Student Blog: Hope Boykin redefines expectations

April 12, 2016

By Celine Kiner

Hope Boykin began class with a simple warm-up combination, a brief description of her technique style (which she described as contemporary Horton) and a smile. Before she asked the class to begin, she turned to us for a moment.

“Oh, and one more thing,” she laughed. “I’m completely bananas.”

She wasn’t joking. We all laughed, but we knew she was right. And we absolutely loved it. Hope’s type of crazy is the same type as ours, and every single one of us was beaming by the end of the first combination. Not only was she hilarious, she was an absolutely amazing dancer with ideals that lined up perfectly with our own.

You have to set the standard,” she told us. Her emphasis was on individuality, that each of us had our own abilities to give and that each of us were perfect the way we were. We still had to work hard, though, of course. And work hard we did in her class–my hamstrings and obliques were sore as ever the next day from all of the laterals.

Her class was fast paced in a motivating and flowing sort of structure; she led us through the basics of Horton but wove her own flair into each combination, sometimes demanding that we smile for three counts (with teeth!) and always making sure our alignment was healthy and safe.

Hope fit right into the Kaufman family– we didn’t want class to end, but when it did, we sat down for a brief discussion period. Her every word made us love her more, as she spoke to us about making the most of what we had and pushing ourselves to be our best.

“If the ideal doesn’t fit your body, it doesn’t make you bad,” she explained. “It makes you incredibly special in that area, that you have to stand next to him who is naturally gifted, but you should never be afraid to stand next to him.”

This was definitely an idea we had heard before, but something about the way Hope put it seemed to click with each of us. Her visit raised our morale to an entirely new degree, stressing that each of us was uniquely special in our own talents and reminding us that the important part was the passion.

“Do you ever get frustrated with dancing?” one of us asked.

“I don’t always like it, but I always love it,” she returned.