July 2012 | 2 Tips for Hip-Hop Teachers | Tutting and Toning

By Geo Hubela

Tip 1
Tutting is creating shapes in choreographed patterns with the hands and arms, much like Egyptian poses seen in artwork. Making clean, 90-degree angles with the upper arms in line with the shoulders is very important in mastering this style. Have students lift both arms to shoulder height with elbows bent at 90 degrees, wrists flexed and pointed away, then turn the hands to the inside so that the fingers point to the head. Continue creating different shapes and patterns, almost like building a puzzle. Once the basics are mastered, incorporate the moves into choreography.

Tip 2
Building upper body strength is essential to hip-hop and break-dancing. I drill arm-strengthening exercises to help students with popping, tutting, and waving dynamics. I describe it as holding invisible weights—in other words, isometrics—as if holding or pushing against an opposing force. Have students hold the arms out and squeeze the fists. (Tensing all muscles is a great exercise for learning how to pop.) Hold for 8 counts, then relax for 8 counts, then repeat with 4, 2, and single counts.