All dance studio owners strive to find excellent teachers to fill their faculty rosters. Yet it is not uncommon for owners to crave more variety for students—to provide a roster of instructors similar to those of professional studios in large markets such as Los Angeles or New York City. At Wildwood Dance & Arts, located in America’s heartland near St. Louis, Missouri, owner Leah Cordiano-Siemens has found a solution to the need to broaden her hip-hop offerings: she typically brings in at least one guest teacher each month. In so doing, she exposes developing dancers to current dance steps and choreography and gives them a taste of the world of professional dance.
More and more people are hip-hop dancing today, so be in the know and teach your students the history behind the movement and its terminology.
Partner work in hip-hop can be utilized in many creative ways. Partnering can be done so that the two dancers never come in contact with one another. One way is shadowing, where one partner dances closely behind the other. Isolations, sharp movements, waves, and tuts that are matched by both dancers are simple and effective forms of partner work.
For the rock, dancers stand slightly hunched over, relaxed and with feet together. On the 1, they bop the head backward (not forward as they’re often inclined to do) and continue bopping back to front with the beat.
Getting young dancers to understand popping is a big challenge. Here is a way to get the movement into their bodies.
As I prepare for a new season of hip-hop classes at my studio, ICON Dance Complex, I always start by thinking about curriculum. It’s important to take several factors into consideration when designing yours: the number of classes, and the age range, experience, and skill levels of your students. You can then design an effective program with choreography tailored to the students.
When you hear someone mention a preschool dance class, you may think of miniature tutus and tiny taps, but there’s a new player in the preschool scene: Hippity Hop. That’s what many studios call their preschool-age hip-hop classes, which bring the energy and coolness factor of hip-hop to the fun and developmental activities of preschool dance. The classes vary from school to school, but what these classes have in common is upbeat fun.
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.
The six hip-hop dancers of First Step Iraq—from Baghdad, Basra, Erbil, and Sulaimaniya—have overcome unmentionable odds in pursuit of their dream—to dance, but also to build something in their country that has been torn apart by years of destruction, reports Albawaba.
Songs for a Healthier America, a boisterous new album aimed at amplifying the benefits of healthier child nutritional and exercise choices, will be available for free download beginning September 30.
The hip-hop dance crew Jabbawockeez has sued its manager, claiming he sneakily increased his ownership of the group from 1 percent to 52 percent, reported Courthouse News Service last Friday.
There are many kinds of drops: the sweep, coin, and thread drops, and more. One of the simplest is the knee drop, which gives the illusion of collapsing one leg with a kick.
As hip-hop is evolving, I see more urban styles that convey emotion. Lyrical hip-hop, which combines the nuances of lyrical dance with the vocabulary and foundational movements of hip-hop, is more interpretive than standard hip-hop. There are still isolations, gliding, smooth movement, and waves, but they are more fluid and less hard-hitting. And, as in lyrical dance, emphasis is placed on storytelling and conveying emotion. But stay true to the foundations of hip-hop or else call it lyrical.
In Dance Kids ATL, TLC takes viewers inside Dance 411 Studios, an Atlanta dance studio where kids train from an early age to become the best hip-hop dancers in the world, reports HitFlix.
Clean, strong arms are imperative for me in hip-hop routines. Some dancers lack the technical training to understand correct arm placement. Try this: line the dancers up with their backs against the walls or mirrors, both arms against the wall at shoulder level and bent at a 90-degree angle. (You can also use elements and poses from your choreography that apply.) The goal is to increase muscle memory so they can nail the pose without the wall there. The wall helps with placement, preventing the dancers from having wild arms and moving beyond the pose.
In the world of hip-hop, Violet Hollis is strictly Old Skool and unabashedly so.
Clothing that complements the hip-hop style and makes students feel comfortable is important; if they don’t feel comfortable, they won’t dance to their full potential. Loose-fitting clothes and materials that move well against the skin accentuate many styles of hip-hop. Popping always looks better in sweatpants or a polyester warm-up suit. Many boogaloo-style poppers wear dress slacks instead of jeans because the slacks move well with popping leg movements. Long sleeves add flow to popping and waving.
This May, the Group Theatre Too (GTT) will present its sixth annual Choreographer’s Canvas, a one-night event featuring the works of more than 15 established and emerging choreographers from around the country.
To teach what looks like a knee slide, have students crouch with feet shoulder-width apart and put the left hand on the floor. They push off, transferring the weight to the left arm as they slide on the side of the left calf around the supporting arm. As the slide begins, the torso remains lifted and away from the supporting arm. The right leg remains parallel to the left, held off the floor in somewhat of a side attitude, foot flexed.
The earthy grounding of African dance and the airy grace of ballet are not so far apart, philosophically or physically, at Ballethnic Academy of Dance. Founders Waverly T. Lucas II and Nena Gilreath have built a curriculum that offers both—as well as modern, tap, and hip-hop. But here the focus is as much on building character and developing the whole person as on teaching dance.
A normal week might find Jimmy Locust teaching 20 classes at his studio in Stamford, Connecticut. Or he might be on a plane to Los Angeles or Hawaii to choreograph a music video. Or a camera crew might be following him as he prepares for an upcoming performance with his acclaimed youth performance team, Hip Hop’s Finest. Life keeps the diminutive Locust, who is four feet nine inches tall, on the move.
Registrations are now being accepted for the 17th annual New England Dance Festival, to be held June 15 and 16 at the Timberlane Performing Arts Center in Plaistow, New Hampshire.
Men in Motion, a dance program that provides boys ages 8 to 13 with an alternative to street life and a path to achievement, will celebrate its 10th anniversary with performances that showcase its three-year collaboration with the Emory University dance program.
