Hip Hop. The 1980s vintage street dance has continued to evolve as a popular form of athletic self-expression among boys and increasingly girls.
“It’s the type of dancing that encourages free styling, improvisation and challenges between dancers,” says Gayle Micca, owner of . “And, that builds confidence.”
Micca was inspired to include Hip Hop in her training repertoire, when she spotted Ivan Becker dancing one day after their Yoga class.
“His style of street dance was not what you typically see in a lot of Hip Hop classes,” observed Micca. “He was improvising as he went along."
Eventually, Micca invited Becker to teach Urban Dance at a Summer Workshop she ran last year at VB/DF, which offered a taste of various dance disciplines.
“Other instructors are trained to teach Urban Dance,” says Micca, “versus actually dancing in the street. Ivan is a natural; a dancer who is able to teach.”
Becker bases his instruction on identifying the particular strengths in each student and then focusing on those, as he encourages self-expression. This method works well with students who either have no former training or training in another dance discipline.
“With dance you get stronger, have more flexibility and coordination,” says Becker. “That’s the athleticism of it. It helps with anything you’re into: skateboarding, weight lifting, yoga; anything you want to do.”
“Lots of dance is very structured,” says Micca. “Ivan likes to focus on individual creativity. He provides a technical foundation, then moves on to students expressing their own style. Students have a chance to both collaborate with the choreography as well as to compete against one another.“
Hip Hop student Brennan Mcdermott enjoys the appreciation of the individual dancer. “The more you get into it and focus on your own particular needs — hip hop, break dance, street dance — you find your own style.”
Some of the other boys in class, discussed how their ability to dance has been used as a tool to move past some of the challenges found in any school experience, including bullying.
Both 8-year-old Sean Miscikoski and 10 1/2 year old Cedar Fillmore felt their ability to dance has been a good way to gain confidence. Although, they acknowledged that not everyone appreciates the athletic ability needed to perform the moves in Hip Hop.
“If people have a problem with it,” concluded 13-year-old Jared Culbertson, “they’re probably just jealous.”
Now, that’s confidence.
The public will get a chance to watch Becker’s Hip Hop team dance on June 1 and 2 when Valley Ballet Dance/Fitness presents, “Changes of Time;” a performance that will also feature students who are studying ballet, modern and jazz dance.
Here’s the Deal
Valley Ballet/DanceFitness Presents: “Changes of Time:” Friday, June 1 at 7:30 to 9 p.m. and June 2, 4 to 5:30 p.m. at Canton High School. $15 for advance tickets. Group rates are available. Call 860-693-6042.
Urban Dance/Hip Hop Training at Valley Ballet/DanceFitness, Saturdays, 11:30 am - 12:30 pm. Boys as well as girls are welcome.