Hip Hop Home Dojo
Hip Hop Dance for Kids Streaming Live Online
A note from Mr. Vince to all students
Youth Hip Hop Dance Students Excel at Self-Awareness
Hip Hop Dance is often perceived by the general public as a random skill set. Either you got it or you don’t. There was a moment when I would become very frustrated by folks that discover that I am a Hip Hop dancer and automatically assume that I have a whole lot of what they don’t. I would think to myself, how dare this person assume that my ability is purely natural. They have no idea how hard I’ve worked to achieve my knowledge an ability. But that is exactly it: they have no idea. And eventually I realized, that I have no business getting frustrated with someone who just doesn’t have knowledge.
In the science that I’ve come across, there have been studies on genetic dispositions for musicality. So sure, there is a case to be made that some of us will be more naturally inclined to dance hip hop well because of our musical abilities, allowing us to understand musical patters more comprehensively and move more rhythmically. It is also held that Hip Hop Dance comes more naturally to blacks. This is a commonly misunderstood racial stereo-type or simply a naïve understanding of human development. The generalization that blacks are better at Hip hop can be understood from a nurture standpoint. Hip Hop is a social dance. If you are raised in an environment where dancing happens more frequently, and specifically dance to Hip Hop/R&B, you are more likely to have inclinations towards dance due to exposure and subconscious adaptation. The opposite is being raised in an environment where there is no dance at all and no Hip Hop related music. Who would you expect to be able to dance Hip Hop better: the person that grew up exposed or the person who had none? The fact that many of the most iconic dancers today represent other racial groups is evidence that Hip Hop is influenced by experiences in development, which can happen at any stage of life.
I argue that Hip Hop Dance ability is influenced by nature and nurture. And I will go as far to say that it is likely more a condition of nurture. I can teach someone coordination and musicality, even if they have to work very hard at it. After all, my former Director, Rennie Harris of the famous dance company Rennie Harris Puremovement, often teases me by saying “Nice to see you on beat” whenever he catches a recent clip of my dancing. I struggled to be musical even at a professional level. Even though I had many years growing in the culture before dancing with Rennie, I still had a long way to go before getting comfortable with my timing. Everyday at Movemakers Philly, I witness a variety of entry level ability sets. There has never been a point when I felt that someone was hopeless. Good nurturing goes a very long way, and of course, investment from the student.
The process of building a communicative relationship between the body and music is a complex task. Even more taxing is the fact that a Hip Hop Dancer’s movements have to fit within a cultural context. You can’t just randomly flail your arms on beat and consider yourself Hip Hop. There is a specific geometric orientation that forms as Hip Hop. A new student has to learn these coordinates. There is a general range of space that qualifies as Hip Hop parameters. Reducing to an even smaller micro-optic, once a dancer has determined the general coordinates for a posture that expresses Hip Hop, the dancer then has to figure out their personal orientation. The best Hip Hop Dancers present a certain way because of choice. Of course, there are some dancers that move by instinct once they’ve learned the foundation. But some of the most renown dancers have gone through stages of development. When you look at footage of them now and then find clips from 10 years ago, it is likely that you will see a very different dancer. There are even instances when these changes can happen within weeks. This transformation indicates that dancers are discovering how they want to express within the coordinates of Hip Hop.
In order to get to a point where you deliberately and fully express yourself, you must possess deep self-awareness. A Hip Hop Dancer is in touch with mood, memory, physical ability, current thoughts and so much more at the moment of dancing. If a dancer is carrying stress, it is likely that the stress will be manipulated by the dancer in order to perform the attitude and mood that is desired in depicting a specific relationship to the music. The pursuit of Hip Hop Dance is a sure way to have a better understanding of who you are. At Movemakers Philly we will teach you how to use your Groove GPS to find yourself.