There are many variations on this simple and fun hip-hop move. As you step with the right foot, pop the shoulders up-down (count 1&) and repeat while stepping on the left foot (2&), continuing through 8 counts. Then have the dancers reverse the shoulder movement (pop down-up) as they step, and try it stepping backward as well. Now step it up by alternating shoulders right-left (1&2&3&, etc.) while stepping right-left on 1-2-3, etc.
For 18 years, my studio’s enrollment has remained steady. I have seen students graduate from high school and move on, only to be replaced by little ones now old enough to join Fundamentals of Dance, a class for the youngest dancers. Some students move away while an equal number of dancers change studios and come my way. Yet attracting male students to the school and sustaining their enrollment was like picking apples off a pear tree—until I added hip-hop to the roster.
The quiet midafternoon hum of San Francisco’s ODC Dance Commons’ lobby slowly ratchets up to a low roar as a swarm of young dancers, many of them teens, gathers before dispersing into the classrooms. And like thousands of high-schoolers around the country, many of these dancers face the college admissions process, a challenge—to put it mildly—for any teen. At ODC, a program called Next Steps is there to help.
For each DanceLife Teacher Conference, Rhee Gold assembles a faculty of some of the most creative and enthusiastic leaders in the entire dance studio industry. Their resumes are impressive, for sure, but what really makes them tick? What brought them to dance, and what keeps them there? What do they love about teaching, and makes them keep moving?
ICONS of Dance, a new dance competition from Geo Hubela and ICON Dance Complex, will run its inaugural event February 2 at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City.
Squeeze Play: A common error when learning to pop is jerking the body. A pop is not a contraction—the movement of a pop is much smaller, quicker, and tighter.
Registration is now open for the Associated Dance Teachers of New Jersey’s Jazzy January Workshop, set for January 20 at the Bridgewater Marriott, 700 Commons Way, Bridgewater, New Jersey.
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.
In this month’s issue we focus on jazz and hip-hop. As we were brainstorming about the content for the jazz section, I found my mind wandering back to the mid-1970s, when as teenagers, my twin brother, Rennie, and I would go with our mom to New York City to take classes from the jazz masters of the time. Many of those classes were with Luigi, who is featured in this issue.
If the San Francisco International Hip Hop Dancefest, now in its 14th year, had a sustaining mantra it would have to be “give ’em love.” It’s with these three small words that producer and artistic director Micaya (single name only) encourages her audiences to thank the artists onstage one more time.
You could call Marcus Alford and Annie Day the duke and duchess of jazz dance. Partners in marriage and in business, both studied with jazz masters and have choreographed, performed, and taught for more than 30 years. Alford performed with jazz legend Gus Giordano for a decade, and Day studied with the likes of Luigi and Phil Black, and then worked as second in command to JoJo Smith, founder of what is now Broadway Dance Center.
When Reia Briggs was growing up, there was no glamour to hip-hop, no big purses or prizes. Winning a circle battle meant bragging rights; losing meant more practice. It was social, and it was fun. As a youngster in Chelsea, a hardscrabble abutter of Boston, Briggs and her friends would make up hip-hop routines in someone’s living room or show off their moves in local talent shows or under-21 clubs.
Members of Dance Masters of Pennsylvania Inc., Chapter 10, were moved to action after hearing a status update during a grand body meeting about a former competitive dancer’s expensive fight against leukemia, and organized a fund-raising dance workshop called Danspirations for Emily.
Emmy-nominated choreographer and master tap teacher Gregg Russell will be sharing his insights into tap education each month as part of Dance Studio Life magazine’s “Two Tips for Tap Teachers” feature.
The SRU Dance Club, Salve Regina University’s student-run dance organization, will present its fall performance, Freakshow, on November 17 at 7pm and November 18 at 1pm in the Rodgers Recreation Center, Webster Street, Newport, R.I.
Homework! Understand the history and the styles. Studying old films is a great way to pick up moves and understand where they came from. Wild Style, a movie about hip-hop pioneers, is a must. Beat Street motivated me to breakdance and battle. Breakin’ is more of a commercial film but has some great popping—Turbo and Ozone rocked it out! The Freshest Kids, one of my favorites on hip-hop history, is an essential hip-hop tool.
Transitions, staging, and visuals will enhance your choreography in a big way. Don’t be afraid to get beginner dancers transitioning and moving in their routines instead of standing in one spot for an entire song.
Alonzo “Turf” Jones, who made it to the semifinals of America’s Got Talent with his unique brand of contortionist dancing, performed for students at Dance Mania in Parsippany, New Jersey, reported NorthJersey.com.
A new dance television show, Inside New York City Dance, hosted by New York City radio personality Ashani Mfuko, will premiere September 28 at 10:30pm on the Manhattan Neighborhood Network (MNN) Culture Channel.
Monsters On The Move Foundation, Inc. (MOVE), a non-profit organization created by Monsters of Hip Hop to provide aspiring dancers with financial support to pursue a quality dance education and fulfill their artistic goals, has announced its scholarship recipients for this year.
Tell your students not to wait for the 5-6-7-8 to move. I always encourage my students to freestyle or groove to the music before a combination begins.
Take that good posture and throw it away. In hip-hop, the posture is rounded, hunched, and low.
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.
The funky walk is the first progression in my classes: step forward on the right foot, hands in fists straight down over the foot.
Teach your students to listen. Get them to focus on the music, not just counts. Hip-hop music is filled with rhythms, beats, rap, and sound effects that have to be accented with choreography, with style and swag.
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.