Emily “Incognito” Wessel has been teaching breakdancing classes for both adult and youth students at JOMDC for the past three years. We sat down with her for a short interview about her classes, teaching experience and more!
What makes your classes unique?
Intro to Breakdance (bboy/bgirl) is a unique class because it gives students at any experience level, age or ability the opportunity to experience a style of movement that is both challenging and popular in today’s culture. More importantly it is a style of dance that is not always easy to access quality education in at a level that works for them. We work on moves from various toprock styles, footwork techniques and basic freezes in the very first class, but keep the curriculum at a level that works for everyone to keep in line with JOMDC’s important mission of “Dance is for Everyone.” Of course, acrobatics and other trick moves often seen in this dance are reserved for more advanced classes, students are often surprised that there are quite a few foundational moves in bboying/bgirling (breakdance) that they can get right away. At the very least a student in this class will experience a great workout, challenge their creative spirit and be introduced to a whole community of dedicated people right here in the DC Metro Area that love hip hop, funk and house dance culture.
What is your teaching philosophy?
My teaching philosophy has always been based on a sense of community and participation. Many people feel that breakdance (bboy/bgirl) or hip hop culture is exclusive and have a hard time feeling comfortable finding their place, even though they often have a great love and respect for the music and art. From the very start, I wanted to give access to anyone who was curious or attracted to the culture, music and movement without judgment of their previous experience. We are all creative spirits and can all contribute something beautiful to the culture and history of this dance if given the tools to do so. I feel that everyone who is willing to learn and practice should have those tools available to them. Where you are from, what you do for a living, what you look like or who you know should never be a pre-requisite for dance and if you find yourself in one of my classes you will feel a warm and welcoming community that only wants to spread the knowledge that has been so humbly shared with us over the years.
Please share with us special moments in your teaching career.
Many of my youth students have grown up and are now taking on a more professional role in the dance community. It is always an honor to perform with a past student and to see their hard work pay off when they do an amazing job in a battle or on stage.