Category Archives: In-Depth 2016

Hop In to the Hype! – Final In-Depth Post (#6)

Well, it’s coming to a close again. It’s been a mix and mash of chaotic events the past couple of weeks but I’ve made some significant progress on my In-Depth and started working towards my presentation!

After my last post, I was able to contact Minlyn about setting up a session to learn a few moves. He was kind enough to work with me during a lunch time last week and he showed me a few pretty cool things! He taught me four different moves that you can use in different ways or scenarios:

  • Handstand; can be done stationary or while walking on hands.
  • “Pop and lock”; with the arm over your chest and popping your

    shoulders and upper body side to side or in other ways.

  • One-hand-stand; specifically a kick up with both feet and a grab
    A Stall;

    with your free hand to the closest foot.

  • A “stall”; often referred to as the “baby freeze”, a balance on both hands leveraged on your hips with your feet in the air.

I struggled with most of these moves as they require a lot of strength, and most importantly, practice. They are all breakdancing moves, which is what Minlyn specializes in, and he gave me some tips for practicing them on my own and for how to execute them. For example, with the one-hand-stand, he showed me how you want to enter it from a virtually sideways position like you would a cartwheel. Then it’s just a matter of kicking up as high as you can and maintaining that flat sideways position, not falling to either side or bending over. It was very new for me to try these types of moves but it was a lot of fun because I have always admired breakdancers and their wicked moves. This certainly reinforced the message that it is a lot harder than it looks and this form of dance particularly requires an especially large amount of strength in each individual move.

Breakdancing is also sometimes referred to as “B-Boying” which is a term I heard a lot when I watched So You Think You Can Dance back in the summer/fall! Another cool connection is from a song I heard a lot as a childhood that many people would recognize from Hannah Montanna, an old kids’ show, the Hoedown Throwdown! In probably the most famous part of the song she sings…

Pop it, lock it, polka dot it
Countrify it, hip hop it
Put your hawk up in the sky, move side to side
Jump to the left, stick it, glide

This is pretty cool because I actually know what all of these different words mean now! Pop and lock is basically when you isolate a part of your body in movement while the rest of your bod stays “locked” in place. And gliding is a form of footwork in hip hop or breakdance where you have your weight distributed on your feet so that you can move one of your feet with it looking like it is “gliding” over the floor, almost like anti-gravity.

I have also watched a lot of online videos and picked up quite a few other new moves, many of which are quite complimentary to the tricks Minlyn taught me, or vise versa. I also learnt about the popping,  locking, and gliding that I talked about above in these! I’ve listed a few of the moves I learned below.

  • Lower Body Isolation; turning on your heels either with or without your upper body at the same time, creating a robotic movement.
  • Head and Neck Isolation; a stepping down or up movement of your head separate from your shoulders, you can add different arm movements or positions to it for more emphasis.
  • Arm Roll; the classic, I’ve always wanted to properly learn this so now I have, although it is very difficult as you want to really emphasize the different parts of the motion. You maintain a straight line with your arms that is only broken when the wave arrives at that section.
  • Arm Popping; tensing and releasing of your arm/s for an instant to create a locked position almost like you are being electrocuted.
Basic Glide Footwork;
  • Glide Footwork; I’ve known the basics of this for a long time it turns out, but the tutorials gave me some ideas of how to use it in different ways to move around. You use different weight distributions between your heel and toe to move in circles or just from side to side. I’m definitely excited to apply this move in some cool ways in my performance!
  • and many more…

These have helped me a lot in preparation for planning my performance and they have given me a lot of ideas for some different things I can include! A lot of these are also a more ‘raw’ style of hip hop, as opposed to a more ‘feminine’ type which was what our class was focused on, so this has been really fun getting to try a different sub-genre, so to speak!

I have also just started to plan for my performance! I’ve gotten it down to about five songs but I’m going to leave it for the night for you all to find out as there will be a little bit of a surprise in the music I’m dancing to!

Lastly, our group, Elyssa, Alyssa, and myself, are going to be starting work on our group routine this Sunday and we plan to meet quite a few times over the next few weeks. We will likely also put in some time at school to practice things together. Hopefully this Sunday we can get out song “locked” down and start some choreography together! This will also be a great opportunity for us to share some of the things we have been working on and give each other some support and feedback. We’ll be able to help each other a bit in preparing our performances which I think this will help when it finally comes time to step on that stage and break it down, as I am starting to get pretty nervous about that. It is sure going to be nerve-racking being up there all on my own, but I think if I just focus on having fun and I’ve prepared well then it will turn out fine. Plus, we will be able to practice in front of each other lots to get more comfortable.

