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Want to Dance Like Tina Turner? 'Proud Mary' Class Will Get You Rollin'

By Patty Wetli | January 10, 2014 7:50am
Dance Like Tina Turner
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DNAinfo/Jackie Kostek

NORTH CENTER — Enough with the twerking. It's time to bring back go-go.

As part of instructor Kaara Kallen's personal mission to get more people shaking their booty on a regular basis, she will be teaching a "Dance Like Tina Turner" class on Sunday at the Perceptual Motion Dance Studio in North Center.

A member of the dance troupe The Revelettes — "Chicago's grooviest go-go gals" — Kallen has a special affinity for the rhythmic moves of the late 1960s and '70s, particularly as practiced by Turner and the Ikettes.

"Her videos are just mesmerizing," Kallen said of Turner. "There's so much exuberance. They're having so much fun. It's not overly technical. It's like just the joy of moving your body."

 Kaara Kallen on stage with The Revelettes.
Kaara Kallen on stage with The Revelettes.
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Pamela Paul

During the 1-1/2-hour class, Kallen will run through classic Turner-esque moves, culminating in a choreographed dance to "Proud Mary."

"People really seem to respond to the song," she said. "The energy just goes through the roof."

Kallen is quick to point out that no previous dance experience is required to get rollin', rollin', rollin' down the river.

"I think everyone can dance," she said.

Case in point: Kallen herself, who has no formal dance training.

"Maybe when I was like 6 I took a ballet class," said Kallen, who turned 40 in December and recently moved from Irving Park to Logan Square.

The petite blonde grew up in Chicago and Evanston, but only began to channel her inner hoofer when she headed west to attend the University of California-Berkeley.

She took up step classes for fitness and quickly graduated to studying Capoeira, a Brazilian form of martial arts that incorporates dance and acrobatics.

"There were a bunch of reasons I wanted to do it, but dance wasn't one of them," she said. "It turned out what I loved were the rhythms and dance elements. Dance just became part of my identity."

Kallen, an education editor and writer by trade, returned to Chicago in 2004 with her newfound creative streak intact.

In addition to forming The Revelettes more than seven years ago, she also founded Wallflower Power workshops as a way of sharing her love of dance with those more reluctant to show off their moves, or lack thereof.

"It's for people that are sick of standing on the side," Kallen said. "They're ready to take the leap and need some guidance."

Part of the problem, she said, is that "dancing is all about body awareness" and too few people flex those muscles as part of their daily life.

"Dancing is lacking in mainstream white culture. I didn't grow up with it at all," she said. "One of the things I tell people is practice shaking your butt while you're brushing your teeth, while you're cleaning."

The benefits could have far-reaching implications, she said.

"Our nation would be a happier place if it were a dancier place."

"Dance Like Tina Turner" is scheduled for 2-3:30 p.m., Sunday, 4057 N. Damen Ave. Sign up via Dabble; the cost is $25.