Dance culture spreads

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 23 July, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 23 July, 2011, 12:00am

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Hip hop culture has spread around the world through music video programmes such as MTV.

Many young people love to copy the eye-catching dance moves and images they see in their favourite music videos.

Hip hop dancing is also a great way to keep fit.

'Hip hop can be a great workout with a pumping soundtrack. It's also popular because you don't need a technical dance background like ballet to progress, so anyone can start learning, whatever their age and learn enough to dance for fun. Our adult learners find it more stimulating and love the endorphin rush that dance gives you,' explains Elle Kealy, director of Central Dance Studios (www.danceclassesinhongkong.com).

While many adults in Hong Kong attend aerobics classes or spend time on treadmills to improve their fitness, hip hop is a great way to work out your mind and body as well as lose a significant amount of weight in a short period of time, says Kealy. It improves cardio fitness, motor fitness in relation to memory and co-ordination skills, and muscle tone.

'On top of that you end up with a great skill that you can show off on the dance floor. As we are a specialist adult learners dance studio, all our classes are designed with adult learners in mind and you'll always be dancing with other people like you,' Kealy says.

Central Dance Studios runs hip hop classes for adults but people as young as 16 may join. Students can buy credits that range from HK$200 for a single, one-hour class to HK$1,620 for 12 one-hour classes that can be used over a three-month period.

Beginner classes cover elements such as learning and memorising movements, basic warm-up moves and hip hop techniques, movement around the dance floor and special moves to impress an audience. There is also a higher level class that introduces more intricate moves that are taught at a pace that ensures no-one is left behind.

Hip hop or street dancing as it is sometimes called, has no official moves that can be judged, so there are no examinations or graded levels for students to progress through as their skills improve, says Kealy.

Many of her dancers start learning hip hop and move into other styles such as jazz funk, break dancing, even salsa or swing as they develop their own unique styles.

'Younger dancers in particular find hip hop classes a great way to learn teamwork, to get fit and to have a chance to perform with others on stage. Some participate in battles or shows or form a dance crew with friends.'

Ones-To-Watch Dance Company (www.onestowatch.com.hk) is also offering courses in hip hop at its Tsim Sha Tsui studios. Students can buy coupons ranging from HK$140 for a single 75-minute class to HK$1,400 for 16, 75-minute classes that must be taken over two months.