So, that’s where I’m at. Hopefully I can “glide” right into my performance without getting “locked” up anywhere. Although if there are some mishaps, which there are sure to be, I’ll just have to find a way to “roll” through them! So for now, until my performance, best wishes to you, and I’ll be hip hopping into the hype of the show!

Spin Around – In-Depth Post #5

Hello again! Well I hope you all had a wonderful break either at home, or away, with friends or family, or on your own. I had a nice get away to refresh myself and I’m back at it for the conclusion of this improvement.

I’m at a bit of a turning point in my project, hence “Spin around”, okay sorry, that was not really even a good pun. Well I finished off my last dance class right before I went away wherein I got to be a part of the video of the dance we have been working on all along! So without further ado, as I’m sure you’re all curious, here’s the link to the video, edited by our instructor Bev Soh, of our dance to the Demi Lovato song Confident!

I’m not in quite as many clips as some of the other dancers as I was not there the first day of filming however it was great that I was able to be a part of this and have this to document what we’ve been working on!

In addition to this over the break I did practice a few times just messing around with some different moves and watching a few videos and trying them out! One particular session, I had a little personal dance workout earlier this week to the musical Hamilton, that many of you have probably heard about, while listening to it for the first time for Social Studies. That was a lot of fun, and it was actually really good practice for some of the different moves that I have seen and just experimenting on my own! I will now be looking to get into a regular practice schedule of at least twice a week for an hour on my own now that my classes with Bev have ended.

This is  not the end of my mentoring however, as I noted at the beginning of this project, I am now on the search for a mentor to guide me through my development in the last couple months of the project or possibly another class that could supplement this role with some extra individual sessions on the side. I have already spent some time looking into some local classes but I am really trying to find an individual who is willing to be my mentor on a regular mentor for these last two months. If you know anyone who might be right for the job please comment below, and I was also recommended a few people recently who I will be trying to contact this weekend.

So for the sake of this week’s blog post I’ll be reflecting on my mentoring relationship with Bev and looking forward to what comes next for me.

What kinds of learning opportunities does the mentor provide to expose you to new learning?

With Bev it was mainly a teaching focus with her at the front of the room and going through the various steps and then the whole dance multiple times as a group. Something unique she used in one of our later classes was peer feedback. This was when half our group performed for the other half without her leading and we gave them feedback, and then we switched.

What kinds of learning opportunities exist to reinforce new learning?

Bev was very good, as I’ve mentioned before, at sending us a video of our most recent rehearsal every week so that we could follow along and practice the dance on our own. This was very useful for reinforcing individual learning because I was able to replay certain parts that I really struggled with and just watch that part closely until I got it. Bev was also supportive and always offered for us to come early to class, especially on the performance(filming) days for extra assistance and review if we needed it.

What kinds of opportunities exist that might accelerate learning?

Some things that are really going to help me know as I try to do more on my own are online tutorials and thus personal practice time. Another opportunity I will be taking advantage of is a fellow classmate who is very skilled in hip hop and breakdance and has agreed to help me out in my project, Minlyn! I will be setting up a session with him for sometime in the next couple of weeks likely as an extra learning session.

When you get together what do you talk about?

Well as I was participating in a class our mentor-mentee relationship was a little different. We didn’t really talk in a one-on-one setting or develop a more personal relationship. I am hoping that this type of individual connection and support is something that I will be able to have with my soon-to-be-unknown mentor.

What is going particularly well in your mentoring relationship right now?

Well, for our classes, I’m done! Not so much that, but rather, I performed! Now it was in a slightly different form than a normal performance but I did have to dance in front of the rest of my class at times and put myself on the internet. This is definitely a good step towards stepping on the stage in my final performance at in-depth night, which, by the way, is not worked out yet, however I believe the three of us are planning on at least a bit of a group dance and definitely live performances in general!

What are you learning about one another?

