Fun fact about me: I get motion sickness very easily. (Almost too easily.) Put me in a moving vehicle and, within seconds, I'm a sweaty, dry-heaving mess. So why, in god's name, would I ever agree to get on a plane and fly 15 hours across the world — from New York City to Hong Kong (that's 8,040 miles, for reference), where there's a 100 percent chance I'll fall ill to unwavering turbulence? Because Ariana Grande asked me to. Here, my journey to conquering Hong Kong in 84 hours — all in the name of one certain Dangerous Woman.
Two weeks ago, when news of the 24-year-old singer's new Reebok partnership was announced (she joined the ranks of fellow faces of the athletic brand Gigi Hadid, Aly Raisman, and Future), less than 24 hours after the announcement had initially hit my inbox, I was invited to celebrate with the star — in Hong Kong, no less — a mere four days later. Crazy? Absolutely. Was I going? Hell yes, I was. How could I possibly say no? Short answer: I couldn't. "It's Hong Kong," I thought, "...with Ariana Grande." There was no way I letting this ship sail without me.
Fast forward to last Monday morning, when I boarded a 15-hour international flight to hang with Ari. (After my short time with the star, I've learned all of her closest friends call her "Ari." So, naturally, since we're now close friends — ha! — I, too, shall refer to my popstar BFF as Ari.) For those concerned about my aforementioned motion sickness issue, first of all, thank you for caring, and second, I ended up packing enough Dramamine to last a lifetime, so all was (relatively) well during the cross-country trek. (Days later, when I hopped on a traditional Chinese junk boat to sightsee with the Reebok team, well, that's a completely different — and quite hellish, actually — story.)
Upon arrival in Asia (I'm sorry, I still can't believe I was actually in Asia!!), I was given a loose itinerary, which had a large portion of my second day in Hong Kong devoted to spending time with the star. The tentative plan was to sit in on a panel led by Grande, in which she chatted about everything from fashion (she describes her personal style as "quirky with a beautiful twist," thanks to her stylist Law Roach) to inclusivity (she wants her to use her newfound platform with Reebok to encourage everyone to feel comfortable in their own skin) to dancing on stage with her real-life BFFs (her closest friends also happen to be her choreographers). And then, following the panel, we'd take a dance class led by — wait for it — Grande herself, in which we'd learn a few of her signature stage moves from her current Dangerous Woman tour. (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
So, let's skip the charades and just dive right into the important stuff: the dance class. Before I publicly embarrass myself with photographic evidence of attempting the art of dance, allow me to just quickly sum up my dance skills for you: ...I don't have any. Put me on a treadmill, a spin bike, hell, throw me into a pool (I'd actually rather you not, though, as I'm kind of a sensitive swimmer), and I'll do the damn thing with beauty, grace, Miss United States. But ... dancing? God, I'm a hot fucking mess on the dance floor. It probably also doesn't help that my hand-eye coordination is complete shit, but I digress. In the name of journalism and future cool conversation topics, I proudly sucked up my lack of skills for the very rare opportunity to "bust a move" (yikes, that was just as cheesy as I'd imagined it to be) with a popstar.
For the class, Grande and her IRL twin choreographers, Brian and Scott Nicholson, selected the song "Be Alright," which, to be honest, I hadn't heard prior to learning its accompanying dance moves. (But now that I'm a glorified Ari stan, I truly cannot stop listening — I love this song!) Brian led the class, first warming us up with a few dynamic stretches, and then Grande eventually got us to the good stuff — the moves. Let me be clear, these were very easy moves — Vogueing, swaying, arm-raising, etc. — and, at the time of the class, I caught on to most of them on time without extra guidance. (Ari walked through the crowd a few times to check in on our moves and casually told me, "Nice job!" at one point, so I knew I had nailed it.)
But now, now that I'm trying to explain how simple the choreography was, I can't! I truly can't remember the moves. See, I told you I was a terrible dancer. Rule one of dancing, which I'm guessing isn't actually a rule at all, is remembering the moves ... and I've already failed. Luckily, the Internet is a beautiful place (most of the time), and magical things like this dance tutorial exist, which includes a helpful how-to on all of the moves I so thoughtfully forgot. (Oops.)
Minimal photography/video content was taken during the "class," so I only have the few photos above to show for it, but let me just say: Based on my short time with the singer, I can 100 percent attest to her talents being the real deal. In between moves, she'd sing on a cappella, in lieu of a background track, while showing off the next step, and just ... damn. Those pipes! That voice! Her dancing was pretty spot-on, too. It's like she does this on a daily basis or something...
It's now a full week later, and I still can't believe I flew across the damn country to dance with Ariana Grande. The entire experience was just so incredibly surreal (and I'll forever be grateful for the one-of-a-kind experience). Now, though, the next time I decide to dance with Ari, I'll keep it domestic and flip on "Be Alright" at home — no Dramamine required.
More on Ariana Grande:
- Ariana Grande on Releasing Her New M.A.C. Collection and How She Puts Her Lipstick On
- Ariana Grande May Have Just Teased a New Perfume
- Ariana Grande Looks AMAZING as a Blonde
Now, check out these three workout moves you can do in the office: