At Nude Floor, self-expression is the only requisite
There’s a lot of underlying pressure in self-expression.
When we think about it, Instagram started off as a platform for individuals to share their interests, or even their identities, to the world. Today, it’s turned into a portfolio-meets-business platform with an intermittent sprinkling of humor and OOTDs. Even the realms of makeup and fashion have become a little less self-expression springboard and more marked territory. Even these spaces, while lauded for creativity and freedom, can be shrouded in a thick fog of ridicule and side-eyes and Diet Prada.
With so many watchful eyes, authenticity gets harder and harder to come by. Since when was it such a challenge to be true to ourselves?
Over at Nude Floor, a decidedly stripped-down dance studio in Makati, channeling that truth is the name of the game. I’ll admit: there was a steady beat of nervousness running through my system when I showed up to a sit-in dancehall session––partially because I haven’t danced in a hot minute and mostly because Nude Floor’s Instagram makes everything look so… professional. No, scratch that: it just looks so artistic, which made me question whether I deserved to be in the class at all.
“It’s a space to simply move, breathe and feel,
whether you're a beginner or an experienced dancer,
or someone who just wants to move more.”
–Shayna Cua, owner at Nude Floor
Thankfully, my fears were unfounded. There’s something electric about the energy at Nude Floor.
|In their intimate dance space, the perfect size for a class of 20, feeling comes first. Here, nailing sharp and soft and fluid takes a backseat so that emotion is coaxed out to play. It's frank. It's freeing. Most of all, it's really fucking fun.
At present, Nude Floor serves up a roster of 10 different dance styles. Spanning from contemporary to vogue to yoga and meditation, co-owner Shayna Cua expresses, “We wanted to provide classes that are beginner-friendly and inclusive, and at the same time educate the students about the history of dance, its contribution to culture or even how it’s most of the time a reflection of the society, past or present.”
Ahead, we talk to one of Nude Floor’s founding forces, Shayna Cua about the craft, the creative space they’ve built, and the importance of collaboration.
Wonder: Tell us the story of Nude Floor’s beginnings. Why did you decide to put up a dance studio, and why now?
Shayna: Nude Floor was born out of our love for the arts—first my love for dance, then music and visual art. We started with the space: we wanted Nude Floor to be a space that anyone can transform according to their own vision, where they can express themselves and feel connected with their identity and the community. The creative scene in Manila is growing––it’s already here, we have amazing artists and we want to provide a platform for them to thrive, create, share and collaborate.
W: A quick skim through your Instagram tells us that collaboration plays a large part in Nude Floor’s philosophy.
Shayna: That’s correct. From the beginning, we really wanted to make it clear that Nude Floor is a place for the community to come together and share their passion, their craft, and maybe in the process create some of their best work. Collaboration in the different mediums of art to bridge gaps in the industry.
Images c/o Nude Floor
Recently we've incorporated live music (featuring DJs) in some sessions and have had collaboration classes with the faculty combining two dance styles together. We also have #nudefloorsessions wherein we encourage different artists (videographers, dancers, musicians, set directors) to come up with content for everyone to just enjoy and appreciate.
W: There are a number of studios across the Metro specializing in dances like ballet and hip-hop, but Nude Floor has classes we haven’t seen anywhere else. How did you decide which classes to include in Nude Floor’s roster?
Shayna: Dance is more than just the specialised techniques that we teach. It is also about individuality and movement, and that’s what we want to nurture and advance. We wanted to provide classes that are beginner friendly and inclusive, at the same time educate the students about the history of dance, its contribution to culture or even how it’s most of the time a reflection of the society, past or present. We want to provide a space for release, thus we wanted Nude Floor to be a non-intimidating environment, somewhat even healing. This is why we include yoga and meditation classes: to create a balance between physical, mental and emotional health. It’s a space to simply move, breathe and feel, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced dancer, or someone who just wants to move more.
W: Is there a difference in how the various genres of dance are taught? Does the number of students allowed per class vary?
Shayna: We have about 10 different dance styles (description of classes for the various styles being offered attached). The instructors themselves are all artists on their own, so their teaching styles vary. Some will teach choreography incorporating techniques learnt in class, some teach drills, some have jam sessions. Each class is always different each week.
We try to limit our students because the space isn’t that big and we want everyone to have enough breathing space. All classes are capped at 20 students.
W: Are there certain qualifications you look for when recruiting the instructors for each class?
Shayna: Foundations are essential in the art of learning how to dance so I looked for the experts in our industry that could teach that. Besides having the passion for their craft, our faculty have had years of experience and thorough training.
It was also important that they share the same mindset with our vision of wanting to build a community of artists to collaborate and share. It’s also important that they create a safe teaching environment whose priority is students to feel comfortable and connected—or simply just come out of class feeling good.
Image c/o Nude Floor
W: What is next for Nude Floor?
Shayna: Ever since we opened almost two months ago, we’ve received a lot of positive feedback, from both our beginner students and artists. We’ll definitely be adding more classes and looking at how we can introduce more mediums: music and art. We’re also doing events and more collaborations, and really just help our artists have a platform where they are able to be themselves and share their work.
A lot of the plans are still and will always be towards building our community. We want to produce work for artists—produce shows, host exhibitions, etc. For now, those are the main focus, but of course, we’re only 1% there. There’s much to do, much to accomplish, so stay tuned!
Follow Nude Floor on Instagram for rates, schedules and announcements! See you on the dance floor.
Art Alexandra Lara
Images c/o Nude Floor