May-June 2016 | 2 Tips for Hip-Hop Teachers | Explosive Movement and Social Dancing

Photo by Bill H

Photo by Bill H

Explosive Movement and Social Dancing

By Anthony “Ynot” DeNaro

Tip 1
An explosive quality (driven by the energy of the music) is inherent to hip-hop. The ability to execute explosive movements—sudden, decisive, and fast—makes a dancer stand out onstage.

Cross-training can help your students develop this quality. Encourage them to use weights to condition their bodies to initiate sudden motions and develop explosive power; weighted exercises, such as box squat jumps or standing triple jumps, work well. Sprinting and jumping, in which the muscles create force in tandem with fast motion, are also helpful. The goal is to increase both the movement’s speed and the amount of force developed in the early phase of a muscle contraction.

Tip 2
Encourage students to dance with each other in public as well as in class. While the studio is a great starting point, hip-hop dance is an art form that can be fully realized only when danced as a community, in a social setting.

To keep growing and changing, and to break out of the self-limiting habits and routines that can sometimes develop when cocooned in a classroom setting, students need outside stimulation. Holding dance sessions with friends is a great way to practice the material students are learning in class or workshops and to share ideas in order to develop creativity. Promote local battles or events they can participate in, and let them know the goal is less about winning than gaining experience. Ultimately, what your students are searching for is outside the studio, in the real world. Encourage them to venture out and find it.

Philadelphia b-boy Anthony “Ynot” DeNaro is a member of the Rock Steady Crew and an MFA candidate at Arizona State University. He studied with Crazy Legs and Mr. Wiggles and travels the world teaching.