Dance Class with Toni aka @Ladyy_Papa

I spent my Saturday sliding across the dance floor with Toni, AKA Ladyy Pappa while testing myself in every way possible. I am by no means a “dancer” but I love to dance. Secretly, Providence, Rhode Island (& greater New England) is home to tons of talented dancers & Toni is making her way to the forefront with style & grace.

I have no faith that’s I’ll be able to dance like Toni or any of the folks in that class, but they’d never let you know it. “And we’re motivating!!!!” Someone would yell as the track started over from the top. If the dance moves don’t stick, the good vibes will. “I need you to fix you face,” she told me & we all bust out laughing. “I know you’re trying, but your face says youre thinking about what you look like. You might have to worry about that everywhere else, but not here. We want you to be comfortable here. Yes?” I was official on the spot & I appreciate it to my core.

I showed up late for class because I had driven down from NYC. Instead of kicking me out, or shaming me,Toni walked me through the steps and rest of the class was incredibly patient. Honestly, I was scared to hold them up because most of them were actual dancers... like.... you can tell they breathe this. The BEST part about them was the energy, though. They didn’t make me feel like I was as garbage as I actually am 🤷🏽‍♀️😂😂

It felt like Toni was putting her trust in me... it felt like... I had to work for her. She was working hard to make up the dance, book the spot & teach the moves with incredible patience, so the least I could do was try with my whole heart. Admittedly, I was trying to follow her, but she would walk away so I would have no one to lean on. I really appreciated that she encouraged, pressured, supported and taught me all at the same time.

Rhode Island is small in the sense that if you make waves, they’ll be noticed. Toni had popped up on my Instagram and I took me months (if not a year) to slide in her DMs. As I think about ways to I vest in and improve. Self & my music, the standard things come to mind - a choreographer, a make up artist, stylist. Make up artists are easier to find & I prefer to dress myself so that left me looking for a choreographer. I’ve been hanging on for as long as possible without dance moves 😩😂 not only is Toni talented, but she has amazing/ positive vibes & she’s from home!?!?!!

It was SO MUCH FUN to dance with everyone and share a positive, healthy, judgement free space. I left that class feeling happier with myself for just trying. I respect everyone in that room and am simply amazed at the personality everyone brings to the floor. During the drill/practice sessions, it was funnest to watch everyone dance & see how they took Toni’s moves and made them their own. It was also nice to know I wasnt the only first timer. 🤗 I felt free in that space, and for that reason, I‘ll support whatever Toni & her team are doing.

If you’re in Rhode Island and looking for a dance class — or on Earth & looking for a dancer — check out Toni, she’s totally worth the time & the vibe 💃🏽