yep yep :) i’ll be there!
NOTE: wrote this in October 27, 2009 and surprisingly, it circulated throughout different dance communities in different countries—even ones in Europe and Asia. WOW… totally wasn’t expecting that! There are a couple new perspectives I’ve learned in the past couple of years—I’ve used the term “Urban Choreography” here, though there are definitely other names to term what I believe this “new style” is… AND I’ve also learned that popping and locking and house are not essentially “Hip Hop,” but they can fall under the umbrella of Funk styles, and have influences from disco or electronica. Well.. I’m still learning and figuring this whole thing out. Just thought I’d re-post my opinion for other reflective dancers to ponder upon :)
In class a LONG time ago, one of my first Hip Hop dance instructors told me…
“This isn’t Hip Hop. It’s Urban Choreography.”
After a few years of experiencing the dance community, I’ve realized the need to re-evaluate my title as a Hip-Hop dancer. As a beginner who was very NEW to street dance, I didn’t understand what he meant and continued to believe I was training as a “hip hop” dancer, when I really wasn’t.
Different languages of the world (chinese, spanish, english) are kinda like different dance styles (ballet, jazz, hip hop). We’re able to distinguish between different kinds, because each language uses its own unique rules of grammar and sentence structure, just as each dance style uses its own steps and technique. Over the years, languages and dance styles have changed. We’ve used the term EVOLUTION to describe what we see now in Hip Hop versus what it was in the past. On the other hand, I think what has emerged over time isn’t Hip Hop itself, but instead a different dance style that was INSPIRED by Hip Hop. Urban Choreography–an entirely separate language, born and inspired by a collection of the earlier languages. For example, Tagalog (Filipino) was formed and influenced by the Spanish, Malaysian, English, Arabic, and Chinese languages. Couldn’t we say that like Tagalog, our dance style was inspired by Hip Hop as well as other styles of dance, and has collected all of that to become it’s own language with it’s own unique structure? We wouldn’t call Tagalog “Spanish-evolved” or “Chinese-evolved,” simply because the three languages follow entirely different rules.
Nowadays, people have a few different names to refer to the style of dance being taught in many Hip Hop classes: LA style, West Coast style, commercial Hip-Hop, new-style Hip Hop, but to call it Hip Hop is to assume that it follows the basic fundamentals of Hip Hop dance–techniques in breaking, locking, popping, wacking, funk, groove, swagg etc. I’m no Hip Hop head… I’ll admit it. But when I SEE breaking, locking, popping, and all other styles of true Hip Hop dance, there is no denying that there is a totally different look to THAT kind of Hip Hop compared to what we call “new hip hop,” which varies greatly according to individual interpretation and also lacks greatly in strict rules and technique. In true Hip Hop, there are basic names of steps and techniques that aren’t completely present in this new style… so though we may dance as freely and as creatively as we want to Hip Hop and R&B music, can we REALLY say that it is Hip Hop?.. or are we just over-generalizing things to spare ourselves the trouble of analyzing & truly understanding Hip Hop history?
With so many new dancers coming up in the next generation, I think it’s very important for all those capable to educate them wisely and accurately… and that we don’t discredit or undermine the value of Hip Hop’s history.
in God we trust
<33 APRIL joy
Regardless of what kind of life we lead.. what kind of career path and occupation we take, people are more often that not afraid of REJECTION. Sometimes, people are trapped by this fear and become so weakened by it that it keeps them from realizing their potential and developing themselves to shine and perform as they should. Sometimes, it keeps people from achieving their dreams… this fear makes them feel foolish… makes them think that their ambitions aren’t worth a lifetime of humiliation and criticism.
I, as a normal human being, have experienced a great amount of rejection in my life. In the past, these experiences have crippled me to the point of being afraid of others… being afraid of opening up to others and voicing my ideas and my true self. Wonder why I get so shy sometimes? That’s the reason. Rejection made me afraid of taking risks. I closed off to others… hid my talents… agreed to stay in the shadows and remain quiet… all in fear of REJECTION.
This is where I can be a witness to the good that DANCE has to offer. Dancers face a lot of rejection in pursuit of their careers. Dancers have to face an audience several times throughout their days, weeks, months, and years.. during classes, during performances, during auditions where dancers expose themselves and give others the opportunity to criticize them and shoot their self esteem down. Dancers are forced to come face to face with that fear of rejection in order to get anywhere. Dancing has changed me and continues to change me through forcing me to face my fears on the daily.
To be very honest, rejection has served me good recently. When in the past, I’ve allowed rejection to push me deeper into a hole, I now take a more positive outlook on it and use it to my advantage. Reject me, and I’ll push harder to prove something. Keep me in the shadows, and you’ll only fuel me to shine brighter than you would ever expect of me. Don’t believe it? Just watch. I don’t stop. I love dancing too much and know that I have more to offer. I’m slowly learning it and slowly owning up to it.
God, I accept rejection… I accept my struggles… because I know it produces perseverance. Perserverance, then hope. Hope, then life. I am ready to face challenges, to be free, and to fight for my dream instead of waiting for it to fall on my lap.
