October 2014 | 2 Tips for Hip-Hop Teachers | Battles and Nae Naes

Photo by Michael Higgins

Photo by Michael Higgins

Battles and Nae Naes

By Geo Hubela

Tip 1
Shows can be more fun if the audience gets involved in the action. So how about holding a hip-hop battle at your next recital? The fun starts with a great emcee to keep the audience engaged and motivated. When there’s a break for a costume change, have the emcee ask for two volunteers from the audience to take part in a hip-hop dance contest onstage. The emcee should have one or two simple steps prepared to show the participants, such as the Dougie or the Nae Nae (see below); or simply have them freestyle.

Cue a popular top-40 hit (“Happy” by Pharrell Williams is a good choice) and have each person dance solo for a few seconds. Then choose a winner by crowd response. (The emcee holds his or her hand over each participant’s head and asks for a response.) After a winner is selected, cue the music again and have the audience stand up and dance at their seats.


Tip 2
Made popular by the group We Are Toonz, the Nae Nae became a popular dance trend via Vine and YouTube. With feet about shoulder-width apart, bend the knees slightly and do a slight body and leg bounce, rocking side to side. This is the foundation of the step. Put one hand up, leaving the other by your side as you rock. You just hit your Nae Nae!

Get creative and turn around or move side to side. The Nae Nae is a celebratory type of dance, so have fun and even yell, “Heyyyy!” as you do it.


Geo Hubela is the co-founder and director of ICON Dance Complex in New Jersey. His ICONic brand activities range from hiphopgeo.com to the ICONic Boyz hip-hop troupe to instructional DVDs.