Take a break from the surf to strike a pose.

The Beach Sessions Dance Series returns to Rockaway on Monday, Aug. 19, and runs through Thursday, Aug. 22.

Previous editions have featured plein-air choreography with the ocean in the background and viewers on all sides (see below), but this fifth version has a new format. Artists will give dance classes at Low Tide Bar, which is a boardwalk concession at Beach 97th Street. In a nod to the past, all the teachers ─ including Ephrat Asherie, Biba Bell, Dance Church, Omri Drumlevich, Cori Krege, Loni Landon, and Karma Stylz ─ have performed during previous Beach Sessions.

The classes are for all ages and experience levels with a free-will offering. (In other words, people pay what they wish.) They can pre-register or walk-in.

Here’s the schedule:

  • Monday, Aug. 19, 11 a.m., Landon leads a Contemporary class. The focus is on visceral movement to challenge the body to push for new ideas in mental and physical approaches. It incorporates improvisation, imagery and investigation of each individual’s natural way of moving.
  • Monday, Aug. 19, 12:30 p.m., Asherie teaches House. This class introduces students to several foundational elements of the style, including footwork and approach.
  • Tuesday, Aug. 20, 11 a.m., Drumlevich gives Gaga classes. Based on a movement language invented by a former Martha Graham dancer, Gaga is a procession of instructions to get participants to connect mentally to their bodies and imaginations, improve flexibility and increase stamina.
  • Tuesday, Aug. 20, 12:30 p.m., an instructor will guide a 90-minute fitness class known as “Dance Church.” Designed for people of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds and identities, Dance Church involves a series of movement cues, accompanied by a curated playlist of multi-genre pop music. Most people go barefoot.
  • Wednesday, Aug. 21, 11 a.m., Krege offers Accessing Zero. With live music accompaniment, this class playfully incorporates ancient Buddhist wisdom, Zero Balancing energy work, ecstatic dance, and meditative stillness. It’s a search for the tangible meaning of Zero.
  • Wednesday, Aug. 21, 12:30 p.m., Stylz teaches the essentials of voguing. Though made popular by Madonna in the 1990s, the highly expressive Vogue genre was born and nurtured in the NYC LGBT community in the 1920s. It had its heyday during the House scene in the 1980s.
  • Thursday, Aug. 22, 11 a.m., Bell presents an experimental “Inner Surf Outer Turf” class. From the pier to the sand to the sea, participants transform in the movement across surfaces, textures, bodies and beach zones. Together, they get sweaty, sandy and salty.

Established in 2015, Beach Sessions is a multi-partner effort to present dance in Rockaway. In addition to producing performances, the group organizes beach cleanup efforts.

Public transportation to the Low Tide Bar is tricky these days. Travelers can take the Far Rockaway-bound A train, transfer to the S shuttle at Broad Channel, and take it to Beach 98th Street. From there it’s a short walk.

Those who ride the NYC Ferry to Beach 108th Street can walk to Beach 97th Street on the boardwalk in about 10 minutes.

Images: Beach Sessions (top); Elizabeth Holzer (bottom)

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Rockaway gets ready for two Saturdays of sun, surf, sand and dance sessions
Rockaway gets ready for two Saturdays of sun, surf, sand and dance sessions


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