Get to know a little more about MoveMaker's Lead dance instructor Vince Johnson!
How many years have you been dancing?
I've been dancing for 22 years. I consider myself having a focused practice for 14 years.
What is one dance achievement that you are proud of, or an experience that had a major impact on your specialties?
Around 2009, I made it to the finals of the Locking Battle at the House Dance Conference, which was a cornerstone event in the Hip Hop Dance community in New York, run by the legendary Brian Green. It was a three-way final featuring Frostlock, FireLock and me. Both of these dancers are amazing dancers who have impacted the community in meaningful ways. Fire Lock won the final. But I was extremely proud to make it to the end. I had to battle some incredible dancers to make it that far. Furthermore, growing myself as a locker was something that I had spent a lot of time and focus on over a 5 year period. Making it to top 3 at the House Dance Conference indicated to me that my work was not in vain.
What is your philosophy in hip hop?
Awareness is key to a hip hop practice. A good dancer has keen self-awareness and environmental awareness. The dancer knows the parameters of the culture, how to navigate within and how to gracefully bridge beyond.
What are your goals for your students?
My goal is for my students to be confident and capable individuals. I want them to care about themselves, their community and their practice. I believe that through the practice of hip hop dance, students develop skills for self-determination, creativity, team-work, self-expression and so much more. I hope that, through the practice of the dance, my students will gain tools for cultivating their minds, bodies and communities in circumstances well beyond the hip hop dance arena.
What can a child learn from a dance education that will impact the rest of their lives?
Learning hIp hop dance teaches kids an understanding of their bodies that other sports and recreational activities don't. Students learn complex mobility patterns, coordination and the understanding of how to use the body to express ideas. Your average sport might teach athleticism. But most sports do not teach individuals how to talk with their bodies. Students at Movemakers Philly will undoubtedly learn to respect what they can do with their bodies.
What is a interesting non-dance related fact that you can share about yourself?
I spend a lot of time with language learning and acquiring other new skills. I speak French conversationally and continue to work on my competency with the language. In 2018, I began learning Spanish. In 2019, I started learning the guitar. And in October of 2020, I started learning how to skateboard. My hope is that these new practices will remain with me for the rest of my life. I am excited to see where I am at with all of these practices in 10 years.
Thanks for everything you do, Mr. Vince! We're lucky to have you as a leader, teacher and mentor!