We asked choreographer Chuck Maldonado some tips for teachers who are just starting to offer and teach hip-hop at their studios. Here is his advice!
Do you remember your first hip-hop class? If so, how was your experience?
Yes, I do remember the first class I took. It was in Atlanta, GA in the year 1997. I remember it being lots of fun with a lot of energy. Kinda like the MC Hammer style of dance, very full-out and fast. I knew after that class that this was my passion and my purpose in life.
When it comes to teaching hip-hop, how do you feel the class should be structured for the beginner dancers?
I always start with a very fun energetic warm up with fun current upbeat music. The dancers get a great warm up that allows them to get a lil taste of the choreography that they are about to learn. Then I either do a Hip Hop across the floor, or if the class is only an hour I start teaching choreography. I always start by letting the dancers know that they can ask as many questions as they like as long as they raise their hands. I like making my beginner dancers comfortable so they won’t feel intimidated. I always find music they know and love and teach with both counts as well as with the words. I understand that all people learn differently. I think that the thing that works for me is that I show them that I really care about them as dancers and that I’m here to your God given gift of dance to the next level.
How do you select age appropriate hip-hop music?
I just take the time to make sure that there are no curse words and that the subject matter of the song isn’t violent or negative.
Has hip-hop edged out jazz?
There was a time in history where much of the choreography seen was very Jazzy like the videos we seen in the 80’s, but now a days I feel that Hip Hop has really grown and edged out Jazz. So, I say Yes, Hip Hop has edged out jazz.
What’s some common hip-hop terminology that new teachers can use?
I’m not sure if these are Hip Hop terminology but I use words like, Groove, Funky, Turnt up, and Full Out.