This is again also something that I didn’t develop much for from my relationship with Bev as I didn’t get to know her very closely. However, I will say that as I mentioned earlier in the project, something that I have learned about Bev is that she is very passionate about dance and that is one of the very important and special things in her life. She is always ready to go and fully energized for our classes and she even brought extra materials for our last class to make sure everyone had accessories that fit the group theme. Not to mention she is the one who takes the time to edit all the clips and angles together to make sure everyone is in it and everyone looks great!

Overall this was a very fun and positive experience for me as my first formal dance training in a while, and it was a great way to introduce me to hip hop and get me going. I hope that I can build on this in the next few weeks and also I will definitely incorporate some of the moves and skills that I learned from this class into my final performance in May!

Have a great week, and remember, there is nothing wrong with being confident!

Slow but Growing Confident – In-Depth Post #4

First of all I want to apologize for such a slow update this past week. From Provincial basketball to poetry all the way back to practicing for our dance video shooting, it has been a little hectic, to say the least. Nonetheless, I have made it, and had a lot of fun along the way! As you may remember at the conclusion of our dance class we are filming a music video of the dance as a means of presenting it to all of you. Unexpectedly, I am now going to be able to be in this video as the group did not finish last week when I had to miss the last class. So I will be able to participate in this fun activity after all, and all of you will get to see a nice polished version of what I’ve been up to so far in my project!

Now for the not so great news, we are finishing the filming tomorrow, which means that unfortunately, again, I will not have the video to show you just yet. Additionally, tech wrecks continued in the saga of our practice dance clips as I again tried, this time transferring directly through a USB with Elyssa, to put some clips online to show you. Yet again, the videos would not cooperate. Therefore, it will be the next post, and I promise the next post, that I will have a solid video representation of the dance we have been working hard on!

So in the meantime, I had to get some practicing in. As I realized I hadn’t been at it with the dance for a little bit of time now. Bev has been an amazing mentor by staying in touch with me and keeping me up to date on any changes. She let me know that the class in fact would be filming a bit more and so I could be in it! She has also been super helpful by filming a video of our dance every week at class and sending it to us to practice with. I especially used this past week as I needed to practice up and remember it all again for the filming. This is however, as you have likely concluded, the last week that I will be partaking in this class. Well, the last class was actually last week, but additional filming has made a slight extension. Nonetheless I guess you could say that our mentor-mentee relationship is in the “coming to closure” stage, as Zachary in our mentorship book calls it. I am really looking forward to putting it all together tomorrow and seeing how it turns out. And it appears as though a little break has gained me some understanding of the dance. Funny how that works sometimes. So after some touchups, I think I’m feelin’ pretty confident! Hey, Confident, isn’t that the name of the song we’re doing? Yup, it sure is!

Throughout my learning of our dance to Demi Lovato’s Confident, there have been a few challenges, but one in particular is that there isn’t much time to learn it in the classes. This is obviously to do with the fact that it is a class and so we are limited to how much time we have the space. For the most part it hasn’t really been a problem but with certain parts of the dance, for example the ending which has a lot of fast footwork, I have struggled a little to keep up. I have however been able to make some of this up in some practicing on my own and also with Elyssa and Alyssa.

Something that has been working very well throughout this process is my knowledge of different dance moves and ability to do them. The latter is more obvious, but in terms of the former we have been covering a lot of difference dance moves that are incorporated into our dance, as well as some additional ones that we use in our warm-up at the start of class. In turn, because of the repetitions that we are doing these in, I am improving my ability at each of the moves and also my understanding of some basic concepts in Hip Hop, such as how to hold yourself and how to portray different attitudes. This is all because of how experienced Bev is and what a strong leader and teacher she is of our class. She puts a lot of effort in to her dance, as I have mentioned before, and so it makes it easier to see what we should be doing to show the emotion we want and really make it look good.

Finally, something that could work better, that relates to the one main challenge I’ve had, is the amount of one on one teaching. When you are in a class you don’t notice it so much but when the three of us really worked together on some sections that we struggled with you could see how this form of teaching can be very effective and helpful. This aspect is 100% because I am in a class nonetheless I would like to say that I have been getting a very good experience and education from this, especially as my first real dance class. The next stage in my project is to start working with an individual mentor on a regular basis. So as soon as I come back from spring break I will be looking for the person to fill that spot. This will allow me to really focus on areas of Hip Hop that I want to, and even areas that I’m not necessarily struggling with but am just interested in exploring a little more.

