Learn Hip-Hop Dancing

How to get started learning hip-hop dance. From how to find a class, to what to wear, and basics for getting started at home.

You have decided you would like to learn hip-hop dancing. It is important when beginning to not have unrealistic expectations. Even if you do want to look like a dancer on MTV, it's best to start with the basics, and move slowly.

There are a few options for those of you who are excited to start learning hip-hop. Most dance studios, even those for children, offer adult dance classes in hip-hop. Classes in hip-hop are also offered at many athletic clubs as well. If you're not ready to try your luck at hip-hop in the classroom, there are several VHS tapes, and DVD's to get you started. Or if you really just want some basic ideas on how to get your groove going, we'll give you the basics.

First, let's start with the dance studio, and athletic club options. Where do you find them? How much do they cost? The best way to find a dance studio or athletic club offering hip-hop classes is to do a little bit of online research. You can go to superpages.com and search for Dance Studios or Athletic Club's in the city you live in. Most businesses will offer a link to their website. Most commonly dance studios and athletic clubs offer their class schedule's online so that you can see if the business even offers a hip-hop class. You may also want to call the dance studio, to see what classes they offer. Hip-hop is widely becoming popular, and both dance studios and athletic clubs are offering classes because of this demand. Classes at a studio range from $10 on up. An athletic club may require you to join, although you can always ask to see if they have a class only membership. If your local dance studio or athletic club does not offer a hip hop class, check out your local parks and recreation class schedule to see if they have any classes as well.

In addition, you will want to know what to wear and what to expect. Most hip-hop classes will allow you to wear athletic shoes that are only worn in doors in their studios. You must make sure that the soles of the shoes are clean. These floors are used for ballet, modern and other forms of dance where the dancer's movement depends upon the floor surface, so it is important to respect the facility you are attending. If the studio or facility you are attending does not allow street shoes, a hip-hop sneaker can be purchased either online at Discount dance, or at a local dance boutique. Hip-hop dancers tend to wear baggy clothing. Loose comfortable fitting pants, a tank top and maybe a long sleeve shirt. When you wear baggy clothing, it sort of hides mistakes a bit more, so that as you're learning, you can look a bit more like you are getting all the right angles with your body. As far as what to expect, that all depends on whether you are dropping into a pre-existing class, or starting a class at the beginning of a session. If you are dropping into a pre-existing class, expect to feel a little dumbfounded on your first day. Most instructors have a set warm up that they accumulated at the beginning of the course. To the students who have been enrolled in the class, the warm up will appear second nature. Relax. If you stay with the class, you too will eventually find your groove as you remember the warm up from week to week. Also, expect to sweat. Hip-hop classes move around. Typically an abdominal work out is done as well, which will really get your blood flowing. Finally, it's okay if you don't remember everything. There usually is a routine that the instructor teaches the students every week. If you don't get something at first, or can't remember the sequence of all the movements, don't get discouraged. Most teachers have signature moves, and after you stay with the same instructor for awhile, you will get a sense of the movement they give, and therefore it will become more comfortable and natural for your body.

As far as purchasing a DVD or VHS, there are several selections you can make. However if you are a beginner, it may be best to start out with one or a few of the MTV Grind workout tapes. These workout tapes do a great job of giving realistic dance moves for a beginner. They break down the dance moves slowly, and accumulating them until you have an entire routine. The nice thing about learning hip-hop through a dance video is that you can hit pause and rewind. However if you're like most people, you may find it a bit more difficult to get motivated without an instructor.

Finally, if you are not interested in taking a class, or in purchasing a DVD or VHS, and just would like a few pointers on how to dance hip-hop, here are a few suggestions. First, find a hip-hop CD with a good beat, and something that makes you want to move. Music by Missy Elliot, Justin Timberlake, or I Like the Way You Move, are wonderful to groove to. Next, try finding the beat with your shoulders. Try to isolate your shoulders by moving your shoulders up and down to the rhythm of the music. Next bring your elbows into your side, having your arm at a 90-degree angle, with hands in lightly held fists. Continue bouncing your shoulders like this. Next relax your legs, and step your right foot out to the side, and back together. Then the left leg. Out to the side, then back together. Continue alternating stepping your foot out to the side, and back together, in the rhythm of the music. You can add in a grapevine, a spin or any other basic moves. The most important part, if trying to teach yourself, is to find music that makes you want to dance.

Hopefully now you feel set to begin your journey as a hip-hop dancer. Just remember to be patient with yourself, laugh when you make a mistake, and let yourself move and have fun.

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