Improv study can boost students’ creativity, resourcefulness by Bonner Odell For dance students, the phrase “let’s improv” can evoke a range of emotions: anxiety, excitement, insecurity, curiosity, or all of the above. Educators are responding to the ever-growing influence of improv as a training tool by incorporating it into contemporary, hip-hop, and jazz lessons—or even…Read More
by Samara Atkins Rhythm is at the heart of doing hip-hop dance well. The most amazing hip-hop dancers in the game now are revered for their skill in playing off a song’s many rhythms. To practice catching nuanced rhythmic changes, try this exercise I call “the ever-evolving soundscape.” Students stand in a circle, facing inward.…Read More
What’s up in the dance community Columbia College Chicago’s new interdisciplinary hip-hop studies minor, a 21-credit program launched in December 2017, features core classes on hip-history history and culture, plus practice-based learning. The minor is open to students in any major: dance students are encouraged to take technique classes and complete a dance internship, whether…Read More
Montana dance festival has global reach by Bonner Odell The snow-capped mountains surrounding Missoula, Montana, might seem like a surprising backdrop to a dance festival featuring some of the world’s most elite dancers and teachers. But Missoula is the birthplace of the Vienna International Ballet Experience USA (VIBE USA), which last year alone drew more…Read More
World of Dance unites global community through events and media by Ryan P. Casey Most dancers will tell you that they can’t scroll through social media sites without seeing videos of stylishly dressed dance troupes showing off their best moves to today’s hit music. Currently, more than 5,000 of these videos are from World of…Read More
by Samara Atkins Tip 1 The street dance cypher can cause some apprehension for beginners, kids, or anyone who is unfamiliar with the concept. It’s helpful to remember that many of us come from cultures that for centuries have engaged in singing and dancing in communal circles. With some tips and exercises, anyone can approach…Read More
21 basic moves to know & teach by Samara Atkins Every dance genre has a basic vocabulary of widely recognized steps or moves. Hip-hop is no different, although it doesn’t have codified curriculums. There are moves that most hip-hop dancers consider essential to their repertoire and which hip-hop teachers, therefore, should have in their teaching…Read More
What’s up in the dance community What’s an alpaca’s favorite style of dance? “Hip-hop,” said Ann Patman of 313 Farms in Anola, Manitoba, Canada, which this summer began offering AlpacaZone Dance & Fitness classes. Patman told Dance Studio Life that two of her nine alpacas keep curiously close to the instructor leading the Poppin’ Pacas…Read More
Fun facts for teachers and studentsRead More
What’s up in the dance community Tradition and innovation met August 12 as the Dance Teachers’ Club of Boston’s Dance Education Training Course celebrated its 75th anniversary during graduation ceremonies at the Hilton Boston/Woburn. The 69 soon-to-be teachers, clad in white formal wear, promenaded in a grand march before family, faculty, and alumni just…Read More
by Samara Atkins Tip 1 Dance educators understand the importance of harmony in the classroom. Remarkable ideas come alive when everyone feels inspired to create together. When you are teaching, you are the host of a classroom for a block of time. Accomplishing your goals will hinge on the class’ collective energy and vibe. You…Read More
Media Hub | Onscreen, on the page, and online Martha & Niki directed by Tora Mkandawire Mårtens In 2010 African-born dancers Martha Nabwire and Niki Tsappos became the first women to win France’s Juste Debout, the biggest international street dance competition. This documentary follows the hip-hop world champions as they take part in competitions where they…Read More
by Karen White
Guided by occupational therapists, early childhood development specialists, and pediatric physical therapists, Gomez created a system for teaching hip-hop that could be understood by students with learning differences and special needs and that could help these students reach some of the physical, social, and cognitive goals set by their medical teams.Read More
by Samara Atkins
Make sure your students have the kick ball change (also called kick cross step) in their hip-hop vocabularies. This move is fundamentally about shifting the weight.
Once your students have the feel of the kick ball change, add a little variation to give the move more power and style.
by Joseph Carman
As a dance form, hip-hop emerged from the streets, and its spontaneity, energy, and individuality reinforce its appeal. So when you place hip-hop in concert form, as choreographer Lorenzo “Rennie” Harris has done successfully for 25 years, it’s vital to retain that freshness while instilling it with discipline and stagecraft. Enter Rennie Harris Awe-Inspiring Works (RHAW), a second company to the acclaimed Rennie Harris Puremovement.Read More
Freestyling (improvising) has been around since long before hip-hop began, making dance come alive on street corners and at parties. In recent years freestyling has become increasingly important in the hip-hop world—it’s a major component of the urban street dance movement—mostly because it encourages so much spontaneous creativity. New freestyle moves come out of experimenting or trial and error; trending moves, like the Dougie or the dab, are often born from someone’s take on a preexisting move. The basic concept is doing whatever comes to mind while listening to a song and letting your movement be completely free.
Impromptu and improvised, freestyling gives dancers creative control over their bodies—and that can make students nervous. Framing freestyling as an activity or task can help them feel more comfortable exploring their own movement. For example, ask students to freestyle for 16 counts at certain points within set choreography, perhaps during the intro or at the end, and either individually or all together.
Tip 1 I’ve previously described the dive (“Two Tips for Hip-Hop Teachers: Drop-Freeze and Dolphin Dive,” March-April 2015), a house dance move. Here’s a basic version for beginners.
Tip 2 To teach the dodger, another house dance move, have students stand with the torso and weight shifted toward the left, left knee slightly bent. The right foot is on the ball, slightly behind the left; the right shoulder is angled forward. In this move, the shoulders always move in opposition to the working leg.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
Getting young dancers to understand popping is a big challenge. Here is a way to get the movement into their bodies.Read More