Jun 25, 2024

A Farewell Message from Tariq

A message from Tariq

Hello marvelous DC community!

You may not know who I am, or you may have taken one (or many) of my classes over the years, but it’s Tariq here. <3 <3

Hundreds, and I mean HUNDREDS, of heartwarming memories flood my system when I reflect on Dance Church. 22-year-old me never thought I’d experience 7 years of dancing with hundreds of beautiful, sweaty beings sharing so many moments of reciprocal joy. I’ve led over 200 Dance Church classes around the country, and on your screens, and I am grateful for every single one of them, as the impact this community has had will last a lifetime. I’ve gained many skills, and have grown so much as a person and artist, and it’s deeply rooted in my time with DC and all the people I’ve had the honor of being in space with. 

I share from a deep well of love that I have decided to step away from Dance Church, with my last class being Sunday, July 7th, at 10 a.m. at Century Ballroom. (I’ll also lead Tuesday, June 25th, and Tuesday, July 2nd, at 6 p.m.)

I’ve always been a performance artist, studying theater for most of my upbringing and beginning dance at 16, receiving training in mainly euro-centric techniques. I had only been dancing for 6 years when I took my first DC class, and the connection to durational, natural embodied movement felt unlike anything before in my education. I felt tapped into my spirit—almost the humanity behind dance—and I’d never done that with 60+ people in a room.

I quickly became obsessed after my first class in 2016, and later relocated to Seattle to dance for Katherine professionally (Katherine is my nickname for Kate Wallich. For those who don’t know, it’s her real name). In the early fall of ’17, I was invited to learn how to lead DC classes because I had “the right energy,” Katherine said, alongside stars, legends, queens, and goddesses: Alethea Alexander, Karl Watson, Alyson Jax, Thomas House, and Lavinia Vago. <3 <3 <3 

I’ll never forget the original DC training. A singular 6-hour session where Katherine explained the entire class format while chaotically playing different Drake, Rihanna, Fifth Harmony, and Carly Rae Jepson songs and dancing around, saying, “It’s like this, you know?”

My first DC class was a couple of months later, on a Sunday morning when 145 of you came to move the space. <3 <3 <3 I’ve carried my first leading experience in every class I’ve taught since, not to recreate that exact moment or memory but to capture the seed of energy and magic that sprouted within me that day. Dance Church became a home for my vessel to be in community with others. What I would later realize is that this home evolved into much more. My love for movement and music deepened, and I learned to lead space and care for others. It became an outlet for my emotional self, a base layer of my identity, and a place where lifelong friendships and relationships would develop.

I originally wrote too much (because a lot has happened over the past 7 years) and this blog started to feel like an autobiography. Instead, I highlighted a handful of favorites: memories, shoutouts, oddities, and a few things I want to mention about my time with DC, in no particular order…

  • The SEA and NYC communities <3 <3 <3 forever and ever
  • Tommy’s intro speeches to DCGO classes 
  • The online content DC teachers made...
  • My first Lavinia Vago DC in 2018 <3 
  • Saturday morning classes in Kawasaki in 2018 (I WILL ALWAYS LOVE DAYLIGHT DANCE CHURCH THE MOST!) 
  • Meeting Andrew McShea, my boyfriend, and the love of my life, in class in NYC in 2019 
  • Filming Laura Carella’s DCGO Teacher Content series “LOL”
  • My first DCGO class in 2020, where we danced with 3,000+ people <3 
  • The various sound systems at dance spaces across the country 
  • Anytime Dominica Greene and I were in a room together
  • Dance for All Bodies <3
  • The first time I saw two people hold hands during daydream <3 
  • Creating the official training program for teachers, and later building a scalable, virtual training program for teachers, alongside Alethea <3
  • The heart stamp we used when checking folks in pre-covid <3 
  • The Nordstrom Zella Partnership in 2021 <3
  • That moment in Hype when we finally get to thrash on the ground insert fire emoji 
  • Working as the program manager for DC and co-leading the partnership program with Lavi <3 
  • Leading the first Volunteer Park IRL class in Seattle in 2022, where over 400 people attended
  • NYE class in 2018 with Amateur Hour 
  • “The Black Out” & “Curveballs” (ask your guide about these next time you’re taking class)
  • Leading the first NYC pop-up series in the summer of 2018 at Mark Morris <3 
  • The Spotify Algorithm
  • Holding my first in-person IRL training sessions with Kinè, Andy, Michael, Sally, Emily, and Cody <3
  • Angela Garbes and Libby Watson’s guttural screams of joy 
  • The PDX community! Hometown represents <3 
  • Filming 25+ videos for training materials in 1.5 days
  • The back-pack of lights in the teacher's lounge at Mark Morris (NYC TEAM, IYKYK)
  • Dance Church-related stress dreams (I don’t know if I’ll miss these or not yet…)
  • #1 Turkey Queen (Maya Tacon)
  • #2 Turkey Princess (Carlin Kramer) 
  • Katherine’s obsession with taking photos of teachers
  • The DCGO “wardrobe closet” (some of my cutest and most haunting outfits in one place)
  • My dog Theo is Dance Church’s mascot 
  • NYC classes of 2019, where 5–20 of us would thrash around in different dance spaces throughout the city
  • Wild rave remixes forever <3 
  • Every person I’ve ever met or danced with through DC and DCGO <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

My 30th year around the sun is approaching, and I’m reflecting on most aspects of my life. Maybe it’s my Saturn return? Regardless, what’s been prominent is: who am I as an artist, and how does movement feed my practice, and performance?

This question has led me to step away from the organization - to understand and redefine how/what movement exists in my body. I will always believe in the power of collective dance for healing and transformation, and Dance Church’s values lie in harmony. I want to go on a new 7-year journey with dance that continues to unlock my potential, and my connection to others, expand my artistic abilities and the work I produce while investing in new communities, and continue to spread the importance of dance, movement, and performance as a means of liberation. 

Thank you for joining me on this wild journey. <3 <3 <3 I could not have imagined my life without DC and the precious community, and I’m forever grateful for every experience. I’ve felt so supported and cared for, and I hope you all felt the same about me. You’ll still see me dancing in classes, and coming together to support the teachers as artists outside of the Dance Church lens. 

I cannot emphasize enough my gratitude for being part of such a special community. If you hold on to anything from me, please let it be the same spark of magic I experienced my first time taking and leading DC. <3 AND, I’ve put every song I’ve ever used in an IRL class into my Teacher Spotify Playlist. This way, we will always be connected through memories of dancing to this music, together. 

Watch Tariq's Farewell Reel

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