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So you wanna take a HIP-HOP class?


Inspired to take a hip-hop class by "Pure Spirit and Sheer Joy" on page 60? Here are some tips from AleKsa Chmiel of Rennie Harris/Puremovement to help you get started.

* First off, know that there's a difference between funk and hip-hop. Most dancing in MTV-style music videos (think Janet Jackson, Jennifer Lopez, TLC) is funk, not hip-hop--which is more ideosyncratic and improvisational. Many "hip-hop" classes offered in gyms are really funk.

* Because there's currently no certification course, it's important to talk to the teacher before you take a class to make sure its really hip-hop. Here are some basic terms which should help get that conversation rolling: breaking, bboying (pronounced "bee boying"), house, capoeira, popping, and locking.

* You know you're in a good hip-hop class when you're learning the basic moves and also learning about the history of hip-hop--specifically, the who, when, and where behind the particular techniques. Respect for the creators should be part of the class.

* Since hip-hop is a dance form created by men, savvy teachers will show women how they can use their weight proportions (lower center of gravity) effectively to master the moves. While hip-hop requires considerable upper-body strength, proper balance of weight is crucial.

* Be aware that every teacher will have a different style, since ingenuity and creativity are an integral part of hip-hop culture. Part of being an inspirational teacher is being able to put moves together in a new way.

To learn more about hip-hop, log on to and call Rennie Harris/Puremovement at (215) 629-1969, or e-mail
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Title Annotation:'Pure Spirit and Sheer Joy' hip-hop class by Aleksa Chmiel of Rennie Harris/Puremovement
Author:Forster, Stephanie
Publication:Dance Magazine
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Aug 1, 1999
Previous Article:The Thinking Man's Jazzman.
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