August 2012 | 2 Tips for Hip-Hop Teachers | Bye-Bye, Ballet

By Geo Hubela

Tip 1
One of the fundamentals of ballet is turnout, but with hip-hop, it’s turning in. Keep students focused on keeping their toes pointed forward with feet parallel, hips turned in, and the body squared. Hip-hop students should do the opposite of many of the fundamentals they use in ballet class. For students who are trained ballet dancers, this is a huge challenge. I keep it simple and tell students to do everything they are told not to do in ballet!

Tip 2
Take that good posture and throw it away. In hip-hop, the posture is rounded, hunched, and low. Much of the movement will be bending, dropping, and pressing into the ground instead of being lifted. In ballet and jazz, the body is elongated and stretched, and in hip-hop it is the opposite. Tell the dancers not to be fooled—strength and force are necessary to make their movement look crisp and sharp. Tell them to get down and earthy, taking their moves into the ground.