Urban Dance In Dayton
By Lara Donnelly
It might not be common knowledge among Ohioans, but the southwest region of the state is a hotbed of activity for underground urban dancers. That’s part of the reason that the Dayton Dance Conservatory (formerly the Jeanette Popp School of Dance) is hosting the Breakin’ Ground urban dance workshop Sunday, October 24 from 12 to 8 p.m. This intensive workshop, held at the Conservatory (7762 Waynetowne Blvd. in Huber Heights), will be taught by some of the biggest names in underground street dancing ready to go public to educate people about their craft.
According to Kelsa Rieger, the director of Cityfolk’s “Culture Builds Community” outreach program as well as one of the instructors at Breakin’ Ground, the workshop has a target audience of “dance students in the area, teachers in the area, dance teams, companies, and the underground street dance community. We’re just trying to get people out.” Breakin’ Ground is sure to draw dancers from all over the area. Rieger says, “We want to stress that anyone teaching hip hop in this area has got to be at this workshop. This is the kind of thing you would travel to New York to get and it’s right here
The training offered at Breakin’ Ground is high quality and widely varied. Classes will feature styles ranging from popping, locking, and breaking to vogue, house and krump. There will also be a street choreography class. Rieger says this workshop will focus on “authentic street dance; most people refer to it as hip hop, but we’re teaching the original style. What most people call hip-hop, it’s like people have taken little bits and pieces of these styles and have thrown them together. All the instructors at Breakin’ Ground have specialized in one of these styles, which take years and years to learn.”
The list of instructors is impressive. Hosting the lecture portion of the workshop is Tyquan Hodac, vice president of the Mighty Zulu Kingz, one of the most prestigious B-boy (break dance) crews on the urban dance scene. The group the Mighty Zulu Kingz was founded by Afrika Bambaataa, considered by many to be the father of hip-hop. Another member of the Mighty Zulu Kingz, Flex, will also teach at Breakin’ Ground.
Darryl “Footnote” Dewer, who learned popping and locking under the originators of the style, will be there, as will Julius Jenkins, who goes by “Eclypse.” Jenkins has won and placed in dance battles across the country, and is part of the 20/
Rieger will teach under her dance handle, Kadance. Kadance specializes in the house style, and is the only dancer in Ohio to have learned house in the underground community in Chicago. Kadance is part of the Venus Fly Trap crew, a female, all-styles crew. She will be joined by another member of the Venus Fly Trap Crew, Pandora, who has recently been seen on the big screen in Step Up 3D and LXD – Legion of Extraordinary Dancers.
While this may seem like a daunting reel of names, Rieger stresses that the goal of Breakin’ Ground is to educate dancers, not intimidate them. “This is a full day workshop, for people who really want to learn. It’s basically for all levels, all ages.” There is even an intro to hip-hop class for 7 to 10 year olds. However, she does say that Breakin’ Ground is all-day intensive, and less-experienced dancers may get tired or overwhelmed. Participants should make sure to come prepared for eight hours of activity.
The day will conclude with a series of open ciphers, or dance sessions, in which dancers can show off their moves. “People will just get down,” says Rieger. “They’ll have circles, and practice. It’s how we normally learn: getting down together.”
A major element of Breakin’ Ground is that very focus on community. Several of the dancers who will be present at Breakin’ Ground offer free youth classes at the East End Community Services’ new Art Center. They aim to give kids a positive outlet for their energy, whether they plan to become serious dancers or not. It “prove(s) that you can make something of yourself through art,”
Breakin’ Ground is an excellent opportunity to learn from some big names in dance. Register online at www.DaytonDanceConservatory.com. Pre-registration is $65, while registration at the door is $75. For a crew or dance team with five or more members, registration is $55. Parents can register their children for the special Intro to Hip-Hop class for $25. For those who only want to attend Tyquan’s lecture and participate in the open ciphers at the end of the night, the cost is $10.
“Some really heavy hitters from the underground scene live right here,” says Rieger, “and none of them teach at the studios.”
Reach DCP freelance writer Lara Donnelly at firstname.lastname@example.org