Street Dance & Commercial Hip Hop Workshop - January 2012
24 January 2012
A fantastic time was had by all on Sunday 15th January at St Paul’s College, Sunbury on Thames. Laura Rampton reviews the day.
It has been exactly one year since the DFR Faculty presented their new and eagerly anticipated Street Dance & Commercial Hip Hop Syllabus. At the launch day in January 2011, both Dance Sport and Theatre trained teachers were extremely keen and enthusiastic to see the type of work that would be suitable when entering pupils for examinations.
One year on and the same hall was busy with excited and eager teachers who were all once again looking forward to the day ahead. The DFR Faculty Chairman Yvonne Taylor-Hill warmly welcomed everyone and wished all the teachers a very enjoyable day.
Amy Lewis kick-started the day with the important task of warming everybody up, which she did thoroughly. Her choice of warm up music was upbeat and lively which had all the teachers feeling awake, motivated and ready for the day’s first lecture.
“Had a really fantastic day at the Street Workshop today! The teachers were amazing, now very tired but very inspired!”
Alex ‘Mechanikool’ Peters was first on stage to give his lecture on Popping. Alex shared so much in terms of background information and the history of this particular dance form that the teachers had a strong sense of where the style first started and how Popping came about. Alex demonstrated a series of very short Popping actions, relating each one to everyday movements which seemed to be of help when we as teachers tried to perform them ourselves. Alex went on to explain how the form of Popping can be interpreted as a character when danced by an individual. He also explained how there should be ‘intention behind the movement’, giving references to the late Michael Jackson. Every dance action Michael Jackson made had an intention behind it; making us, the audience, sit up and take notice of such an epic performer
Next up to the stage was DFR Faculty Committee member, Nigel Kirk, who displayed effervescent enthusiasm and energy throughout his routine. Nigel had 15 minutes to demonstrate and teach a Street routine that was suitable for Bronze & Below. The routine was full of isolation, strong body movements and energy which made the routine a pleasure to dance. The routine was indeed ideal for Bronze & Below and I for one, like many others teachers, am looking forward to teaching that to my students.
The teachers were left absolutely buzzing with enthusiasm and a real sense of achievement after Nigel’s lecture and just had time to get their breath back before the next lecturer, Fred Realness was welcomed on to the stage. As soon as Fred started to begin his lecture on Locking it was apparent that he was a very experienced man with a wealth of knowledge. He spoke with clarity, passion and openness about Locking and gave us such an insight into the background and history of this particular genre. To describe the ambiance that Fred created around himself is that of total respect. His lecture was informative yet easy going and laid back which enabled all the teachers, both of Dance Sport and Theatre Faculties, the confidence to join in with him and try Locking.
He allowed us to understand the time period of when Locking style began and the importance of having ‘Dance within movement’. He urged all teachers to have a feeling of ‘Soul’ within dancing and whilst mirror-imaging Fred you soon realised that without conscious effort you too were dancing the basics of Locking. He concluded his lecture in such a way that is was almost a celebration of dance and a coming togetherness of a group of people who had indeed a common interest and a common ground. As the teachers (and lecturers) all gathered round to form a Soul Train down the middle of the hall, they all paired up and took their turn to freestyle their way down the line. I still smile now at that image of how Fred who 45 minutes earlier, had not met any of those teachers, yet had them all dancing together and with ‘Soul’.
“What an inspirational day! Amazing teachers that covered so much. I now just have to practise my B boy style! a lot! Thank you so much for your expertise and support Suzanne Hammond and Yvonne Taylor-Hill. Can't wait for the September Congress.”
The last lecturer before lunch was the fabulous Samantha Vale who has been working extremely hard alongside the DFR Faculty Committee in assisting with the new Syllabus and Glossary of Technical Terms. Sam who had only 4 weeks previously became a first time mother was looking fantastic! Sam has a way of teaching that makes you feel you can achieve. She is extremely positive, patient and is very clear when demonstrating or alternatively when giving explanations. Her enthusiasm for her work comes across clearly and you find yourself giving that extra 10% just to please her as she is overwhelming encouraging.