Another aspect I will be looking to do more of, which I have started to get into a little more in the past week, is watch and try some online tutorials for various songs, and from various teachers. This will be a fun way to expose myself to some different styles and levels of Hip Hop in working towards my final presentation.

I hope all of you have a wonderful spring break and I’m going to go show some confidence tomorrow in that dance! (Which will be viewable in my next blog post online!) Thanks!

(Note: Written from Friday, March 11th, night)

Steppin’ It Up – In-Depth Post #3

Well the past couple weeks have been busy as always, but they have also been busier on the dance front! My classes continued with my hip hip class mentor Bev and I think I have made some steps in my confidence and capabilities in our group dance!

I had two more classes with Alyssa and Elyssa at Room To Move and I am proud to say that we have almost choreographed the entire song! I should say, however, that we are only doing a one and a half minute trimmed down version. Nonetheless, this is certainly an accomplishment! As I may or may not have mentioned before, we are dancing to the song Confident by Demi Lovato in our class and are going to be filming a music video of our dance at our last class, which is only two weeks away! These classes are going by so quickly! The song has its challenges with a fairly quick beat, meaning that some of the moves are a little difficult up to pace. I have been keeping up with it pretty well in classes but I wanted a chance to really practice it out in a relaxed environment. So, this morning, Alyssa, Elyssa, and I got together at Elyssa’s house for a little over an hour to practice it together lots! We also wanted to use this time to film some clips of our dance so we can show you some of our moves and progress, however, unfortunately there were some technical difficulties in uploading them today. We filmed multiple clips of us individually doing the dance as well as together in one group however it seems that computers have caused us agony today and are not willing to support our learning as well as our mentor does! I will post again soon with the videos once Elyssa and the continual confrontation with computers have sorted themselves out.

Now for the mentoring. Bev is not going to be my mentor for the entire project, however, for the time being she is my teacher and guide in learning. So, with that in mind, here’s to address a few things about how our mentor relationship is going.

Obviously Bev is quite a bit older than me, so you could say, contextually, we are from “different generations”. In some cases this could be an issue when communicating openly with each other, however I have found that because Bev is so friendly and relatable, as I mentioned in my previous post, this hasn’t really been an issue. With that in mind I would say our mentor relationship is going well.

To answer question one of this week’s mentor relationship topics, “What went particularly well during your mentor sessions?” I would say that first of all, I have made a lot of progress! Some contributing factors to this are definitely that I am getting more comfortable with myself and also with the people around me.  As we have now had a couple of classes, the environment is starting to become more familiar along with the other people in my class and things are becoming a sort of habit. Meaning, for example, that we have our spots in the room we always stand and we know the people who talk more and who talk less in classes.

From this I have been also able to communicate better with my mentor. For example, this past week, when we were running through our dance one more time at the end of class and some of the people for the next class were waiting outside I was feeling a little uncomfortable with them watching a little through the door (I stand right beside the door). With a little encouragement from Elyssa, I wasn’t afraid to ask if I could close the door for that run through, just to make it a little less awkward. Of course Bev said that was fine, but this made me a little more comfortable practicing it that last time.

“What learning challenges emerged?”As with anything we do, the learning is only valuable if we can retain the knowledge that we have gained. This is especially important in dance as any final product relies on the memorization of not only how to do a skill, but also when and where to do it. As I said before, I have been keeping up fairly well in classes with the pace of the learning and the moves we are doing, this is a beginner class after all, but I am still not quite as confident as I should be to really do all the moves justice. To hold myself accountable for this I suggested that we (Elyssa, Alyssa, and I) meet to run through it a few times in a more relaxed environment. This was nice to do because I am good friends with both Elyssa, and Alyssa so I think we all felt more comfortable running through it and working out a couple weak spots in certain moves, like the hip sways at the start of the routine for example. Part way through our rehearsal today the three of us just stood in a mini circle and swung our hips back and forth for about five minutes and evaluated each other from head to shoulders to feet. I must say that this was very effective because by the end of it I was looking a lot more “Confident” in my posture, position, and presentation of the hip sways!

