Street Dance & Commercial Hip Hop Workshop
22 March 2013
Laura Rampton and Mary Grigg report on another successful day of dance in Swindon
As 9:30am approached it was wonderful to see so many familiar faces turn up to support the Teachers’ Street Dance Workshop on 3rd February 2013. We were all going to be treated to a wonderful day of a genre so popular and current that it creates busy classes and studios all over the country and the world.
The day’s workshop was being led by the industry’s finest in terms of style, knowledge, credibility, experience and passion. Both Samantha Vale and Dennis Victory are a regular duo when it comes to lecturing at such events and have become extremely popular professionals amongst the teachers.
After DFR Faculty Chairman, Yvonne Taylor-Hill had warmly welcomed everybody, it was time to take to the floor and warm up with Dennis leading from the front. After a good 15 minutes warm up and stretch, all the teachers appeared in good spirits and eager to start on the choreography.
The first dance of the day was specifically tailored and choreographed for a beginner dancer. Sam first performed the routine to music and then broke it down into bars for the camera, both facing and away so we could at a later date learn at our own pace if a reminder was needed. The teachers learned the routine in good time while clearly portraying their own enjoyment of this particular style. Sam has such a gentle and reassuring way of teaching that you always feel you can ask her to repeat a step or go over a section that you are unsure of and she does it without any hesitation.
“The routine was full of syllabus steps and looked absolutely brilliant when performed by the teachers”
Dennis and Sam next spoke in great detail about the ‘Locking’ section of the glossary, giving both descriptions and demonstrations. For those who actively hold classes in Street Dance and Commercial Hip Hop, you too will appreciate how useful this was; it was pure gold dust in terms of teaching material.
Then, with his abundance of enthusiasm and energy, Dennis demonstrated his Intermediate routine, breaking it down afterwards so that we can easily identify the steps and movements when we go to re-learn the dance at a later date. The routine was full of syllabus steps and looked absolutely brilliant when performed by the teachers. I was thoroughly impressed with the amount of effort on display and thought everybody had really enjoyed learning the dance.
For the second time during the day we were able to listen and absorb as Sam and Dennis explained and demonstrated steps and movements this time from the ‘Popping’ section of the glossary. I am sure many teachers would agree with me that it is so helpful to see the steps performed and broken down in segments. Of course we are able to read the glossary ourselves but all of us, at times, just need a little reassurance and guidance.
Sam was up next to demonstrate and teach her Advanced routine and it looked fantastic! Considering the level of the choreography, I thought the teachers flew through the dance and performed it with control, sharpness, execution yet suppleness and fluidity.
Dennis and Sam then spent the next twenty minutes with the teachers talking over the Bboy specifics and demonstrating the various ways to dance the ‘6 Step’ amongst many other particular movements.
As the workshop came to a close, Sam formed the group into two lines down the middle of the hall where a ‘soul train’ was gathered. Each couple had to freestyle their way down the middle of the aisle, with many teachers referring to the steps and movements that had been taught earlier that day. It was really warming to see so many people enjoying themselves. The day was so informative, interesting and full of detailed demonstrations and explanations that will help us all when we return to our classes! I think the teachers particularly appreciated the practical parts of the workshop, which allowed everyone to join in and ask any question which was relevant to what we were being taught.
The atmosphere was brilliant. The teachers had taken the time to really absorb all the information put before them and had tried so hard to learn the new routines from Beginner to Advanced as well as the breakdown of the glossary.
On behalf of the DFR Faculty Committee, a huge well done and thank you for your support and enthusiasm. We hope that you all enjoyed your day and that you will look forward to teaching your new routines to your pupils.
Having taught ISTD Modern Theatre, Tap and Jazz, the Street Dance Day sounded fresh and exciting. I was aware that the Street Dance scene was a growing market but did not feel fully comfortable with the genre as things had moved on since my college training and Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation!
The Street Dance Day was presented by teachers who specialise in the foundations of the genre and are at the top of the scene including Locking, Popping, MJ Style, Bboy. The history of Street Dance was explained, each style being broken down into manageable sections. It was amazing how much training was packed into one day.
Since my first workshop day, the DFR Faculty has advised, supported and guided me through my first examination session and welcomed me with open arms. I studied with Suzanne Hammond, who guided me through the Medal Test structure and study notes. As a Modern Theatre girl, it did take some time to get my head around the different examinations, for instance, the One Dance Test, the accessibility and universal aspects of the Social Dance Test, and the diversity of style in routines towards the higher-end Medal Tests.
Because the ISTD Street Dance & Commercial Hip Hop syllabus is universal and all-encompassing, there is now an examination for every student at my school. I have children who are ‘once-a- weekers’, newcomers and children with ADHD, PDA and autism and over 35 boys. I love the freedom and creativity of choreographing and love the ability to pass on the syllabus, solid Street Dance knowledge and correct vocabulary, although it is ever-evolving. Thank you ISTD DFR Faculty – the children love it!