It’s about time.
in God we trust
<33 april jOy
written October 28, 2008
I kinda had a mild case of insomnia last night and decided to answer your questions. I went a little nuts.. and for those of you out there who may be interested, happy reading :) feel free to comment back! Sorry for the long posts, fellow followers!
Don’t give anything a rest unless you’ve given it 100%. I can speak from personal experience that I’ve felt a great amount of discouragement in growing as a dancer. It’s not easy growing up shy and insecure, then having people judge me up and down, in class, or on a stage. At one of my first agency auditions, I made it all the way to the very end, but ultimately was rejected, and told I needed to lose weight. It’s not easy to put yourself out there wondering if people will like you or not. It’s not easy knowing that there are others who are more experienced and skilled than I am. It’s not easy to deal with people who are unpleasant at all. None of this is easy, but to overcome these fears and trials turns a baby girl into a real WOMAN (or a boy into a man). I’ve dealt with these problems for a long time. To be very honest, the real world is a scary place in any career—not just dance. You’ll have bullies growing up in school. You’ll have difficult bosses or coworkers who’ll take advantage of you, or who won’t communicate well with you even if you are a sweet person. You may deal with clients in your job who’ll give you the hardest time even though you didn’t do anything wrong. I’ve worked in a lot of different places before—from retail to office administration to marketing research, so I know there are a lot of difficult people out there WHEREVER you go, WHATEVER your job is. I can’t imagine what it’s like working at high-stress jobs! Overall, these experiences in life happen to EVERYONE. They will make you stronger and wiser… like carving a rough piece of diamond, smoothing out it’s edges to become perfect. Diamonds aren’t perfect to begin with. They need a little bit of friction before they can take the most stunning shape.. to be polished and to shine beautifully. People are the same way through stressful times and experiences. We need rough moments to teach us strength and resilience and wisdom. So if tough times are gonna happen to you anyway, you might as well be pursuing something you are passionate about and be fulfilled in the wisdom you gain from it. I’d say don’t knock it til you’ve tried it. It’s all your choice to let experiences make you or break you.
Actually… most of the amazing and talented dancers I know are NOT from California or New York. Most dancers who live here NOW, moved here from somewhere else: another state, Asia, Europe, Canada, Mexico, etc. They grew up dancing in another city, then decided that they were gonna come here to dance, because this is where dancers get most of their opportunity for work. In my circle of friends, I’m pretty much the only person who grew up in LA. So yes it’s possible, and most successful dancers aren’t even from California or New York. They’re here NOW, but they’re not FROM here y’kno?
No matter how hard it may be, or how scary it may be… Ignoring your dream is wasting your life. What if Martin Luther King Jr. never chased his dream? What if Albert Einstein or Christopher Columbus never chased their dreams? Everyone has a dream for a reason, and though they may be scary or wild and crazy, our dreams have the power to change the world for generations. Dreams aren’t supposed to be easy to accomplish because they have so much POWER. If something was so easy, there’s no real sense of accomplishment from attaining it. It’s like picking up a feather off the ground—so easy, no reward… but if you can pick up a really heavy rock from the ground, you’d feel a little more accomplished in that, right? Dreams give our lives meaning and purpose. Without it, we just repeat everyday to pass time doing the same ol’ things. Where’s the progress and purpose? The world needs positive actions.. the world needs change… but before that, the world needs people to be strong enough to follow their dreams.
My parents moved here from an under-developed country with barely anything and managed to provide 4 children with a stable living, health protection, and great education. I’m inspired by them. Thanks Mom and Dad, for your dream. I owe you so much.
I’ve seen people work hard, and these people who work hard are the exact reasons why i’m motivated. Hardworkers have proven to me that you can get what you want as long as you make smart choices and always keep your goals in sight. I’ve also seen people who’ve chosen other paths after experimenting with the dance world, and they’ve become happy in whatever they chose afterwards. They just decided the dance industry wasn’t for them. To me, it’s not a failure if they tried their BEST and gave it their ALL. It’s never FAILING if you’ve done all that you could and you learn from it. I consider it QUITTING or RUNNING AWAY if people didn’t really give 100% before being done with it.
One of my favorite quotes is “Reach for the moon, because if you don’t make it, you’ll land among the stars.” So, set your goals high and reach high, because you’ll benefit no matter what. It’s like if you and your bestfriend are partners in a 3-legged race, you wanna give 100% so that you both can win, and so that you don’t let your bestfriend down. Even if you DON’T win, it’s still right to try your hardest. You don’t wanna go 50% and have your bestfriend do all the hard work. You wouldn’t wanna just give up halfway and say “Nevermind, I don’t wanna do it,” when your friend is counting on you and using all of their energy… doing all that they could for the BOTH of you. Well, think of your friend as your own SOUL. It’s all of your happiness, strengths, talents, wishes, dreams, & goals. In this game of life, you really owe it to yourself to be the BEST that you can be in whatever you decide to do, or else in the end, you’re really not giving your heart and soul the chance they deserve to win. Give yourself 100%. Don’t let yourself down when you’re born with the heart to do more. God has given us all a chance at life to do good things with our dreams. It’s important to keep faith, to trust, and to constantly look up for the answers. Keep faith and He will grant you the wisdom.
<33 April Joy