Bev has also been sending us videos, that we record of our dance each week at the end of class, to practice with. I am not sharing these because they have our entire class in them and I do not have everyone’s permission. This is another very helpful thing that Bev does to improve our communication and help us out in our improvement given the tight timeline. I have been able to practice at least a couple times each week with these videos on my own at home in a little spare time.

Question four, “What logical challenges affected your communication?”, brings out a couple things that are specific to the class environment that I am in right now. This includes, the number of people in the class, and how little time we spend working together. Though there are only around 10 people in the class, it isn’t a one on one setting and therefore some little details or moves that I could use a little help and improvement with I don’t always ask about. Not only would this take far too long if everyone asked about everything, but it would also be unnecessary for people to learn about things that they might be very good at already. Nonetheless, I recognize that this is only a class and I will be moving on to hopefully a strong mentorship in a one on one setting later in the project. And for the time being, I have been able to work through most of the little issues with things like hip sways and body rolls on my own and with some help from my fellow learners from TALONS!

It is also difficult in this class setting because we only meet for one hour each week. Which it turns out, goes by very quickly! One minute we’re step touching in warm up and the next we’re running it through from the top reviewing everything we learned on the day. However, as they say, ‘time flies when you’re having fun’, so surely it’s a good thing that this is the case.

Well that’ll be about it for now, however I’ll be back soon with some clips of what I’ve been up to as soon as possible! I’ve been having a lot of fun with this project so far and I hope I can sway into our final classes and video presentation just as smoothly!

The First Step – In-Depth Post #2

One step to the right, and spin around on your left foot, and here we are again!

Yup, here we are, right back at the start of in-depth and jumping right into it all, literally. This week was the real beginning, and a very big week for me. I had my first dance class! Well not my first ever, but let’s just say it’s been at least ten years since the last so, this was certainly a change. And can I start by saying that it was so much fun! I went in to the class unsure of what to expect and a little bit nervous, as you might expect. Nevertheless, I came out bounding with excitement and ready to move, which I will be doing a lot more of in the near future!

My class was at the Room to Move Dance and Fitness Centre in Port Coquitlam, and it was taught by my current mentor Bev Soh.

Credit: Richie Lubaton

Fun fact: it turns out me and Elyssa were taught by “Mme Soh” as a TOC in our grade seven class! Further, she even taught us some dance in PE! It was very funny when we all realized where we had seen each other before when we were introducing ourselves before the start of the class.

One of the things that I found really helpful in making my first class so enjoyable was the people I was with. First off, being with a few of my friends was certainly a factor that allowed me to be more comfortable. As I mentioned earlier, in my first post, I am doing this project somewhat alongside my fellow learners Alyssa and Elyssa, I know, the pair of names is great right? None of us have done any dance in very recent history, at least to my knowledge, and so we are all kind of “in the same boat” on this adventure. After just this first experience I can tell that having these two other people to talk to for feedback and support is going to be very useful throughout the project, and also make it a lot of fun!

Credits to Mira
Credits to Mira

Additionally, Mira, also in our TALONS class, is also in our hip hop class! However, she is not doing dance for her in-depth project but rather just takes this class from time to time with her mom. She was actually the one who recommended us to this class and teacher, and let me just say, it was a very good recommendation.

At this point, Bev is my main mentor. At the conclusion of these classes, or possibly earlier, I will begin to work with another mentor who will help me for the remainder of the project in achieving my goals. I am hoping to really look for someone in the next couple of weeks to be my next mentor. With any luck I’ll have them by my next post! Nonetheless, for the time being I am in the hands of a very talented and experienced dancer herself, and that is our Hip Hop class teacher, Bev Soh.

To speak to some of the topics discussed in this week’s introduction to mentorship skills and the background of our in-depth mentor, Bev has a wealth of knowledge spurring from many different experiences that have led her to be the skilled dancer and teacher she is now. She started out with a bachelor’s degree in Art and Education at SFU. From there she has gone on to become a dancer in the BC Lions Felions Dance Team, and danced at the 2008 Grey Cup in Montreal. Another notable achievement was dancing at the Closing Ceremonies of the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. Bev has experience in many different dance areas too, so her skills and expertise go well above just the basics. She has also been a part of many other dance groups and become an experienced dance teacher, adjudicator, and choreographer over the years as well. You can find more information on her background on her personal website here.  Finally, as I mentioned earlier in this post that I was actually taught by her as a substitute teacher, she has experience teaching young students and in a classroom and learning environment. Although this isn’t the same as teaching a dance class, it can be very similar, and many of the skills that help her be an outgoing and involved substitute teacher also help her be a successful teacher to newcomers to her passion.

