Know the craft. Like ballet, tap, and jazz, hip-hop has a foundation. Popping, locking, tutting, waving, isolations, and break dance are all elements and styles within hip-hop. Do your homework and drill the basics. I incorporate popping, waving, and isolations into every class, just as a ballet teacher does pliés. Know the terminology. Do you know these moves—Fresno, the old man, twist-o-flex, walk-out? The Internet is at your disposal to help you learn the craft—just make sure you go to credible sources.
Stay up to date with music. When you keep it fresh, your students will be more engaged. We always need to stretch and do the basics, which gets repetitious, so an easy way to spice things up is by using a variety of tracks each week. And not just Top 40—think old-school, electronica, dub-step, and house. Listen to what fits your style and introduce your students to new sounds. Your classes will be energized!