Your students may be able to bust a move at school dances, but would they make the cut in a hip-hop audition?

Hip-Hop Dance Conservatory education director, Yvonne Chow

“Not all movement to hip-hop music is hip-hop dance,” says Safi Thomas, artistic director of the Hip-Hop Dance Conservatory. “It would be like moving to Mozart and saying that I’m doing ballet.” Thomas founded his New York City school to give a conservatory-like education to aspiring professional hip-hop dancers. Students, accepted by audition only, take dance theory, music theory, anatomy, kinesiology, critical thinking, health, stagecraft, art of repertory and anthropology in addition to technique classes. They have exams and a final thesis at the end of the year. “If students really want to make hip hop their career, they have to have a platform for understanding all the style’s elements, and how they interact with one another,” says Yvonne Chow, HDC education director. Here, Thomas and Chow explain that there are five universal elements of hip hop. Understanding all of these styles is the best way to give students a fighting chance as a hip-hop dancer.

HDC dancer Allisia Daley

POPPING

Popping is a contraction and release of the muscle—a very quick movement—that is actually the relaxation between muscle tensions, not the tension itself. In the ’60s, popping’s predecessor was called hitting or the hit, and was done by groups primarily in California’s Bay Area. Sam “Boogaloo Sam” Solomon of the Electric Boogaloos coined the term “popping.”

Popping Vocab: Puppeting, waving, lurchin’, the creep, Egyptian (tutting), scarecrow, richmond robotting, ticking (clock), dynorama (animation), strobing, vibrating

Popping Aficionados: The Electric Boogaloos (currently including Sam “Boogaloo Sam” Solomon, Timothy “Popin’ Pete” Solomon, Steffan “Mr. Wiggles” Clemente, “Suga Pop,” Steven “Skeeter Rabbit” Nicholas, Straphanio “Shonn Boog” Solomon), Granny & The Robotroid, Hit Master Fish, Lock-a-Tron John, Mariette “Peaches” Rodriguez, The Black Messengers, Slick Dogg, Demons of the Mind, Mr. Fantastic, Pop Master Fabel, One Plus One

HDC associate artistic director Ray Davis

LOCKING

Locking appeared in California around 1967, and it’s a series of joint isolations in various body zones. This style often has a little bit of a comedic flare and a more joyful nature, and it’s done mainly to funk and soul music.

Locking Vocab: Lock, points, throwback, wrist roll, iron horse (which-a-ways), muscle man, scooby doo,

stop and go, scoobot, skeeter rabbit, funky guitar, knee drop, leo walk

Locking’s Inventor: Don “Cambellock” Campbell

Well-Known Lockers: The Lockers (Don “Campbellock” Campbell, Toni Basil, Dave Gregory “Greg Campbellock Jr.” Pope, Fred “Mr. Penguin” Berry, Leo “Fluky Luke” Williamson,

Bill “Slim the Robot” Williams and Adolfo “Shabba Doo” Quiñones), Emilio “Buddha Stretch” Austin Jr., Anthony “Tony Go Go” Lewis, James “Skeeter Rabbit” Higgins, Jimmy “Scooby Doo” Foster, Ana “Lollipop” Sanchez, Raymond “Spex” Abbiw

HDC dancer Raphaela Riemer

BOOGALOO

Many think that Boogaloo came out of popping, but the boogaloo style was actually happening on the West Coast before hitting or popping ever manifested. At the core, it is very loose movement, mostly with the hips and the legs that allows dancers to seem as if they have no bones.

The Most Well-Known Boogaloo Dancers: Boogaloo Sam and the Electric Boogaloos

Boogaloo Vocab: Twist-o-flex, walk-out, fakey, neck-o-flex, cobra, snakin’, slides, glides, old man, Egyptian

 

 

 

 

 

 

HDC artistic director Safi Thomas

BREAKING, B-BOYING or B-GIRLING

This unstructured and highly improvisational style is probably the most well-known element of hip-hop dance. It comes from the South Bronx in the early ’70s, and its predecessor was uprock, a competitive street dance popularized by two men named Apache and Rubber Band Man. In breaking, there’s a movement set for each level. Toprock is done at a high level (standing). Downrock brings you from high to mid or low, and floorwork is done at a low or deep level.

Breaking Crews: Rock Steady Crew (seen in the movie Flashdance), Zulu Kings, Sal Soul, Crazy Commandos, Dynamic Rockers,

New York City Breakers, Air Force Crew, Full Circle, The Bronx Boys (TBB), Seven Gems

 

 

 

HDC rehearsal director Cynthia Brown

SOCIAL DANCING/’80s PARTY DANCE

In the 1980s, groups started to take social dances like the Charleston and the twist from American culture and combine them with the party moves they were seeing in NYC clubs and house parties. This choreography and freestyle is what we often see in music videos. It was popularized and codified in videos by Elite Force Crew and proliferated by Cicely and Olisa of Nustylz.

Old-School Social Dance: The wop, the cabbage patch, the roger rabbit, the running man, the rooftop, the humpty hump, the worm, the kriss-cross

New-School Social Dance: The jerk, the soulja boy, dougie, chicken noodle soup, hyphy, toe wop, turfin’

Photos by Anna Kuzmina, courtesy of HDCNY/AK47 Division

The Conversation
Dance Teachers Trending
Photo courtesy of Hightower

The beloved "So You Think You Can Dance" alum and former Emmy-nominated "Dancing with the Stars" pro Chelsie Hightower discovered her passion for ballroom at a young age. She showed a natural ability for the Latin style, but she mastered the necessary versatility by studying jazz, ballet and other forms of dance. "Every style of dance builds on each other," she says, "and the more music you're exposed to, the more your rhythm and coordination is built."