Most importantly, that’s what it is, her passion. Dance is something that she has obviously worked her whole life for and it shows in the work that she does. Though we did not directly talk to Bev about what these experiences were like for her, as we are only taking her class, you can tell that they have all made her the amazing dancer she is now and built on something she loves doing.  You can see in the way that she teaches the class, even to a first-time-beginner like myself, that she is having fun! That is the most important thing, in dance and in anything, you have fun! That is probably the biggest piece of ‘wisdom’ I have learnt from Bev so far. By extension, having fun allows you to let loose more in your dance and just go for it, because it’s not so much about what other people think, it’s about what you think, and feel, and that is what makes it look good. Mind you, I should add that I have also started to learn the difficult skill of body rolling, which I struggled with a little in middle school, to say the least. We had to follow a dance to a song that we found online for a presentation in PE in grade 8, and lets just say my body roll wasn’t the most pleasing to the eye. So we’re off to a good start with the dance there too!

Some of the things I have learnt so far from Bev in terms of how to be a good mentor and facilitating learners also involve having fun and also being positive and energetic in what you do. Some of the first things I noticed about Bev were that she was very kind, friendly, and welcoming. I was kind of expecting such an experienced dancer to be more formal and expecting of us per say, but Bev was very open and supportive to everyone in the group. Because of her energy and positive attitude, it became a very casual atmosphere which really helped me feel comfortable in trying all these new moves and steps, and dance in general. She also treated everyone like she’d known them for a long time and also like we all knew the space well and had been there before, casually saying we could all grab a chair to get started on the choreography. Though this may seem a little too informal, it actually kind of makes you feel that way about yourself, that you know her and should feel comfortable with her and also everyone there. It plays with your mind. This is a really important skill when working with other people and when mentoring people who may be uncomfortable or unsure of themselves and what they are doing.

Further, I noticed that she always had an eye out for people in the class who needed some extra help on a move, and she gave extra instruction and support when it was needed. For example, when we started on the body rolls, and I think she noticed I was giggling a bit in a little self-conscious and nervous state, she spent an extra minute or so explaining how they work, recognizing that I hadn’t really done them before, or at least, didn’t know how. I must say also that her skill in looking out for everyone is quite remarkable in this setting as we are a group of about 10 in a room and she is facing away from us. She can see us all in the mirror at the front of the room but she is also dancing at the same time to lead us. It’s quite a talent!

Something else that really helped me in my first outing, was how she started. Once we were all in the room and had finished introducing ourselves with our names. She cranked up some music and started our warm up, shouting out to make sure we were spaced and to just follow along. This impromptu style made it a lot easier for me because otherwise I would have been very nervous and shy to start. It could have taken me a long time to get going, but this just forced me into it without giving me time to think.

These are all some great skills that I think I can take forward to help me if I ever become a mentor for someone or am ever helping someone in the future in general. They are also some great techniques in terms of facilitating all the learners in a group.

Well it certainly was a great start to my project this week. Thanks to some efficient mentoring and teaching, we were able to get a little ahead in learning the choreography to the song Confident that you can look forward to seeing a video of at the end of these classes! I also hope to get some small practice clips of myself up soon.

I hope next brings just as much excitement and I’ll be ready to slide in to the next move!

A Hip, Hop, and a Jump into In-Depth – 2016

Well, another year has come and gone and here we are again at the start of another adventure. It seems such a long time ago that I was flipping up crêpes on In-Depth Night in May last year. I have so many good memories from that project and night and I hope that I can create even more during my new journey this year!

When deciding my project last year, though I did so somewhat hastily and unknowingly, I made it my goal to do one in-depth project in the “presenting” format, and one in the “performing” format. So, as due course, as last year I presented my fresh baked goods at a table for all to enjoy, this year I challenged myself to choose something wherein I would conclude my study with a performance in front of all the guests. With this in mind, there were a couple different ideas that popped up  throughout the course of my decision. I thought of drumming, as I enjoy music and had fun when I got a small taste of the art last year in Beginner Guitar 11. I thought of song-writing, as I had been considering it for a while as something that I want to develop more, along with my guitar playing skills. Then finally, I decided on  hip hop dance.


