©Lincoln Bryden, How to Teach Streetdance – The Ultimate Guide... November 2009

©Lincoln Bryden, How to Teach Streetdance – The Ultimate Guide E Course,
November 2009
[email protected]
How To Teach Streetdance – The Ultimate Guide
Written by Lincoln Bryden
Lincoln Bryden November 2009.
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November 2009
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©Lincoln Bryden, How to Teach Streetdance – The Ultimate Guide E Course,
November 2009
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Streetdance – a history
Hip Hop is a cultural movement that began in the early 1970’s among the
mostly African American and Latino communities in the Bronx - New York
City. During the 1980’s, aspects of the culture began spreading into the
mainstream population of the USA and by the 1990s, hip hop culture had
spread throughout the world.
The movement is said to have begun with the work of DJ Kool Herc, while
competing DJ Afrika Bambaataa. Most accounts suggest that Herc was the
first DJ to buy two copies of the same record, so that he could access a 15second break (rhythmic instrumental segment) in the middle of the track to
create his own sound, using the turntable as a musical instrument. By mixing
back and forth between the 15 second break in two copies he was able to
double, triple, or indefinitely extend the break. In so doing, Herc effectively
deconstructed and reconstructed so-called found sound.
The four main aspects, or "elements", of hip hop culture are
MCing (rapping)
B-boying (known to the mainstream as breakdancing)
Some consider beatboxing the fifth element of hip hop; ohers might add hip
hop fashion, hip hop slang, double dutching (an urban form of rope skipping,
demonstrated in Malcolm Maclaren video to the song “double dutch” in the
early 80’s), or other elements as important facets of hip hop.
In mainstream spheres, the term "hip hop" typically refers only to hip hop
music (or rap music), the music produced by the MCing and DJing aspects of
hip hop culture.
The various factors that influenced hip hop culture are complex and numerous
All of these influences can provide valuable stimuli for your streetdance
choreography. Although the majority of influences can be traced to African
culture, the multicultural society of New York City resulted in diverse musical
influences finding their way into hip hop music.
For example Hip Hop music has origins in the black church via the call and
response of the preacher. The preacher calls out: 'Church can I get an Amen,'
and the church responds: “Amen”. Today when a rap artist yells out 'Give me
a ho ho,' the audience shouts back 'ho ho.'
One of the many influences for both hip hop culture and music is the
Jamaican style called dub, which arose as a sub-genre of Reggae in the
©Lincoln Bryden, How to Teach Streetdance – The Ultimate Guide E Course,
November 2009
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1960s. Dub music saw producers such as King Tubby creating instrumental
versions of popular reggae records for the purpose of clubs and Sound
systems; they had discovered that dancers often responded better to the
extended, isolated beats of the records, often featuring intense percussion
and heavy bass lines. Soon, the MCs that saw them become popular
performers in their own right. In 1967, Jamaican immigrants brought dub to
New York City and began playing it at parties in community centers, roller
rinks and on the streets.
The "deejays" became cult figures, fighting duels that were based on turntable
skills. In 1977, the Bronx was divided in three main spheres of influence:
Africa Bambaata in the southeast, DJ Kool Herc in the west, and Grandmaster
Flash in the center. They also corresponded to spheres of influences of
different "gangs". Africa Bambatta was the leader of the Zulu Nation, which
was at the time the largest gang in New York. It was on the death of one of
his family members that he decided to start the movement of gangs venting
their anger via dance battles, rather than fighting.
Breakdancing, also known as B-boying or B-girling by its practitioners and
followers, is a dynamic style of dance. The term "breakdancer" originates from
the dancers at DJ Kool Herc's parties, who saved their best dance moves for
the break section of the song. Breaking is one of the major elements of hip
hop culture, commonly associated with, but distinct from, "popping," "locking,"
"hitting," "ticking," "boogaloo," and other funk styles that evolved
independently during the late 20th century.
