GEO Hubela's ICONic hip-hop choices

Despite their short stature, the ICONic Boyz have a big stage presence. With sharp moves and a charisma beyond their years, these 15 youngsters between the ages of 9 and 14 always put on a good show. They’ve recently brought their standout skills and creative choreography to Madison Square Garden, The Apollo Theater and MTV’s “MADE.” The man behind the munchkins is GEO Hubela, owner of Icon Dance Complex in Englishtown, New Jersey. He and his sister Beth opened the studio five years ago, and it is now home to over 600 students (plus a growing waiting list) and seven kids’ companies, including the Boyz.

“A lot of people don’t realize that there’s a lot of technique in hip hop, and I teach my students those foundations,” Hubela says. “But they know that when they perform, they shouldn’t be focused on pointing their toes or popping really hard, because that should just be there. Onstage, they become entertainers.”

The ICONic Boyz

His student groups are based on ICONic, Hubela’s troupe featured on Season 1 of MTV’s “Randy Jackson Presents America’s Best Dance Crew.” Hubela has danced with Michael Jackson, Britney Spears, *NSYNC, PINK and Jennifer Lopez, and he teaches hip-hop master classes across the U.S.

“I’m a role model for my kids, especially the Boyz,” says Hubela. “Growing up, I was one of the only boys who danced, and I was looked down upon by many of my peers because of it. Now, I love to see these young boys becoming the little stars of the studio. Other kids look up to them, and audiences go nuts when they dance. It’s very personal for me, and I get extremely emotional when I see them perform.” DT

Artist: Michael Jackson

Album: Thriller

“Michael’s music will always be in my repertoire. I like to start class with an upbeat, faster song like ‘Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’.’ For across-the-floor, I love ‘Billie Jean,’ which is very funky, and the boys love to dance to it.”

Artist: Usher

Song: “DJ Got Us Falling in Love”

“I use more commercial songs like this for warm-up and stretching. The beat is funky and energetic. It’s also clean, to a degree (there are a couple of words that he fuzzes out). The kids know it, and they get excited when they hear it.”

Artist: Ne-Yo

Song: “Nobody”

“Not a lot of people know this song, but I like that it’s a little bit faster than an ordinary hip-hop song. Having a good tempo is important to me, because you’ve got to get the kids moving. If it’s too slow, you just can’t get them into it. I also love Ne-Yo’s ‘Because of You.’”

Artist: BoA

Album: BoA

“BoA is a Korean artist who I use for across-the-floor, progressions and routines. The kids love ‘Eat You Up.’ And she has another great song called ‘Energetic.’ I like to use things that aren’t too ordinary. The greatest tool that we have at our disposal is the internet. I’ve found great music while searching for ‘Korean hip hop’ or ‘UK hip hop’ and checking out what people are doing in other parts of the world.”

Artist: Justin Bieber

Song: “Somebody to Love” remix featuring Usher

“Justin Bieber is a great role model because he sings upbeat, happy music. The girls love him and the boys see that and think, ‘Look how much the girls love him. Imagine if that were me.’ Also, my 5- and 6-year-old hip-hop students really like ‘Eenie Meenie’ by Bieber and Sean Kingston.”

Photos: Courtesy of GEO Hubela (Top left photo by Rich Schaub)

The Feldenkrais Method is a somatic technique created by Moshe Feldenkrais in the 1950s. The method has two parts: hands-on sessions with a Feldenkrais teacher (Functional Integration) or group classes comprised of verbal cues (Awareness Through Movement).

Mary Armentrout, a dance teacher, choreographer and Feldenkrais practitioner, shares three ways that this somatic practice can bolster your students' training.

Keep reading... Show less
Your Studio

Oversexualizing young kids has been a hot topic among dance teachers in recent years. It's arguably the most controversial topic teachers and studio owners are faced with. Deciding which choreography, music or costumes are appropriate—or not—isn't always black and white and can be easily overlooked. Is showing the midriff too much for minis? Is this choreography too provocative? Is this popular song too suggestive for a competition piece? The questions can seem endless with no clear objective answers. Until now.

Keep reading... Show less
To make dancers stronger and less injury-prone, Burns Wilson suggest adding floor barre or conditioning classes. Photo courtesy of Burns Wilson

With a career spanning 30-plus years in the dance field, Anneliese Burns Wilson has cultivated a unique perspective on health and injury prevention for dancers. From teaching ballet to teaching anatomy, she then founded ABC for Dance, which publishes dance-teaching materials. Now through research for her next book, which will focus on training the female adolescent dancer, she's delving even deeper into topics many dance teachers have overlooked.

Keep reading... Show less
Erdmann (left) on set for "Hairspray Live" (courtesy of Erdmann)

When Wicked ensemble member Kelli Erdman was training at Westlake Dance Center in Seattle, Washington, her teacher Kirsten Cooper taught her that focussed transitions would be pivotal to her success as a dancer. Now as a professional, she applies this advice to her daily performances, asserting that she will never let the details of her dancing get blurry.

Keep reading... Show less
Khobdeh dancing Taylor's Speaking In Tongues. Photo courtesy of PTDC

For Parisa Khobdeh, music does more than set the tone for a piece—it's enabled her to connect with movement. And once she joined Paul Taylor Dance Company in 2003, Taylor's body of work deepened this connection. "His choreography showed me the music, the architecture and the space," she says. "I now see the music."

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Buzz

We haven't been able to stop watching Lil' Mushroom since she popped and locked her way into Ellen's heart last week. We know you've got a long night of teaching ahead, and this is the dance inspiration you need to get you through. Check it out and tell us what you think about her killer moves over on our Facebook page! (She starts blowing minds at about 2:16.)

Keep reading... Show less
How-To

Because the chassé is often neglected during the execution of this traveling step, Judy Rice asks her students to do a minimum of a six-inch chassé before transitioning into the pas de bourrée. She encourages dancers to pay close attention to their shoulders and hips in effacé, too. "Kids tend to open it up. They look like they're fencing," she says. "You don't want that." Both shoulders and hip bones should be facing the corner.

Keep reading... Show less

Sponsored

Videos

Sponsored

mailbox

Get DanceTeacher in your inbox

Win It!

Sponsored