Popin, lockin n dropin
Eight students from the Jackson’s School of Performing Arts boys’ hip hop class will be travelling to Philadelphia next week for intense break dancing training.
Their instructor in Philadelphia will be Bermudian Mark “Metal” Wong. Mr Wong is currently living in the city and working with a group called Hip Hop Fundamentals.
The group aims to give young people non-violent ways they can make positive change in their communities.
The Bermuda group will be travelling with their Jackson’s teacher Angelina Simas who has been teaching the class since 2005.
“I hope this trip brings up their self esteem level in dance, because it is hard for the boys,” she said.
It takes a lot of courage for a boy to attend a dance class of any kind as they often face peer pressure and teasing for it at school. But Ms Simas said things have gotten better over time, and with dance programmes proliferating on television, interest from the boys in the community has increased.
It has grown that in September, Jackson’s will add a second boys’ hip hop class, for the first time, and a boys’ funk tap class. “Every year the boys’ dance level increases and improves tremendously,” she said. “A few of the boys that I danced with in the past are dancing in companies abroad.”
Ms Simas said the training in Philadelphia will take the boys’ skills to the “extreme hard level”.
The Royal Gazette spoke to a few of the dancers and found that many of them had been influenced to join the class after seeing someone they knew, dancing or seeing someone dancing in a cool way on television or in the movies. Max De Ste Croix, 13, signed up for the class after being inspired by a dance video on the website YouTube. His twin brother, Cameron, watched a few classes and then joined also.
“The class is pretty exciting,” said Max.
“It is one of my favourite things,” said Cameron.
Max said he loves “body popping”, dub step dancing and break dancing.
Cameron said the hardest moves, for him, were probably continuous swipes, because they involve spinning.
“You are continuously spinning and you get nauseous and it gets hard,” he said.
Jaden Evelyn, 13, said he joined the class after seeing Myles Packwood, 12, do a demonstration at his school.
“I just thought it looked so cool,” said Jaden.
Myles’ little brother Cole, seven, is also in the class. Cole came into it with a gymnastics background and taught himself to do flips.
“Yeah, I hurt myself a few times learning,” said Cole shrugging philosophically.
According to his big brother, Cole has a very high level of energy at home, and the dancing provides an outlet.
Steven Camara, 12, has been taking the class since he was five years old. “The best thing about coming here is you get to make new friends and learn new moves,” he said. “The recital was fun because we got to show a bunch of people what we had learned.”
Cani Swan, 15, said he was looking forward to the trip to Philadelphia. “I am very excited about going on the trip,” he said. “I don’t have a favourite move in the class; I like everything. I try to do everything. I want to be a mechanical engineer when I am older. The hip hop will be a side thing because I really enjoy it.”
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