"Hip-hop" as a form of dance is becoming more popular. Hip hop dance
comes from breakdancing, but does not consist wholly of breakdancing
moves. Unlike most other forms of dance, which are often at least moderately
structured, hip hop dance has few (if any) limitations on positions or steps.
Top Rocking
Some of the earliest dancing by b-boy pioneers was done upright, a form
which became known as "top rockin'." The structure and form of top rockin'
has infused dance forms and influences from Brooklyn uprocking, tap, lindi
hop, James Brown's "good foot," salsa, Afro-Cuban and various African and
Native American dances.
Footwork and Freezes
As a result of the highly competitive nature of these dances, it wasn't long
before top rockers extended their repertoire to the ground with "footwork" and
"freezes." For instance, one dancer might start top rocking then drop to the
ground, suddenly going into leg shuffles then a freeze before coming to his
feet. His opponent might have to do twice as much floor work or a better
©Lincoln Bryden, How to Teach Streetdance – The Ultimate Guide E Course,
November 2009
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freeze to win the battle. The fancy leg movements done on the ground,
supported by the arms, were eventually defined as "footwork" or "floor
rocking." In time, an impressive vocabulary of footwork, ground moves and
freezes developed, including the dancers most dynamic steps and moves.
Top rockin' was not replaced with floor rocking; it was added to the dance and
both were key points in the dance's execution. Many times one could tell who
had flavor and finesse just by their top rockin' before the drop and floor rock.
The transition between top and floor rockin' was also important and became
known as the "drop". Some of these drops were called: front swipes, back
swipes, dips and corkscrews. The smoother the drop, the better.
The west coast was also engaged in a cultural movement throughout the
1970s. This scene was nourished by soul, R&B and funk music at outdoor
functions and discotheques.
In Los Angeles, California, Don Campbell, also known as Don Cambellock,
originated the dance form "locking." Trying to imitate a local dance called the
"funky chicken," Don Campbell added an effect of locking of the joints of his
arms and body, which became known as his signature dance
The "lock" is a specific movement which glues together combinations of steps
and moves similar to a freeze or a sudden pause. Combinations can consist
of a series of points done by extending the arms and pointing in different
directions. Dancers combined fancy step patterns with the legs and moves
done in various sequences.
Originally, "popping" was a term used to describe a sudden muscle
contraction executed with the triceps, forearms, neck, chest and legs. These
contractions accented the dancer's movement causing a quick, jolting effect.
New school hip-hop
New school dance is a form of hip-hop dance which is different from breaking.
Back in the days, old-school music had fast beats which matched breaking
move. Hip-hop music is always changing. As the music changed, people
realized that breaking doesn't fit with the many of new school hip-hop music.
That's how new-school dance started out. Around 1986, which is the early
days of new school dance, the moves were very simple. Steps called Wap,
Running man, Roger Rabbit, and Robocop were popular steps in this era.
These were exactly what everybody can do.
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November 2009
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New styles come from everywhere. People take moves from martial arts,
reggae, locking, and even 70s soul train steps. Even now up to the modern
day classical hip hop moves have been fused with other dance styles to
provide a more complete and vast range of dance material to choose from.
So it is evident that hip hop as a movement has many different implications on
streetdance in terms of its background, style, type of clothing, and for some
lifestyle. Each of these elements can provide us with stimulus to choreograph
our dances.
©Lincoln Bryden, How to Teach Streetdance – The Ultimate Guide E Course,
November 2009
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Choreography tools introduction
Streetdance as with all dances begins with a variety of movement. This
movement can be broken down into its smallest parts, and then with the
addition of streetdance style, be put together with other movements to create
a routine.
In order to analyse movement, we must identify what the body is doing and
describe our observations;
In dance there are 5 main actions. These are;
A gesture is a movement that does not involve weight transference. Gestures
are usually performed with the upper body, but it is possible to perform them
with different parts of the body.
Gestures are a part of our everyday life and can be used to great effect in our
dances. For example: Shaking the head to say “No”.
