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It’s already the 16th week update, which means the project is drawing to an end. Luckily, there is still a little over a month left before In-depth night when we will be presenting. During this blog post, I’ll be giving a brief overview of what I plan on doing in replacement of a learning centre, as well as providing an update on the lessons with Lyndsey.

I have discussed the final presentations with Anne and Elyssa, and so far we are still planning to perform both an individual and group routine on stage. Originally, we agreed on each doing a 2 minute individual routine, in addition to a 3 minute group routine. However, due to lack of time since many people intend on presenting on stage, we will have to adjust our entire presentation to fit within 6 minutes (or 2 minutes each.) This means that we will most likely have about 1-1.5 minutes to perform our individual routine and 1.5-2 minutes for our group routine. No matter how long each routine is, I still have a general idea about what I would like to have ready by May 30th. I would like to create a full 3 minute routine with the guidance of my mentor, Lyndsey, that I will be performing on stage (or at least an excerpt). I have several songs that I am deciding between; however, I am still open for any suggestions! Anne, Elyssa and I will be choreographing the group routine together, and we are planning on performing this after presenting each of our individual routines as a finale. Now that there is only about a month left, we should start choreographing the final routines as soon as possible.

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The lessons are continuing to move along quite well. During our last session, we started by reviewing what I learned since last class. I explained that I had researched Harbour Dance Studio and found out about the different styles of Hip Hop dancing. I was a bit confused about the difference between each type, so she broke it down for me. Street is the most common type of hip hop for beginners since it includes most of the basic moves, which is why it is sometimes incorporated into street jazz (which is a combination of ballet, jazz and hip hop movements.) Heels is a feminine dance style that is commonly used in music videos. My routine for “Confident” during my classes with Bev Soh was similar to the heels style, and the routine Lyndsey has been choreographing for me also incorporates this since the moves are quite feminine and sassy. Krumping involves sharp motions, such as chest popping, twerking, and pelvis movement. Several popular dance moves nowadays originated from krumping (such as twerking, the whip, wave, nae nae, and dougie.)

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Breakdance is an acrobatic style that has a lot of flips, headspins, and footwork. Finally, popping and locking is one of the more difficult styles, focusing on the tensing and relaxing of muscles to create quick popping movements.

Lyndsey decided to teach me some basic hip hop moves during our meeting. We started by learning the fundamental core and hip movements that I could practice at home. These “isolations” as she called them, could each be broken into four steps. For the core exercise, you use your core to move your torso from the left, to the front, to the right, and to the back without moving your hips and shoulders. It may sound simple, but it was difficult to keep your shoulders from curving inwards or outwards as you tuck your stomach in (going backwards) or push your chest out (going forwards). I found the hip exercise slightly easier since I only had to focus on my lower half. You follow the same general movements except while moving your hips and pelvis instead of your core.

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Up to this point, the moves I had learned were the chest pop, body roll, and ball change. During our last lesson, Lyndsey taught me the wave, chest pull, and kick ball change. I am currently working on them by watching videos and by practicing in the mirror. Lyndsey said that if I find any moves I am interested in learning, I can feel free to ask her about them during our next session.

Lyndsey is a great mentor, especially since she is always willing to give feedback and advice so that I can improve. I decided to make a short list of the constructive criticism she has provided me with so that I can refer to it while I practice my routine:

  • In hip hop, it is important to get low. Your knees should almost touch the ground
  • You have arms, so use them to enhance your routine. They should have a purpose.
  • In Karate, people make noises to help them give a stronger punch or kick. When practicing, feel free to make sounds or release a deep breath to add sharpness to each move
  • While performing on stage, there are a lot of pictures being taken. Therefore, it is important to hit each pose, even while jumping. In the specific routine, after kicking, it is important to land in a lunge and hold it instead of immediately walking into the next move
  • Lift your elbows so that they are parallel with the floor and not drooping
  • Push your shoulders back and chest out to convey confidence, rather than bringing your shoulder inwards which looks more timid
  • The angles of your body, face, and legs are important. For instance, in a point in the routine, you keep your face towards the front while your heel is popped, then stand on your tippy-toes, and finally drop towards the left, popping the opposite foot this time. Make sure each body part is angled properly while performing.
  • Be more sassy since this routine is very feminine. For instance, wave your finger wider, since a small wave conveys shyness.
  • Understand the difference between when to make moves fluid and sharp. For instance, the kick ball change is sharp, while the shoulders lift is more fluid. During the “Shhhh” plie, both the arms and plie itself should be done in one fluid motion
  • Flick your foot like you’re trying to get gum off the bottom. You can’t be gentle or it won’t come off. You need to use force.
  • During the ball changes, position your feet so your first foot faces the front, and the foot behind it is on an angle. You will be more balanced if your foot is behind, opposed to being on the side.
  • Facial expressions are important, so you can choose to smile the whole way, or make faces to match the lyrics. You can also do things like making a fierce expression while kicking.

Original video from Youtube

I learned two new moves during this lesson: the kick ball change, and the chest pull. Lyndsey was able to break the moves down into steps so that I could understand them better. For the kick ball change, she described it as more of a push than a kick. She actually put a chair on front of me so that I could understand the motion of pushing the chair rather than kicking it and making it bounce. She was able to change her example of kicking a soccer ball to pushing a chair so that I could understand what the motion looked like. While learning the chest pull, Lyndsey said that I should imagine I was stroking something or grabbing someone’s shirt, then yanking it back while shooting my elbow straight outwards. It was important that the opposite hand shouldn’t be limp or lazy, and that the elbow points straight outwards and not down. While doing the pulling motion with my hand, my hips moved from side to side in a swooping motion.

Photo from Elyssa's phone

Photo from Elyssa’s phone

Currently, I am in the process of arranging my next session with Lyndsey. During this, I will ask her if we can start choreographing my final routine which will incorporate several of the moves I have learned so far. Anne, Elyssa and I are also arranging a time to meet, and hopefully we can start planning our group routine as well. This upcoming month is sure to be busy, but I’m ready to hit this home stretch.