Women’s History Month is a time to commemorate and acknowledge those who have paved the way. It is also a time to empower young rising stars who have undeniable passion, drive, and talent.
Tazz Bentley is among the rising stars. She is a dancer who is unapologetic about her craft and what that looks like to anyone else. Her tenacity got her fired-up in 2018 when she founded and launched Entice by Tazz – pop-up dance classes that she hosts several times a month in studios across Minnesota.
She describes her dance style as a blend of hip-hop, Zumba, sensual, low and high impact moves that inspire individuals to not only move their bodies, but to love and embrace them as well.
For as long as she can remember she’s been dancing … her first dance recital was held at Richfield Community Center. She was five years old. She then trained at Hollywood Studio of Dance in Minneapolis for several years.
As a student at St. Michael Middle School, she realized there were no extracurricular activities that inspired young girls of color. It was for that reason she founded the school’s first step team and began performing and representing the school at events and talent shows. In college she continued to refine her craft by dancing every chance she could find between classes and late at night.
Dance is where she found peace, creativity, and solitude.
“At a young age, I allowed others' opinions to consume me,” admits Bentley. “I was insecure about my body, my looks, and even the way I spoke. The one thing that brought me joy was dance, and no one could tell me I couldn't dance.”
Since 2018, Bentley has evoked the love of movement in hundreds of men and women, while empowering them to freely move their bodies to melodies and musical beats. This style of dance is sexy, it burns calories, but, it sort of tricks the brain into believing it’s not exercise.
Bentley works to ensure men and women of all ages that they are their own kind of beautiful. She believes music and movement not only connects us to our bodies, but also to our ancestors.
“I’ve been dancing my whole entire life, it is the one thing I’ve always felt comfortable doing. When my parents told me to go to college, I did. When they told me to get a job, I did. But, I wasn’t comfortable in any job I held. My passion was relentless, and it called to me. The law of attraction was clearly at play, and before I knew it, I was teaching dance full time, every second of my day.”
Entice by Tazz was created to inspire women to embrace their inner goddess and their femininity simply by moving their bodies.
“Dance enables you to find yourself and lose yourself at the same time. It is amazing how sensual and free one can feel just by moving their body,” said the dance artist. “Fast or slow paced, with or without heels, you can conquer any song or dance. Being sexy is about more than how you look. It is about how you feel. It's being comfortable in your own skin and challenging ideals and what you believe sexy looks like. I encourage individuals to challenge their own capabilities on the dance floor. Every choreographed piece is created to empower kings and queens to embrace their very own royalty."
This past February, Bentley walked into the fifth-floor dance studio at the Cowles Center for Arts in downtown Minneapolis; her heart was beating fast, she’d been trying to calm her nerves most of the day. These days were both exciting and filled with anxiety. She knew her first students would be waiting with great anticipation. Not one of them were to leave disappointed. That was always her goal, and that caused slight anxiety.
She arrived a half hour early, and the class was already half full. Several people were on the floor stretching, some were on their phones, others were simply excited for what they knew would be an invigorating and electrifying experience. They all smiled when their instructor arrived. There was laughter in the air … there was community.
At 6 p.m. Bentley stood boldly before her students who she now calls the Queens and Kings of Entice. Although only 5’2” the 3-inch heeled boots empowered her stance, her presence was bold and magnetic.
The class was at capacity. You could hear a pin drop when her voice covered the perimeter of the studio. “Welcome to Entice by Tazz. Tonight’s class is not about looking or dancing exactly like me. It is about being comfortable with your own body and embracing who you are and being confident,” she said. “Just slay, be sexy … your own kind of sexy.”
The Queens and Kings of Entice were exuberant. They felt it, and immediately they didn’t compare themselves to the person next to them, insecurities floated through the ceiling and out of the room. In that moment, they were just as honored to be in the room as she was to have them there. This was about transferring love, acceptance and the power of dance to those who were bold enough to receive it.
At the end of the class, Bentley high-fived everyone, posed for photos, and just like most evenings, she was off and running to yet another dance rehearsal.
This narration was delivered with the unique perspective of a mother, De’Vonna Pittman, being able to speak to her daughter’s journey of self-discovery and triumph. To learn more about Tazz Bentley go to www.TazzBentley.com.