Quick task
Write a list of at least 10 gestures that you are familiar with.
Written description
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November 2009
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Choose 8 of these gestures and see if you can put them together to form a
movement pattern, or MOTIF.
This is a move that defies gravity and lifts the body off the floor. There are 5
basic jumps, that are determined by the number of feet a dancer has on the
floor when they take off and land from a jump. The 5 jumps are;
Two feet to two feet
Two feet to one foot
One foot to the same foot
One foot to the other foot
One foot to two feet
Quick task
Practice the 5 jumps. Try to put a sequence of 8 jumps together into a
routine. Try to incorporate the hip hop style within these routines.
Travelling is any movement that takes us from A to B. One example could be
walking but there are many other possibilities.
List 10 different types of travelling;
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November 2009
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Devise a motif (movement pattern) using 8 different travelling actions.
A turn is a rotating movement performed with the whole of the body resulting
in a change of front. Examples of these are cartwheels, pirouette, and
We are also able to rotate some body parts, but this action is known as
twisting, as opposed to turning. This type of movement is very characteristic
of streetdance.
Make a list of whole body turns.
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November 2009
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Now with one of the sequences that you have composed earlier with travelling
or jumping, or gesturing, see how you can add the action of turning.
Stillness is a very useful tool when constructing choreography. It has many
uses within a dance and has previously been highlighted as a key component
of a b-boy’s dancing armoury. Within the realms of choreography, stillness ie
a held position can be used to;
Highlight an important moment within a dance
Indicate the end of a dance
Complete a movement phrase
Start a dance sequence
Devise 2 held positions. Each held position is to last 8 counts
Now devise a 32 count routine with no pauses in. Perform this routine
Now perform the routine incorporating the 2 held positions
Review the effect of having the held position within the routines
By incorporating these movement actions alone within your dances, routines
can become rich in their visual effect, as opposed to being boring and
monotonous. These movements are the basis of all choreography let alone
streetdance, and can be further developed and shaped by elements known as
©Lincoln Bryden, How to Teach Streetdance – The Ultimate Guide E Course,
November 2009
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Motifs, you remember are a movement or sequence of movements in a
particular style of a dance. These movements can then be repeated, or
manipulated in a variety of ways. Below is a list of the more common ways in
which such motifs can be developed.
Repetition – repeat exactly the same
Retrograde – perform the motif backwards
Size – do the routine as small as you can/as big as you can
Rhythm – vary the rhythm not the tempo
Quality – vary the movement quality ie sharp/wavy/ soft/ heavy
Instrumentation – perform the movement with a different part of the
body, eg a foot combination could be performed as a hand combination
7. Background – let the rest of the body to something different while
producing the motif. Sit instead of stand, or twist the rest of your body
while you perform the motif.
8. Staging – perform at a different point in the room
9. Change plane/levels – change the motif to a different plane;
saggital/frontal/ transverse. Change the level of the dance, eg from
high to low, or from low to high
10. Fragmentation – use only part of the motif, or use several parts of it but
not the whole thing.
Motif development is a way of producing a lot from a little, whilst avoiding too
much repetition
The best way to remember these variations, or devices is to practice them. So
with a routine that you already have made, or seen, use each of the devices
listed above to change how the routine looks.
The device of cannon involves 2 or more dancers dancing one or more motifs
at different times. There are different types of cannon;
A simple cannon – A dancer performs an entire motif and then keeps still
whilst another dancer performs the same motif etc
A simultaneous cannon – this involves dancers doing the same motif at the
same time but starting at different points in the phrase. Eg dancer/group 1
dance counts 1 – 8, dancer/group 2 may start at count 6, then dancing
6,7,8,1,2,3,4,5 and another dancer/group may start at count 4
A cumulative cannon – Each dancer joins in with the lead dancer at various
stages of the motif, but everyone finishes at the same time
©Lincoln Bryden, How to Teach Streetdance – The Ultimate Guide E Course,
November 2009
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Take a short movement phrase. In small groups try the various cannons,
noting what you feel as the most effective.