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored by Harlequin Floors
Burklyn Ballet, Courtesy Harlequin

Whether you're putting on a pair of pointe shoes, buckling your ballroom stilettos or lacing up your favorite high tops, the floor you're on can make or break your dancing. But with issues like sticking or slipping and a variety of frictions suitable to different dance steps and styles, it can be confusing to know which floor will work best for you.

No matter what your needs are, Harlequin Floors has your back, or rather, your feet. With 11 different marley vinyl floors available in a range of colors, Harlequin has options for every setting and dance style. We rounded up six of their most popular and versatile floors:

Keep reading... Show less
Studio Owners
Getty Images

Dance teachers have a lot of strengths (communicating corrections, choreographing gorgeous movement, planning excellent recitals, cleaning technique—just to name a few) but when it comes to interior design—talent isn't exactly a given. So when studio owners remodel or build, worrying about the decor can feel a little overwhelming (you've got just a few too many other things to worry about, don't you?).

No need to fear! In 2019 we have Pinterest, which shows us all the latest trends we should know about. To help you make the best design decisions for your studio, we've compiled a list of public Pinterest pins we think you'll love.

You're welcome!

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored by Insure Fitness
AdobeStock, Courtesy Insure Fitness Group

As a teacher at a studio, you've more than likely developed long-lasting relationships with some of your students and parents. The idea that you could be sued by one of them might seem impossible to imagine, but Insure Fitness Group's Gianna Michalsen warns against relaxing into that mindset. "People say, 'Why do I need insurance? I've been working with these people for 10 years—we're friends,'" she says. "But no one ever takes into account how bad an injury can be. Despite how good your relationship is, people will sue you because of the toll an injury takes on their life."

You'll benefit most from an insurance policy that caters to the specifics of teaching dance at one or several studios. Here's what to look for:

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Teacher Tips
Vanessa Zahorian. Photo by Erik Larson, courtesy of Pennsylvania Ballet Academy

At the LINES Ballet Dance Center in San Francisco, faculty member Erik Wagner leads his class through an adagio combination in center. He encourages dancers to root their standing legs, using imagery of a seed germinating, so that they feel more grounded. "Our studios are on the fifth floor, so I'll often tell them to push down to Market Street," says Wagner. "They know that they should push their energy down to the street level." By using this oppositional force, he says, dancers can lengthen their bodies to create any desired shape.

Keep reading... Show less
Studio Success with Just for Kix
Bill Johnson, Courtesy Just for Kix

Running a dance studio is a feat in itself. But adding a competition team into the mix brings a whole new set of challenges. Not only are you focusing on giving your dancers the best training possible, but you're navigating the fast-paced competition and convention circuit. Winning is one goal, but you also want to create an environment that's fun, educational and inspiring for young artists. We asked Cindy Clough, executive director of Just For Kix and a studio owner with over 40 years of experience, for her advice on building a healthy dance team culture:

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Teacher Tips
Getty Images

After years of throwing summer parties at your studio, you're likely fatigued by coming up with themes and event details. You want your students to have a good time, but you're also up to your eyeballs in choreography and costume decisions.

Never fear! We've come up with party themes and activities to do during the event. Delegate tasks to your teachers and office managers, and voilà! You have a stress-free party ready to go.

Have a blast, people!

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored by World Class Vacations
David Galindo Photography

New York City is a dream destination for many dancers. However aspiring Broadway stars don't have to wait until they're pros to experience all the city has to offer. With Dance the World Broadway, students can get a taste of the Big Apple—plus hone their dance skills and make lasting memories.

Here's why Dance the World Broadway is the best way for students to experience NYC:

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer Health
Thinkstock

Q: I recently returned to a modern dance class after a long absence. While I didn't feel any acute pain at the end of class, the next morning I could barely walk from the soreness in both my Achilles. What can I do to fix this?

Keep reading... Show less
Studio Owners
Getty Images

Q: I'm trying to think of ways to maximize studio space and revenue during the summer. What has worked for you?

Keep reading... Show less
Studio Owners
Getty Images

In 2019, dance parents are more eager than ever to observe their child's progress, and stay up-to-date with the ins and outs of what's happening in the classroom. That means yearly recitals aren't always enough to keep them satisfied—especially if you have rules against visitors observing class from week to week. The solution? Visitor observation weeks. Trust us, the guardians and loved ones of your students will love you for it!

We caught up with Suzanne Blake Gerety, vice president of Kathy Blake Dance Studios and regular contributor to Dance Teacher's "Ask The Experts" column, to hear her tips on how to have a successful visitor observation week.

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer Health
Adequate dorsiflexion mobility is needed to find a supple demi-plié needed to bound into the air and land safely. Getty Images

Dancers are trained to think often about the range of motion, stability and power of their extended lines: the point of the foot, the reach of the penché, the explosion of the sauté in the air. But finding that same mix of flexibility and strength in the flexed foot is just as integral to technique and injury prevention. Without adequate dorsiflexion mobility, it is nearly impossible to find the kind of supple demi-plié needed to bound into the air and land safely.

Keep reading... Show less

mailbox

Get DanceTeacher in your inbox