By Geo Hubela
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.
Make this squeeze exercise part of your hip-hop regimen. Have students hold their arms up and squeeze every muscle in their body, not jerking or contracting. Go through 8-count holds, 4-count holds, then 2 counts, and then quick, tight squeezes. Tell them to think of the tensing action as quick electric shocks.
Moon Man: Going across the floor, take a step and move the legs and arms in walking motion for 8 very slow counts. Pop or squeeze the muscles on the 1 and 8 counts. Step with the other leg and repeat. I use “Planet Rock” by Afrika Bambaataa for this exercise. Coming back across the floor, do 4-count slow-motion walks.
I use the analogy of walking on the moon to help the students mimic the feel of no gravity. This helps dancers work on core control and balance—both necessary hip-hop skills.