©Lincoln Bryden, How to Teach Streetdance – The Ultimate Guide E Course,
November 2009
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Streetdance Style
Every dance has its own style or body language; ballet is graceful, the
lambada is sexy etc. Take a few minutes to write down what you think the
body language for hip hop or streetdance is;
Now when you take part in the practical elements of the course try to keep in
mind these body language elements. Try not to just do the dance steps, but
try to perform the steps with the elements that you have highlighted above.
Remember one of the main elements of hip hop and hip hop dance was the
ability to let dancers express themselves from within, and not just produce
steps or movement
Basic streedance tips
Along with the body language elements that you have identified above, there
are certain tips that will help you achieve your style, and also transmit this to
your students. These are;
Isolating your movements
Keep your body moving
Keep your centre of gravity
Keep your body low
Learn how to isolate your movements
Learn how to isolate your body parts when moving. From the hips, to the
arms, to the shoulders, it's all about being able to control them. This will later
enable you to keep your moves controlled and more effective.
Keep your body moving
Except when you are required to perform isolated moves, learn how to keep
your body moving in time with the movement so you don't look like a stick
figure mannequin!
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November 2009
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Keep your centre of gravity
Unless the move is leaning, learn how to keep your centre of gravity and keep
everything balanced. For example, if your shoulder leans left, your bottom
should go 'right' so everything is 'balanced'.
Stay low
Hip hop dance is all about bending your knees slightly and keeping low to the
Base dance steps
In old skool pure hip hop, there were many moves that had their own names.
This was particularly true of the b-boying, locking and popping moves that all
had particular names. Examples of the many moves are;
The 6 step
Chair freezes
Electric boogaloo
Ninja Freeze
Back slide
Side glide
All of the above and many more take hours upon hours of practice to perfect,
which is beyond the scope of this course, and goes more into the study of old
skool hip hop dance. If you wanted to find out more or study a particular
group of steps, I would suggest that you find a dance class which specialised
in that style, so that you could devote more time to it
The best way to look at base moves for streetdance is to look at base moves
for aerobics. Therefore we will look at;
Step touches
Arm combinations
But before we look at any of this we will look at the beat of music that is used
within streetdance music, as it is a fundamental element to the style of the
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November 2009
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The down beat
This is when all movements are accentuated downwards on the beat. This
has a heavy feel about it, and there is almost a “full stop” element at the end
of each movement.
With feet together, listen to an r’n’b song, and attempt to bend the knees, and
bounce so that every time you hear the beat, your body movement is down.
Do this for 8 bounces
Then take the right leg out and again bounce for 8 beats.
Bring the right leg in so that feet are together and bounce for 8 beats
Take the left leg out to the side and bounce for 8 beats
Then Bring the feet together and bounce for 8 beats
Repeat steps 1 – 4 but only bouncing for 4 beats, then only for 2 beats and
then eventually for one beat on each bounce.
This exercise may feel strange at first but is a good way to get an appreciation
of the type of movement necessary for this dance.
The up beat
A variation of the above is to accentuate the upward movement on each beat.
Repeat the above exercise but instead of bouncing so that you go down on
each beat, you actually come up on each beat. Try to finish each movement
so that there is almost a “full stop” at the end of each move. Think about how
this exercise differs from the previous.
Now let’s look at the base moves in more detail. Some variations are given
but it is encouraged that you try to find more so that you have more material.
Whereas the normal marches have a heel toe action, streetdance is more of a
toe heel, again to accentuate the down beat in the music.
Variation 1;. highlighting every even count of a song. Ie every 2nd, 4th, 6th etc
beat, you sink down a bit further.
Variation 2; Playing with rhythm option 1. For example you could march on
count 1-2, then hold counts 3-4, then march on counts 5-6, then hold counts
©Lincoln Bryden, How to Teach Streetdance – The Ultimate Guide E Course,
November 2009
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Variation 3; Playing with rhythm option 2. You could increase the amount of
moves in a given time frame so that you are performing ball changes.
