‘Zip your kitty up!’ A workshop with famed choreographer Diddi Emah


Edidiong “Diddi” Emah, a choreographer for artists such as Fifth Harmony, Ciara, Usher, TInashe, and Jennifer Lopez, lead a 90 minute workshop to learn a heels dance in the Student Union Ballroom. (Olivia Stenger/The Daily Campus)

About 30 University of Connecticut girls were guided on how to bring out their “inner sexy” through dance during the first part of the two-night Deciphering Love, Sex, Relationships, & Sexuality event.

Choreographer Edidiong “Diddi” Emah, who has worked with artists such as JLo, Usher, Fifth Harmony, Ciara and more, lead us all through a sensual choreo, encouraging and motivating us to be confident in who we are while releasing all inhibitions along the way.

Before dancing, students warmed up with songs from Beyoncé’s newest album “Lemonade,” which was sure to hype up anyone and make them feel good about themselves. She taught us how to move our legs and point our toes, “not like a ratchet girl, but like a sexy one.”

After stretching and moving our muscles only to realize how stiff we all were, Diddi made everyone grab a chair and a partner. She told us to choose who would be partner one and partner two, and after much hesitation, I chose to be partner one.

She gave us thorough instruction as to what would happen, and we were all thrown for a loop. Partner one had to sit on the chair as though they were receiving a lap dance, and partner two had to climb on top and “sharpen our pencils” (also known as “twerk”) upside down in their face. This went on for about a half hour, and girls were either struggling to use their upper bodies to flip upside down or flipping with ease as though they had walked into a class for novices. No matter what the skill level was, every girl had smiles on their faces from laughing and enjoying themselves.

After making us all feel like acrobats, she taught us how to walk in a line, as though “our kitties were zipped all the way up from our hips to our chest,” encouraging us to walk with our chins high, our hips moving and our confidence leading the way.

We got in lines of four and practiced freestyle and posing to get a hold of how we expressed ourselves and add to the choreo. She played “Murder She Wrote” by Chaka Demus & Pliers, a smooth and feel-good sound to help us find our style.

Once she felt that we all had our “kitties zipped up,” she had us practice the routine from the top to “Work” by Fifth Harmony, only one of the numerous groups whom she has worked with closely. The dance turned out wonderfully, and even Diddi herself who was making fun of our sloppy efforts was clapping with joy and screaming “yaass!” at the end.

The second part of the night was more personal, as she sat down on stage and held a Q&A session. She talked about how she began dancing, all the way to her experience with dating artists and others in the industry.

One of the participants asked, “What is one of the most important things you have taken away from dancing with celebrities?” Diddi answered, “A lot of girls give ‘it’ up for artists, and it’s obvious that they do it to get places. I shut people down to make sure people know I’m working hard and getting places because of my talent and not what is between my legs.”

She said that the most important thing to do throughout life in general is to “stay true to who you are. Do not demean yourself to climb to the top. Let your success take you there instead.”

Overall, the dance night was a success.

“I felt completely out of character but inspired. I would recommend this to anyone,” said fifth-semester elementary education major Anne Demerville.

Ashley Holmes, a first-semester allied health major said that Diddi was “likable and relatable. She made a class that usually would make people feel out of place more enjoyable.”

These girls are ready for the second part of Deciphering Love, Sex, Relationships, & Sexuality. Diddi truly left a positive impact on these girls through her funny and engaging personality.

Gabrielle Ferrell is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at gabrielle.ferrell@uconn.edu. 

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