly Girls! In Living Color debuted and with it the Fly Girls entered my life. And by entered, I mean they became my goddesses. Truly. My eyes did not blink once they were onscreen for fear of missing a key piece of choreography. I memorized every chest pump and body roll. If I was having a particularly horrid day in the power struggles of girlfriends and back-stabbing and gossip, I would close the door to my room, pump up the volume on my pink boombox, and choreograph with the Fly Girls as my mentors. If I was feeling especially self-conscious at school, I would think, what would the Fly Girls do? They would do the running man to class, of course! Fine, I didn't actually running man to class, but it helped to imagine myself with that kind of bravado. And I could really do their moves. School dances were my time to shine. Friends would ask me to teach them. They said I was like a Fly Girl. And you know that basically made my existence.

Ten years later I was taking hip-hop classes and soon after joined a professional hip-hop dance company led by Micaya, a renowned choreographer and teacher in the Bay Area and beyond. I danced with SoulForce for about four years, which was incredible and exhausting and one of the best experiences of my life. Even after being exposed to so many brilliant dancers in the dance community, I still look back on the Fly Girls as my main source of inspiration.

Now I'm a mom and dance is no longer a priority, but I miss it. And I think it will be a part of my life again. Beyond crying while watching So You Think You Can Dance, I mean. I can't wait to teach Q some moves. I try now, but he just rolls his eyes at me. Yes, he's already doing that at 18 months.

This video is long -- a compilation of a bunch of their routines -- but you'll get the gist if you only watch a minute of it. A total flashback to me at 13, the music I listened to, the clothes that I wore (okay, not exactly neon catsuits but definitely biker shorts), the moves that I mimicked.


  1. Ahhh yeah! The Fly Girls were so bad ass, although I could only watch in envy, wishing I was able to do even the most basic of moves without looking and feeling like a complete idiot. Mich, you were blessed with such an amazing talent and I am so glad you continued to perform well into adulthood. Watching you dance is beyond entertaining - it is truly inspiring and oh so much better than watching some Fly Girl on TV. xxoo

  2. P.S. Shawn Wayans is hot!

  3. The Fly Girls were so awesome, if you were able to work it like they did then I am totally impressed and you are my hero! I have always wanted to be able to dance! So awesome, thanks for sharing. I love dthis post!