Therefore the counts would be 1&2&3&4&5&6&7&8. These ball changes
could then travel forwards, sideways or backwards.
Variation 4; Starting with a right leg lead, your right leg could go forwards then
back as the left leg stays in place, ie a mambo, then this mambo could then
be turned into a pivot turn ,where you perform a 360 degree turn.
Step touches
Step right leg out to the side, bring feet together, then take the left leg out to
the side and then bring the feet together. Again highlighting the down beat of
the movement. Rather than keeping the hips facing front, they face the
direction that you move. For example if you step to the right, your hips face
right and if you move to the left, your hips move left
Variation 1; lift the knee up on each and count. So you have 1&2&3&4.
Variation 2; speed up the move and play with the rhythm, for example single,
single, double
Variation 3; instead of bringing the feet together on counts 2 and 4, you would
tap the feet behind.
Variation 4; the same as variation but instead of tapping the feet behind, you
would tap the feet in front.
From a neutral position, take the right leg out to the side, bring that leg back to
the centre, then take the left leg out to the side, then bring the feet together.
Variation 1; playing with rhythm you have single single double, repeat other
Variation 2; playing with rhythm again, instead of the double you could pause
on 7 and 8
Variation 3; the lunges could change to tap forwards, which in turn could turn
into kicks, which in turn could change into kick ball changes.
Variation 4; the lunges could lunge backwards, which then could change to
Variation 5; the lunges could become high impact “hip hop jacks” where
instead of bringing the legs together as in normal jacks
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November 2009
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Lifting one knee up, placing back on the floor and then lifting the other. Try to
bend the other leg and lean forward/bend down, while you lift the knee, so
that although the individual movement is going upwards, whole body
movement is going down.
Variation 1; bringing the knees slightly across the mid line, so that it looks look
you want to go to the toilet! (Very good imagery)
Variation 2; as above but using rhythm to create a single, single, double effect
Variation 3; instead of lifting the leg bent in front, you can take it straight out to
the side.
Arm combinations
We have already seen how gestures are movements down, usually with the
upper body. Arm combinations are really a new skool concept, with the
exception of locking. With the advent of video dancing it has become
necessary to make dance routines more visually appealing, and therefore arm
combinations are seen in most streetdance routines.
Arm combinations can be symmetrical ie both right and left are doing the
same thing, or asymmetrical where right and left are doing different things.
Obviously the latter would be more challenging, especially if you add a foot
combination as well! But they can be fun and easy to make up. Also in relation
to children they can help develop motor skills and enhance a particular theme
of a dance.
Try the following exercise.
What type of 8 count combination would you comprise for the following
The King Tut dance style was inspired by ancient Greek Hieroglyphics.
Devise an 8 count in this style
A martial arts theme.
Playing a sport
Now match one of the above arm combinations with the following rhythms;
©Lincoln Bryden, How to Teach Streetdance – The Ultimate Guide E Course,
November 2009
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Teaching Skills
Teaching skills are the cornerstone of any successful class. It enables your
participants to learn your choreography in a smooth, stress free manner.
Involved in this terms there are various aspects that should be discussed;
1. Cueing skills
2. Breakdown Skills
Cueing Skills
These are skills that allow us to direct our students, and cue them onto the
next movement in your class. Included in here are:
Pre cueing/prephrasing
Physically cueing the next movement while the class is performing the current
movement. An example of this would be teaching 8 front taps and then as the
group are completing their 8th tap to the front, you visually preview the next
move which could be a tap to the side. This could be used in a warm up
when you are getting your group motivated
Verbal Cues
Clear verbal instructions are obviously important to maintain interest while
teaching the various progressions of your class.
Try the following exercise
In pairs one person stands behind the other, both facing the same way. The
person behind is the instructor, and has to give movement instructions to the
person standing in front. The person in front is not allowed to turn around to
visually see the movements. Good luck!
