Posts Tagged ‘hip hop’

December 2016 | FYI

What’s up in the dance community
❱ Jacob’s Pillow Four-Season Studio
❱ Gift Leads to Doctoral Program in Dance Education
❱ It’s Good to Be the Ballerina Boss
❱ Hip-Hop Arrives at NYPL

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December 2016 | 2 Tips for Hip-Hop Teachers | Essential Moves: Kick Ball Change

Tip 1
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.

Start with feet shoulder-width apart, weight balanced evenly between the feet. Kick the right foot out in front and then cross it over the left leg. Bring it to the floor in a cross-legged position with the weight on the right foot. Step out with the left foot to the left, uncrossing the feet; now the weight should be on the left foot. Tell students to make this move look as casual and effortless as possible.

Now reverse it: rock the weight back onto the right foot, kick the left leg out, cross it over the right, step onto the left foot to shift the weight, then step out with the right leg and shift the weight back to the right foot. Give the kick ball change a three-beat rhythm (kick step step), repeating on “1&2” and “3&4.”

Tip 2
Once your students have the feel of the kick ball change, add a little variation to give the move more power and style. For example, have students kick out the right foot with enough force so that they have to hop backward on the left foot. Complete the move, ending with the left leg out, but this time, rock the weight immediately back over to the right foot, freeing up the left in order to switch sides seamlessly. Give this version a four-beat rhythm (kick step step switch), repeating on “1&2&” and “3&4&.” To help students get the rhythm, say “Kick, step, rock back, switch, kick, step, rock back, switch,” as they repeat the move from side to side.

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December 2016 | Raw and Awesome

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.

“There is no street dance academy,” says Harris, “so to transition street dancers to theater, I realized I had to start a second company. When these dancers come out of high school or when they’re starting college, they’ll do about four years with me. And if they decide to stay and dance, or move on, that’s cool. It’s a way to train them in etiquette and how to be professional.”

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December 2016 | Champs and Change Agents

Backstage at the 2016 World of Dance competition in Orlando, Florida, Davina Pasiewicz gathered Chicago-based hip-hop crew The Puzzle League in a pre-performance huddle. “This is not about winning a trophy,” Pasiewicz, the crew’s executive director, told the 35 dancers. “This is about communicating a message bigger than ourselves. If we accomplish that, we will have already won.”

The message the piece delivered was this: millennials need to turn out at the polls. Considering that the audience consisted mostly of millennials (ages 18 to 35), the choice of topic was a risk. But rather than take the message as an indictment, the crowd went wild with applause. Judging from one YouTube video of the performance, which had nearly 21,000 views as of early October, the voting routine is helping young people recognize the power they wield en masse. The judges were equally impressed; the crew walked away with the first-place trophy.

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August 2016 | 2 Tips for Hip-Hop Teachers | Introducing Freestyle

Tip 1
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.

Tip 2
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.

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July 2016 | 2 Tips for Hip-Hop Teachers | Beginners’ Dive and the Dodger

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.

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December 2014| Hip-Hop Lineup

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.

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September 2014 | 2 Tips for Hip-Hop Teachers | Partnering

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.

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December 2013 | Fundamentally Hip-Hop

Dancer-educators Mark “Metal” Wong, Steve “Believe” Lunger, and Aaron Troisi are three arts activists who decided to change the message being sent to K–12 youth. In too many instances, the message sent to schoolchildren in Pennsylvania, the region, and across the country, early in their academic careers, is that they have little worth and just as little power to do anything about it.

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December 2013 | Hip-Hop for All

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.

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December 2013 | Hip-Hop for Tykes

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.

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November 2013 | 2 Tips for Hip-Hop Teachers | Build a Foundation

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.

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August 2013 | 2 Tips for Hip-Hop Teachers | Focus on Foundations

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.

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July 2013 | 2 Tips for Hip-Hop Teachers | Muscle Memory

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.

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May-June 2013 | 2 Tips for Hip-Hop Teachers | Dressing the Part

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.

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March-April 2013 | 2 Tips for Hip-Hop Teachers | Slides

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.

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March-April 2013 | Ballet Scene | Ballet Meets Ethnic in Atlanta

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.

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March-April 2013 | Dancing Big

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.

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February 2013 | 2 Tips for Hip-Hop Teachers | The Shoulder Bounce

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.

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February 2013 | Thinking Out Loud | Hip-Hop Gold

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.

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February 2013 | Higher-Ed Voice | Dance Steps, Next Steps

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.

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December 2012 | On My Mind

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.

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December 2012 | Giving ’Em Love

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.

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December 2012 | Keeping It Fresh

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.

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December 2012 | The Heights of Hip-Hop

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.

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October 2012 | 2 Tips for Hip-Hop Teachers | Watch and Learn

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.

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December 2011 | Bright Biz Ideas | Thinking Inside the Box

From the classic Ronco Veg-o-Matic to the newfangled best-selling ShamWow, product designers and developers have one thing in common. They see a need—from turning lights off from your bed to washing your feet in the shower without bending down—that other products in the cluttered marketplace didn’t fulfill.

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December 2011 | Turning Up the Heat

Dance studios that offer hip-hop dance alongside classes in ballet, tap, jazz, and modern are everywhere these days. Studios devoted solely to hip-hop are rare, but if you visit the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, suburb of Emsworth, you’ll find one: Brenna Jaworski’s Pittsburgh Heat Hip Hop Dance Company.

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December 2010 | ABCs of Hip-Hop

How to tell popping from locking—and more
battling: informal dance between individuals or crews; usually personal and “in-your-face.” b-boy/b-girl: a practitioner of breaking.

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December 2010 | Culture Shock’s Wide Reach

Off of Interstate 5 in the heart of San Diego sits a nondescript three-story building. A dance studio is on the second floor. Set foot inside and you’re hit with vibrantly colored, graffiti-style murals covering the floor, walls, and even benches. Milling around are people of every race, age, and background, coming out of class flushed and glowing. What brings them together? A love of hip-hop dance.

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December 2010 | Breaking It Down

When it comes to hip-hop instruction, Wildwood is old school By Heather Wisner In the beginning, hip-hop was more than just dance: It was a way of life, meshing movement with emceeing, turntabling, and graffiti art. But as veterans of the early days will tell you, today’s dancers don’t know their hip-hop history. And, they…

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December 2010 | Coach Tee’s World

A warehouse-like building in the suburbs east of Sacramento, California, wouldn’t be most people’s first stop in the quest for primo hip-hop dance classes. Most of the site on Folsom Boulevard is devoted to a family fitness center; the entrance to Studio T Urban Dance Academy is tucked away from the street side. But once inside, you’re in Coach Tee’s world.

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December 2010 | From Fad to Foundation

I often hear master teachers preaching to students to be well rounded. Once students are old enough and show enough interest, it’s common practice for studio owners to encourage them to broaden their dance studies. Everyone has heard the familiar mantra that all dancers need to take ballet because it provides a foundation for all dance forms. On the flip side, nowadays many teachers consider studying modern dance essential for ballet dancers.

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July 2010 | Hip-Hop With a Handshake

If you want to start a business from scratch, be wary of partnering with someone you have not known for a long time. That’s advice that studio owner Heidie Sharpe heard more than once—from her family, her friends, her business planner, her tax attorney.

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February 2010 | Higher Ed Voice | The Hip-Hop Project

The hip-hop movement can be viewed as one of social and cultural integration, as the ascension of a minority group into the mainstream of society. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) recognizes the importance of such integration in “Hip-Hop Project: Insight Into the Hip-Hop Generation,” a collaborative project of its theater and dance departments.

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