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 that involves teaching community classes or helping produce events such as CCC’s biannual street dance festival the B-Series. In addition to learning event management through the minor, dance students also have a chance to perform at the series.
The minor, created in response to student demand, has been six years in the making. “Most college dance programs center on modern dance, or modern and ballet,” dance faculty member and B-Series co-curator Kelsa Robinson told Dance Studio Life. “We’ve been working on transforming the curriculum to reflect what the American dancing body looks like today. Most students are interested in contemporary and hip-hop.”
Robinson is teaching courses in the program along with hip-hop colleagues Amina Norman-Hawkins, co–founder of Chicago Hip-Hop Heritage Month; Trae Turner, founder of the World of Dance-winning company Boom Crack!; and Daniel “Bravemonk” Haywood, a member of the breaking crew Phaze II and advisory board member of the Chicago Dance History Project.
Robinson says the minor is designed so that students “don’t just experience dancing in a studio and performing on a stage; they experience hip-hop as a culture that incorporates music, dance, visual art, and values such as community, originality, and freestyle.”