Every fall, we bus students from our Motion Express partner schools on a field trip to the Atlas Performing Arts Center for an interactive dance concert. The performance is designed to complement curriculum of weekly dance instruction they receive after school with one of our talented teachers. Last month, 190 students from Eliot Hine Middle School, Washington Middle School for Girls, Stuart Hobson Middle School, and Spingarn High School joined us for “The heART of Hip Hop.”
Our Outreach Manager Quynn Johnson organizes the show so that the audience of teens and tweens learns about hip hop’s roots, elements, and principles, as well as the many diverse styles that make up hip hop dance.
Our resident adult hip hop company DCypher Dance opened and closed the show with their contemporary version of hip hop which incorporates styles from voguing to African. DCypher also engaged the whole audience in a rhythm battle and then brought the three different rhythms together into one polyrhythm
Quynn emceed the show and invited Aysha Upchurch and Baba Malari onstage with her and DJ RBI. Even though hip hop came from New York City, they showed how many of hip hop’s essential moves come from West African dance traditions. Aysha also taught the audience the four principles of hip hop: peace, love, unity and having fun.
B-boys and b-girls from Urban Artistry rounded out the show, grooving with their old-school urban dance styles. DJ RBI spun on his turntables before and after the show, and the entire audience of middle and high schoolers went crazy when he played Justin Bieber!
Before closing the show, DCypher Dance invited students to take a positive risk and join them onstage to learn, rehearse, and perform a short piece of their choreography. As one of the boys who had been onstage left the theater, he commented to his buddy, “That basketball part of the piece was SICK.” For more information about Motion Express, please click here.