Hip Hop Movement Theory: Keeping to My Roots

The other day I decided to torture myself by watching the documentary “First Position” on netflix. The movie chronicles the lives of a handful of exceptional, young ballet dancers competing against the world’s best for a shot at working with the world’s most elite ballet schools. These kids were disgusting. They were so damn good that they made me remember how hard it is to make it as a professional ballet dancer. As hard as I try in my own ballet classes, I know that it is extremely unlikely that I could ever reach that level. But this renewed revelation didn’t drag me down, it reminded me that I come from a different skill set. It’s a skill set that gives me an edge over other dancers and its something that I need to continue to develop even as I look to join the working world of dance. It’s also the angle from which I think I can make a supreme difference. I realize now that I’ll never truly be able to define hip hop dance but I can help refine it and make it academic.
Recently, I choreographed a modern solo that was inspired by hip hop elements. The great part was that the solo was choreographed on someone else; a dancer who comes from a much different background. She is precise and balletic and I completely warped her dance aesthetic into a marriage of modern and hip hop movement. The dance premiered at FSU’s annual “Days of Dance” in which students and faculty share their choreographic endeavors on the same stage. The process and end product were a complete success. The whole experience has now helped me to realize where I should be focusing my main efforts. This is not to say that I’m going to forget my formal training. On the contrary, I will continue to work even harder with it to give me the refinement to continue dancing anyone’s choreography. Here’s a look at my first choreographed solo on another body: