Thursday, July 14, 2011

Synergy Arts Camp: Hip Hop Dance

Thursday is Hip Hop day at Synergy Arts Camp!  Hip hop culture is rather young in comparison to the history of the other dances we've reviewed this week, and it's also the most popular!  We gave some of the original and classic moves like The Running Man and The Robot - old school, for sho!  Check out the handouts I've made for the kids to enjoy!

Hip hop began as a form of musical expression and artistic culture in the South Bronx neighbourhoods of New York City in the 1970s.  There are four major elements of hip hop culture: MCing and rapping, DJing technique, graffiti art and hip hop dance.  Over the years, hip hop has crossed borders and cultures from its humble beginnings in Harlem and Brooklyn, becoming the most popular form of dance performance in the world – almost every country in the world has its own local hip hop scene, from music artists to dance crews!

There are many dance moves and techniques used in hip hop dance that borrow from other dance forms, such as tap and jazz dance.   Hip hop dance also has unique dance styles such as breaking, locking and popping, which were developed by African- and Latino-American communities in the 1970s.  Hip hop dance is also unique because of its often improvisational dance performances, or freestyle, where dancers occasionally perform in formal or informal dance competitions, usually known as battles.  

Hip hop dance was recognized as a performance dance form more than 30 years ago during the presence of professional breaking, locking and popping crews formed at the time.  Some of the most influential dance crews were the Rock Steady Crew, The Lockers and the Electric Boogaloos, who were responsible for spreading the art of hip hop dance respectively.  

As hip hop music began to evolve, the dance element evolved with it to include new moves, new styles and new expressions.   Dance styles such as new style, jazz funk, lyrical hip hop and krumping have all developed in the last ten years.  Hip hop dance movies have been popular since the 1980s, with titles such as Beat Street, Wild Style, Breakin’, You Got Served, Step Up, Honey and Save the Last Dance, and has also been featured in many reality television shows such as America’s Best Dance Crew and So You Think You Can Dance.  Hip hop culture now has a presence in theatre performance, featuring spoken word and hip hop dance and music combined in the production.

Other elements of hip hop culture:
 ·      MCing/Rapping
o   Also known as ‘emceeing’, ‘spitting (bars)’ or ‘rhyming’ in hip hop culture.
o   Considered to sit in a grey area of speech, prose, poetry and song.
o   Can be performed over a drum beat or without accompaniment.
o   The word ‘rap’ has been used since the 18th century, its original meaning is ‘to converse’ or ‘to say’. 
·      DJing
o   Also known as a disc jockey, a person who selects and plays pre-recorded music for an audience.
o   Hip hop djs usually use two turntables in their setup, blending two songs into something unique!
·      Graffiti Art
o   Graffiti comes from the Italian word graffiato, meaning ‘scratched’.
o   Graffiti has been around since Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire!
o   Most graffiti art is done with spraypaint and markers in city streets and other mural spaces.

Basic Hip Hop Dance Steps

·      Heel-Toe:
o   Hop and cross your right foot in front of your left, planting your right heel in front.
o   Pivot your body, turning left with your left foot using the balls of your toes.
o   Repeat the hop-step with your left heel out, then pivoting on your right foot.
o   Remember to stay low, and keep on your toes!

·      Knee Raise:
o   Keep in a low, rounded position.
o   Alternate raising your knees to your chest in the following pattern: left-right-left-left, right-left-right-right.
o   Snap your hands down each time your knees raise.
o   Don’t forget to bounce!  That’s the difference between the Knee Raise and ‘marching in place’!

·      Step Snap:
o   Make a wide side step with your left foot.
o   Bring your right foot to step together, bend your knees low and snap with your right hand across your body.
o   Repeat the step with your left foot, snapping to the right this time.
o   Remember to keep those knees bent and turn your body when you snap!

·      Cool Walk:
o   Step forward with your right foot as if walking, crossing over your left foot.  Bring your left hand across your body, keeping your chest low.
o   Repeat stepping forward with your left foot, crossing over your right foot and your right hand across your body.
o   Plant your right foot behind you, pivot to front and pose!

Click to enlarge
Match the Hip Hop Dancers!

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