By Geo Hubela
Sometimes counts alone are not enough when it comes to finding musicality in a routine. Hip-hop routines are usually beat-heavy and accented, less fluid than lyrical or contemporary. To help students hear the beats and accents I am hitting in my choreography, I teach them the beats and then have them clap them. This exercise is useful in getting dancers to hit the choreography on time. Learn the rhythms and then dance to them.
Having students partner up and dance while facing each other after learning a routine is very useful. Many dancers become too dependent on a mirror. Facing each other presents a challenge—to go in the direction they were taught and not follow the dancer they’re looking at. My hip-hop choreography tends to have poses and lots of arm movement, and this exercise forces students to focus on the choreography and not the image in front of them. And the kids have a blast working together.