Hip Hop is something that I have wanted to try for a very long time, way back to when I did musical theatre outside of school in grades three and four and heard about some classes. I also figured that all my other ideas would be things that I would likely be willing to try on my own more later in life, whereas hip hop I thought I might need this extra push and tight support group to get me going. So off I went!


Though I wouldn’t consider myself well practised or experienced, I have danced a little, on a spur the moment basis from time to time, and I have a lot of fun when I do so. My mom has reminded me that I did in fact take some dance classes when I was just a little girl. I participated in the “Tiny Tutus” Ballet class at a studio and also took some tap classes for a little bit. However, those weren’t really my thing, or at least those types of dance weren’t, and I drifted over more into sports.

Over the years I have wanted to go back and try some new types of dance, and see what might or could happen if I really went for it and felt confident about myself trying it. So, when I thought about this project, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to give it a shot, and try something that I really want to and think I will have a lot of fun doing! I was still a little nervous about this though as I’m really stepping out of my comfort zone so I asked around to see what other people were thinking of doing. Turns out, two Alyssa and Elyssa both wanted to do hip hop too!

Thanks to some connections from a classmate the three of us had ourselves signed up in a beginner hip hop dance class where you learn and create routines in a music video format. Ultimately we film the product instead of performing it in front of an audience. The class will be starting at the beginning of February at Room to Move Dance and Fitness, and that will be my primary base and starting point of learning for my project. From there I hope to build in different areas of hip hop as the project goes on.

Bev Soh, credits, Dion Farrell

At this point, my main mentor will be my dance teacher Bev Soh. Bev is highly experienced in dance and choreography and was recommended as a very nice teacher for beginners! Our class will be taking place with Bev for five Tuesdays, over the course of which we will learn and then film a routine to the song Confident by Demi Lovato! You can check out Bev’s info on her website here!

Leading up to this class, I plan on watching a few online tutorials and videos of hip hop and trying some out on my own, just to get a bit of a feel for it before I jump in the deep end head first. The group of us may also meet a few times to try out some things together.

Following the class, I will work continuously with a different mentor, whom I will find prior to the conclusion of the sessions, until the end of the project. I also plan to meet with some other friends and possible new experts who can help me out with some moves in certain styles of hip hop. I hope to learn more about what some of those different genres are throughout the project and incorporate them into my final performance on in-depth night! A couple styles that I am particularly interested in trying, even though they are extremely difficult, are called animation and krump.

I first heard of and saw these styles on an online video in the late spring last year of a contestant auditioning for the TV series/competition So You Think You Can Dance. I was absolutely blown away by what the contestant did in her routine and so I had to follow up and watch the whole season. She ended up making it to the final round and came second place overall, which I was very excited about!

Credits alhakam tefour on YouTube

Now this show, does a tour, for all of the top ten dancers, all across the United States and Canada. Originally I had a conflict with the performances in Vancouver, which were last weekend, but at the last minute I realized that I was now able to go as I no longer had the conflict! This I was also very excited about.

So naturally I asked my fellow hip hop in-depth dancers if they wanted to do with me, along with some other friends who I thought might be interested. Fortunately, Elyssa and I were able to get tickets only a couple days before the event and we attended the show last Saturday night in Abbotsford!

We were able to capture a couple(low quality) clips of the show on my phone which I have uploaded two of my favourites of to YouTube for you to see!

Here is my favourite, Jaja Vankova, the krumpist! This was her solo, sorry for the bad quality, and also don’t mind me cheering enthusiastically at the end of the clip!

And here is another hip hop clip of one of my favourite intense routines from the season which they performed at the concert as well! This one includes the two contestants Virgil Gadson and Eddie “Neptune” Eskridge, who, like Jaja, were all a part of the Street Team on this season’s “Stage Vs. Street” format!

This outing turned out to be a great introduction to my in-depth project as it got me very excited about dance and especially hip hop again after watching the season earlier in the year, and inspired to go and get going myself! It was a very fun evening as I hope this project will be, and also something very new for me, as if you can call this a concert, it would be my first (other than WeDay).

I hope this is the start of a very fun adventure with lots of new things and challenges too! So now, here I go, hip, hop, and jumping into my next in-depth journey!