Dance Teachers Trending

"No formal training. No dance studio. No mentor," says Erik Saradpon about his beginnings in hip hop.

"I think that's why I'm especially tough on these guys, because I don't take the relationship for granted," he says, referring to his students. "I'm like a dad to them. I had a shortage of role models in my life. I wanted that so badly. I project that onto my kids."

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Dance Teachers Trending
grimes (far right), with students at the University of Southern California's Glorya Kaufman School of Dance. Photo by Rose Eichenbaum

Ask anyone at the University of Southern California's Glorya Kaufman School of Dance how they feel about assistant professor of practice, d. Sabela grimes, and they automatically begin to sing his praises. Not only is he one of the department's most beloved and dynamic educators, he is among the most respected and innovative facilitators of dance today. He teaches the foundational elements of black Afro-diasporic vernacular street-dance practices—aka hip hop. But what makes his instruction unique is that his class is not based on any one hip-hop style. It's not popping or locking, waacking or breaking. And yet, it's all of these and much, much, much more, as Rose Eichenbaum wrote about in DT's August cover feature.

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Dance Teachers Trending

"This is what I like to call my 'PG but LIT' playlist," says Showstopper Dance Convention teacher Taylor Quinn. "That means all of these songs are great for kids 8 and under, and I get to enjoy them, too. I use this playlist for our stretch and warm-up, going across the floor and sometimes even class combos. Enjoy!"

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Just for fun
Screenshot via YouTube

Warning: "Get Stupid" is about to be stuck in your head—again!—and you'll love every second of it.

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Looking for your next audition shoe? Shot at and in collaboration with Broadway Dance Center, Só Dança has launched a new collection of shoes working with some pretty famous faces of the musical theater world! Offered in two different styles and either 2.5" or 3" heels, top industry professionals are loving how versatile and supportive these shoes are! Pro tip: The heel is centered under the body so you can feel confident and stable!

We're willing to bet that, by now, you've not only heard of hiplet, you've formed some opinions about it, too. Homer Hans Bryant (DT, February 2008), who coined the term and the dance style (it's a hybrid of hip hop and ballet, and it's pronounced "hip-lay"), knows he has his critics and detractors. But his argument—that he's made a typically formal and stiff style of dance into something contemporary and culturally freeing—definitely has merit. And as the artistic director of the Chicago Multi-Cultural Dance Center and a former principal with Dance Theatre of Harlem, the man clearly has the know-how and credentials to safely train his dancers. "I will tell you, every girl at this school is classically trained. Everyone does ballet, and everything else," reassures one of Bryant's dancers.

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Dance Teacher Tips
Many breaking moves require the upper body to bear weight. Photo by Kyle Froman

Pavan Thimmaiah casually hovers in a freeze, his weight between his head and hands on the floor, legs extending out on an upward diagonal. From this topsy-turvy position, he encourages his students to try this breaking staple. “Take a picture and make it your Facebook profile," he jokes.

Self-taught Thimmaiah founded PMT Dance Studio in New York City in 2001 to teach breaking in a classroom setting to students of all different backgrounds, levels and ages. By focusing on safe technique and catering to his students' diverse skill levels, he's built a loyal following of teen and adult b-boys and girls in his Breakin' 101 for Beginners class. “I think a lot of times in breaking classes, teachers want to fly around and show what they can do," he says. “I want to show the students what they can do."

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