Name: Ricardo Mesina, hip-hop Dance instructor, Z Company Arts, Monroe; Cincy Dance Studio, Madeira
Training: Primarily self-taught; started a hip-hop dance crew in college
Teaches: 5 classes per week (Mondays, teen and adult hip-hop, Cincy Dance Studio; Wednesdays, youth hip-hop, Z Company Arts)
Why hip-hop? I grew up in the ’80s, watching Michael Jackson and MC Hammer. That’s my foundation. Hip-hop is always evolving, always staying ahead of the curve.
A dance routine can mean learning some complex-looking sequences, and I’ve got two left feet. Get me out on the floor. A lot of people tell me they can’t dance and I just don’t believe that. If you can learn the first and the last steps, everything in between is…whatever, that’s cool, that’s a start. In dance, your mind has to be ahead of your body, but once you get it, your body develops a muscle memory. I start with a groove class, which is a basic two-step. Then it’s about getting comfortable with a move before moving on. It’s not something you can learn in a day, but dance is like any sport. You learn the basics and keep practicing.
So it’s a workout for body and brain. There’s a reason why the adult hip-hop class at Cincy Dance Studio is on Monday night. You forget about everything else.
What’s your soundtrack? I listen to hip-hop, but a lot of the songs right now aren’t danceable, they’re more hard-hitting. I prefer to teach songs that have a story to tell. “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars is a very danceable song; it’s upbeat and easy to choreograph.
“When I’m not dancing…”I’m a graphic designer at the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.
Versace First Idol leather high-tops, $1,075, Saks Fifth Avenue; Original Crew Tee, $30, BlackOwned; Men’s Jogger Sweatpant, $90, Victor Athletics; denim jacket and fedora his own
Photograph by Aaron M. Conway / All hair & make-up by Phillip Nathaniel Saunders