November 2013 | 2 Tips for Hip-Hop Teachers | Build a Foundation

By Geo Hubela

Tip 1
Sometimes hip-hop steps are right, but how they’re being done is wrong. If the foundations (such as popping and locking) and technique (such as isolations and contractions) are lacking, the steps will never look right or funky. Students need to connect with the music and translate it through movement.

Start progressions with a simple walk—no instructions, just tell your students to walk. Use a song with a moderate, funky beat. Ask a dancer who connects with the music and puts style into the movement to demonstrate.

Drive home the foundations of hip-hop so that your dancers can incorporate it into movement, even something as simple as a walk.


Tip 2
Get creative with progressions and add a new challenge after every exercise. After the basic walk, instruct dancers to move without lifting their feet. If they glide and wave, it should be easy. Can they glide or wave?

In many studios, I see that dancers are given hip-hop and commercial-style choreography without understanding where the movement comes from. Ballet dancers don’t do pirouettes without knowing what a passé or relevé is—why should hip-hop training be any different?