Monday, July 19, 2010

Hip Hop Freestyle Groove vs. Choreography by Tru Essencia

Do you know the difference between grooving to the beat of the music through your Freestyle, and picking up choreography?

To Groove is to have the ability to bounce and rock while dancing, rocking is the first original freestyle form of party dancing...

Freestyle is to flow with the rythms of the music and let the music guide you to create your movement.  'Freestyle is the Key Style' as many pioneers of the Hip Hop Culture say and thats with all the Elements:  DJing, MCing, Dance, Graff Arts.

Bodyrocking and Groove is the main ingredient missing in much of choreography you see today on television, dance competitions and at jams today.  Unfortunately many dance teachers that label themselves hip hop dance teachers are actually teaching street jazz and street funk, which was originally created by Bob Fosse and Frank Hachette.  It's a beautiful style and I enjoy watching it.  My favorite movie is West Side Story and that is the style they perform int he movie.  But it's NOT Hip Hop.  So through much filtering and misinformation from many dance teachers today it has evolved into what you see today disguised as 'Hip Hop' and it's the main difference between The Hip Hop Dance Culture here in NYC and anywhere else in the world.

Why do students travel to NYC from around the world to learn about the Hip Hop Culture? It's not to learn counts to music or even to learn how to pick up choreography.

They are in need and hungry for the Organic Essence/Flavor/Style in which this culture was created.  It's an experience and they want to hear the stories, visit the landmarks, learn from pioneers and teachers that are responsible to give them the truth, the facts and actually teach them of the culture.

Back in the 70’s the dance culture was rocking at parties all night long. to groove is to listen to some dope hot fire music and allow your body, heart and soul move you to a point where all you want to do is play with the beat of the music. It’s simple your just dancing and getting your vibe on. You have no counts in your head or executing a choreographed routine and calling it a freestyle... but at the same time you have this natural ability to rock and bounce while dancing!

You go into such a zone that you are totally un-ware of when the music stops! You still continue to hear the beat of the music long after the music stopped playing.  And if the DJ is rocking you are not leaving the dance floor.

Its raw authentic human emotion... that started out with a hunger of unexplained powerful feelings, that came out of poverty and pure artistic self-expression.

Counts of 8’s in choreography are good and needed when learning and creating routines for performances.  If you become dependent with a need and want for the counts to guide you this doesn’t allow you to the freedom to Freestyle and just play freely with the Music! Some people thrive on the choreography and the counts of 8’s then you ask them to freestyle their solo and they start to sweat. 

It's also important for all dancers to have the best of both worlds the ability to freestyle groove and pick up choreography.

The new generation of dancers look the same.  We had the great pleasure of judging a dance competition in February 2013 at Lehman College, which was a great opportunity.  But out of 16 groups that performed 3 groups had some Foundation, creativity, style and attitude and stood out because they were not running the same moves.  These are the same groups that have no history or core foundation of what Hip Hop Dance Foundation is. 

Someone that can groove is going to be able to translate and execute those moves in so many ways and still have the ability to breath while dancing. It’s a discipline, a lifestyle, a practice of evolving as a creator of the elements of the culture.

The Hip Hop Culture has evolved from the Native American Pow Wows and African ceremonies in our history.  They had all the elements.  It's translated today into the culture as a gift for humanity to keep it's rich natural roots expanding.

There are many pioneers and teachers today that are sharing the authentic building blocks of the Hip Hop culture.  Tru Essencia's signature dance class Snap, Pop n' Rock is based on these building blocks.  We drill foundations like groove and bodyrock.  We purposely start our drills with freestyle.  When we are drilling the routine it starts with Freestyle.  Amazing to see people freeze in their place because they have no idea how to connect to the music.  But that's why we do what we do.  So we can help our students grow, take the chance and face their fear.  If everyone knew how to two step we wouldn't have a career or a chance to give back.  We give Hip Hop Culture history and share Hip Hop Trivia 101 for our students to get involved in the conversation.

To those teachers that are not stepping up.  I strongly suggest you do our homework, research, investigate and come to a better understanding about the dance, and the culture! Even as teachers of our Hip Hop Workshops we are avid students as well.  There is always something New and Fresh to learn about the history.  The kids are less informed about the culture here than anywhere else. It was born here in NYC lets preserve it.

There should be no separation between 'Underground' and 'Commercial' if it's Hip Hop.  It makes no sense.  Hip Hop Culture is Hip Hop Culture.

What makes something commercial?  From what I see its Street Jazz/Funk being labeled Hip Hop because it sells more.  Choreographed routines on television being 'cleaned up' to look cookie cutter and very organized.  Nothing wrong with it, but call it what it is.

To the pioneers we plead to you to have more panel discussions in our own city (NYC) especially in the five boroughs and try to make it affordable for all.

To the dancers we plead to you all to seek out the information and stop calling yourselves HIP HOP dancers and/or teachers unless you have the ability to Groove, Rock, Bounce, Freestyle and know the History and Foundation.

That is the difference between Organic NYC hip hop Style and hip hop anywhere else.

Paz Amor Luz

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