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Cross-Training Benefits: Hip Hop Classes

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Last week we covered the myriad ways that ballet lessons can benefit your dancing. Today, let’s take a look at it’s polar opposite: Hip hop. Despite their differences however, much of what you can learn from hip hop classes carry over into ballet, and beyond. Let’s take a look, shall we?

1. Hard and Soft Movements.

Many hip hop styles mix sharp or jerky movements (like popping and locking), with more fluid arm and body waves. This variation of movement naturally works wonders for improving your coordination and body control.

2. Endurance.

Anyone who’s taken hip hop classes knows it burns some SERIOUS calories. Move over Zumba – this is a great dance to teach you to go harder, for longer.

3. Balance.

Many styles of hip hop, especially more acrobatic ones like B-Boying, require a very strong awareness of your centre of gravity. Even smaller movements need it, so you can change directions quickly with the music.

4. Rhythm.

Speaking of the pace of the music, expect to move on the half-beats, the quarter-beats, and even the eighth and sixteenth-beats. Hitting all those accents helps you get intimately acquainted with the innards of a song, so you can more easily spot and follow it’s patterns.

5. Musicality.

Hip hop classes teach you to express those accents in different ways – to draw out a slide for a long note, for example. This helps bring the music to life.

6. Isolations.

As with ballet, hip hop classes teach a lot about moving one set of muscles independently of the others. The focus is less on subtle positional changes however, and more on larger movements that call attention to different parts of the body.

7. Creativity.

FACT: There are over twelve kinds of hip hop alone, each expressing movement in greatly different ways. This incredible variety of moves allows a virtually limitless amount of funky styling opportunities for any dance.

8. Character Acting.

Good swagger is just as important as good technique in a hip hop class. Playing a “bad-ass” type through your moves isn’t just fun; it let’s you express a confidence and assertiveness you might not feel comfortable bringing out outside of class.

No doubt about it – hip hop classes have a lot to offer any dancer. If you’d like to know more, drop in on Derick Robinson’s class at the Joy of Dance Centre, every Monday from 7-8:30pm or 8:30-10pm, or call 416-406-3262 for more information.

Next week, let’s switch gears and look at a more emotional form of dance: Contemporary.

About the Author

Ian Crewe has been dancing ballroom for over 18 years, and has a Licentiate in American smooth and rhythm. His passion for dance eventually led him to blogging and the World Wide Web. Ian currently teaches at the Joy of Dance Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada.

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