Sam’s demonstrator Rosie danced the Silver Street routine with attack, precision and attitude. There was an obvious leap in movement variation from the earlier Bronze routine to the Silver. However as teachers this gives us the material and knowledge required for a student to have a solid Silver routine that is needed at this particular exam level.
It was soon time for lunch and the teachers had surely danced up an appetite. We were lucky enough to watch a ‘Crew Showcase’ by ‘JP Crew’ during the end of the break and it was a real treat. The dancers, both girls and boys of varying ages demonstrated Street dance to a very high standard. It was wonderful to watch the children and young adults enjoying their dancing and performance.
Next, DFR Faculty Committee member, Amanda Hughes, took the teachers through the Syllabus Outline, clearly explaining in great detail the medal test system and what was required for each exam. I personally thought this was of huge benefit to particularly those teachers from the Theatre Faculties who are perhaps more used to a Grades style examination.
Next to lecture was Dennis Victory on Silver Street Pairs. The teachers eagerly paired up, all feeling a little more confident in knowing a new face after the earlier ‘Soul Train’ with Fred.. The routine was fun, energetic, and quirky with challenging levels of choreography. I stood back for a visual perspective and watched as the couples performed the finished routine, it looked very impressive!
The teachers at this stage of the day were performing outstandingly all giving 110% which I can imagine made it more rewarding for the lecturers to see their choreography danced with such effort and enthusiasm.
Sasha Biloshitsky, the BBOY of the day, was keen to get all the teachers up and involved in all his tricks. He portrayed such core strength, power, fluidity of movement and above all amazing body control in each and every action. To watch him move from one position to another in the way he did was amazing, he made it look so effortless and easy which of course we found out its far from that. Through dedicated years of hard work and determination Sasha has become the outstanding BBOY that he is. I applaud all the teachers that allowed themselves to give in to all their inhibitions and who tried the various BBOY actions, movements and tricks. Sasha was extremely attentive and patient in his lecture and gave encouragement to all who participated.
Moving up a stage from the Silver routine earlier was the next lecturer Sheralee Ferguson who was going to demonstrate a Gold routine. Sheralee had an obvious passion for dance and the routine was exciting and exuberant to watch. The teachers were reminded yet again by the Gold movement content that it was a most certainly a step up in terms of choreography from the Silver. Sheralee’s routine for Gold was strong, fluid, isolated and full of sharp actions and movements alike that would surely challenge any Gold pupil. The teachers were yet again right up to par listening and absorbing all of Sheralee’s explanations and attention to detail. I did notice how she was very keen to make sure everybody felt confident on the steps and movements before moving on to the next bar. This I am sure was very much appreciated by all the teachers who were all trying just so incredibly hard.
“Fabulous Street & Hip Hop Workshop day at St Pauls College today!”
“Having a fantastic day at the street workshop today, brilliant and inspiring teachers & lecturers!”
Our last lecturer of the day was Maria Swainson who performed a very upbeat Commercial routine. Maria was absolutely fantastic when explaining each bar of movement and how every action should be executed. It was a routine that had modern content which is currently used by those young students on the Commercial auditioning circuit. The whole room had such an electric atmosphere and the abundance of smiling faces represented the feeling of accomplishment and achievement by all.
Amy Lewis concluded the day with a cool down which was necessary after the intense day of dancing that all the teachers had.
Overall it had been a superb day full of guidance, teaching material, fantastic ideas and most of all the intention and enthusiasm from the teachers who were clearly looking forward to teaching the new material to their pupils.
On behalf of all the teachers I would like to say, ‘Thank you’, to the DFR Faculty Committee who have invested so much time and effort into producing such a thorough and specialist Syllabus.
Report by Laura Rampton
Street Dance Workshop in the North
Another morning workshop is planned for Sunday 15th July 2012 at Horbury School, Horbury near Wakefield. Keep checking back for more details!