"Dancing helps you heal"
- Corey Action
In North Oakland's Rockridge district, on a stretch of College Avenue nearby Diesel Books, Pegasus Books, George & Walt's, not far from new hip clothing store Dapper and scores of other mom & pops; in the 5400 block sandwiched in between The Rockrigde Masonic Center and the new eclectic Atomic Garden is the vibrant New Style Motherlode Dance Studio where, for the past seven years, Corey Action and his stable of able dance instructors have been teaching various forms of hip-hop based dance (including a Bay Area Style class) along with a healthy, positive outlook on life.
"Time For Some Action" boldly reads one poster in the window at 5451 College Ave. Inside, on one recent early evening, the place was packed with many urging the call to take action: dancing bodies, brimming with energy, all vibing to the pulsating music's groove that fused it all together. Owner, instructor, and recording artist Corey Action recently took time out to talk to AMOEBLOG about his studio and his passion, dance.
AMOEBLOG: Seven years for any small business, especially a teaching facility located in an expensive high rent area like you are in, means you have beaten the odds. To what do you attribute your success?
COREY ACTION: Seven years in my space on College Avenue! Sometimes I can't even believe it. I owe the success of my businesses to the grace and blessings of God. I always tell people that this whole thing is a set up. The people around me, the spaces I work in, the things I get the chances to do and see are all blessings. It's not like things fall out the sky, but they do fall into my hands when my hands are in the right place. All I have to do is show up and do me and the gifts show up too.
AMOEBLOG: How important is your North Oakland/College Ave location?
COREY ACTION: My College Avenue studio is a great place for a dance studio and office. It's a
storefront in one of the most desired areas of commercial space in Oakland. I like it for many reasons. The Rockridge BART station is 2 blocks north, the 51 AC Transit bus runs right in front. There is a parking lot right across the street from my front door, and plenty of spaces to eat and shop. People feel really safe in the neighborhood also.
AMOEBLOG: Specifically what type of dance is taught at New Motherlode?
COREY ACTION: The New Style Motherlode Dance Studio is a hip-hop based studio. We offer classes and workshops in many styles of hip-hop dance. We have classes for all ages and levels. Hip-hop, breaking, popping, jazz hip-hop, praise dance, and cardio. The classes are fun and beginner-friendly.
AMOEBLOG: What is your personal background as a dance instructor?
COREY ACTION: I started teaching when I was 7 years old, but didn't get my first paid teaching job until I was 19. I started as a professional at Laney College in Oakland. My Afro-Haitian instructor asked me to teach something to a class and that's all she wrote … I've taught for many dance studios and gyms all over the place: the Bay Area, Atlanta, LA, Texas and Asia. I can teach just about anyone to dance.
AMOEBLOG: Who are some of the other dance instructors at your studio?
COREY ACTION: New Style Motherlode has a staff of twelve instructors. Some are subs and
specialty teachers and the others are full staff. Teela Shine is the company director and manager. She teaches anything she wants to, because she's Mama!!! Demone is our hip-hop and teen hip-hop instructor. He's the one with the Bay Area street style that's hot right now. Jennifer is one of our cardio hip-hop instructors. She dances in our professional company and also teaches praise dance. Nicole and Robyn teach our intermediate jazz class. Their class is very technical and fun. Decoryan is the new guy in the Motherlode. He teaches jazz hip-hop, and intermediate SF-style hip hop. Dahrio teaches LA-style hip hop. Moshion is our break dance instructor, and there's Yaneeka, Remmie, and Nikka.
AMOEBLOG: Is it true that dance is more than just a physical activity, that it is also a powerful mental activity that aids individuals in transcending everyday situations to gain a better insight of their lives?
COREY ACTION: I think that every time I teach a class, someone comes up to me and lets me know how my class has helped them with something-- be it a long day at work, problems with relationships, health, school, whatever. People who dance at the New Style Motherlode get a great experience and receive love when here. We love to love, and we love to dance. Dancing helps you heal. The movement produces endorphins. Endorphins are believed to have a beneficial effect on general health and well-being and also the immune system!
AMOEBLOG: What types of people take your classes?
COREY ACTION: We have all types of folks from ages 2 to 82, African-American, White, Latin, Asian, Native American and so on. It's a big melting pot.
That's why it's called the Motherlode.
AMOEBLOG: Where do people come from to attend classes?
COREY ACTION: We have people come in from all over the Bay Area. We have one young lady who would come from Fresno California, and another that came down for Sac every weekend. I think when you find something you like or love, ain't no mountain high enough to keep me from it.
AMOEBLOG: What are some of the more popular classes?
COREY ACTION: Our cardio hip-hop is the most popular class. The students get a great workout, great music, and the average age is 35. Lots of women just having fun and keeping in shape.
AMOEBLOG: What is the kids' hip-hop series all about?
COREY ACTION: Kid's hip hop series is a six week dance program for the little ones. We have classes for 2 to 4.5 years, 4.5 to 6 years, and 6.5 to 8 years old. These classes introduce children to dance movement. It helps promote rhythm, balance, and direction. The classes also help with the development of memory. It's a fun class, not too serious, but a whole lot of fun! The next series starts the February 2, 2008.
AMOEBLOG: Exactly how important is the music that is chosen for the dancing?
COREY ACTION: Choosing music is the most important thing. The music speaks to your body. There is nothing like a great conversation. Sometimes there's a lack in new music, so you have to find something old to bring up the energy. When the music is pumping the class is pumping also. Good lyrics help also. Most of the time people don't play much attention to lyrics, but if you do, you want to hear something positive and uplifting. Not degrading and corrupt.
AMOEBLOG: What are your (personal) top five all time favorite albums?
COREY ACTION: Top Favorite Albums….Hmmm, I'm a Gemini, so these are the ones that are on top today:
1. Prince - 1999
2. Kina - Kina
3. Aaliyah - Aaliyah
4. Corey Action - Time 4 Some Action
5. Missy - Under Construction
There many more but you only asked for 5 …!
AMOEBLOG: You mentioned your own album in there, whose title I noticed is also the motto you use to encourage people to dance at your studio. I believe you also have a new album coming out in the near future?
COREY ACTION: Yes, and feel free to interview me again about my new CD - 120. I'm releasing it on
January 08. I think you'll like it. For more info, click here for Corey's.MySpace.
New Style Motherlode Dance Studios is located at 5451 College Ave., Oakland CA 94610 (510-597-1056). For more info online about the studio and Corey check out the following websites:
Thanks to Corey for supplying most of the pictures and to Brady (Bay Area Crew) for assistance in this report.