Hip Hop – a Revelation by Angela Caldin

hip hopIf I was downbeat a while ago about the ascendancy of the brittle, glittery Elsa over the more admirable Anna in the film Frozen, I am upbeat this week now that I have discovered the wonderfully assertive dance form which is hip hop.

I did ballet as a child and loved its graceful elegant movements, so I didn’t know quite what to expect when I went along to my middle granddaughter’s end of year hip hop display. What I saw was a marvellously energetic dance form a million miles away from ballet. The hip hop movement started on the streets of New York and the dance style developed from several cultures, including jazz, rock, tap, American and Latino with a bit of martial arts influence thrown in. The result is an in-your-face, forceful dance style with lots of stamping, stomping, jumping, bouncing and bending with emphatic, strong arm and leg movements.

Taking part in the display were dancers of all ages in a variety of different groups doing upbeat routines to pulsing hip hop music. The majority were girls, but a few stalwart boys were strutting their stuff in low slung trousers and caps worn at a rakish angle. For the girls, jogging pants or leggings and bright funky t-shirts were the order of the day worn with Converse trainers and absolutely essential was a high pony tail which its owner could swing around wildly in time with the music.

What struck me most of all was the positive message that this dance form contained for girls. On the backdrop were displayed some truly inspiring words such as: determined, strong, resilient, survivor, confidence, courageous, brave, energy, attitude, fun, laugh, strength, crazy, original. I was very taken with the use of these many great words which struck me as being in pleasant contrast to all the pastel-coloured frills and tiaras that girls are so often surrounded by and choose to wear.

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I was so happy to see girls presenting themselves in this robust, resilient way, ready to approach the world with energy and strength and enjoying being feisty and assertive. I’ll still enjoy ballet with its cool and classical elegance, but I’ll now be glad to watch a jaunty hip hop show whenever I get the chance.

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