Right Footing:
The process of changing from Mirror image (facing your group) to Participant
image (with your group), to hybrid (a combination of the 2). This is an
important skill to enable participants to clearly understand directional changes
and foot patterns. In dance classes this is really important as you may find
that participants find it easier when you are facing the same direction as them,
but from a communication point of view, or if you are teaching an arm
combination, then you may have to face your group.
©Lincoln Bryden, How to Teach Streetdance – The Ultimate Guide E Course,
November 2009
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Breakdown Skills
Breakdown skills are the methods used to breakdown your act 4 of swan lake,
and gradually add the levels of complexity so that your full masterpiece can
be appreciated and learned with minimal stress.
Although there are many ways to achieve this, here are the most common,
learning curves:
Add on, or linear teaching
This is simply where you teach one move, and then another, without going
back from the top. This could be used in a warm up and is great to introduce
people into the streetdance style or for dance drills
The Link Method
Here, you add on separate sequences of moves
Sequence A move A
Move B
Add A+B together
Sequence B move C
Move D
Add C+D together then link that with sequence A
Repetition Reduction/Reverse Pyramid
This is where you start with a high number of repetitions of a movement, and
then reduce them to achieve your final result. For example : 4 side lunges
right and left leg, reduced to 2, then single side lunges.
This is where you as an instructor have established a base pattern, and then
you would layer on another progression. For example after establishing a
march to the right, then march on the spot base pattern , you could then layer
changes to the march on the spot. Then you could layer on rhythm changes to
the march to the side, followed by layering on a turning change for extra
Half time teaching;
As the name suggests the combination/movement is performed at half tempo
to allow the participants to get the move. This a popular method for teaching
©Lincoln Bryden, How to Teach Streetdance – The Ultimate Guide E Course,
November 2009
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movements when routines are learnt with music in the background.
Sometimes however teaching a combination in this way does not convey the
actual real time rhythm. In these instances the following may be a better
Staggered time;
This is where a movement, for example. An arm pattern is performed at actual
time, but with pauses at certain points to allow participants to learn a bit at a
©Lincoln Bryden, How to Teach Streetdance – The Ultimate Guide E Course,
November 2009
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Class structure
These structure of a streetdance class really depends on your objectives as
an instructor. If your aim is to teach the whole group choreography then the
structure could be as follows;
Warm up component:
Mobility exercises for the joints
Pulse raising activities to warm the muscles and increase heart rate;
Skill rehearsal
Preparatory stretching to lengthen the muscles.
All the above to be done in a streetdance style, with streetdance
Main component:
Gradually introduce streetdance choreography using a variety of teaching
methods, either with the music on, or off
Continue to build the choreography until the routine is learnt
Performance of the routine
Cool down component:
Pulse lowering activities, maybe performing the routine at a lowered
Post workout stretches (developmental and maintenance),
There are advantages and disadvantages to keeping the music playing
throughout your class. The obvious advantage is that it can increase
motivation of the students, and keep them focused on the style of the dance.
Disadvantages could be that it is easier to talk the group through difficult
steps, moves or combinations with the music off, and then teach put the
music on.
This particular model could be varied. For example if you wanted more of a
group input to the routine, then you could have the following;
©Lincoln Bryden, How to Teach Streetdance – The Ultimate Guide E Course,
November 2009
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Warm up component:
As above.
Main component
Introduce a range of lower body and upper body moves to the group
In pairs, get each group to devise and 8 count each
The pairs would link to another group. They would then teach them their
16 count, whilst learning the other group’s 16 count. So there would be 32
counts in total
If the groups were able they could use the different devices to enhance
their routines
Each group would perform their routines
Cool down component:
Same as above
A variation of this could be that the teacher teach a block of 32 counts as well
as giving a library of moves. Then when it came to the performance part of
the class, the groups would then perform the given 32 count block and then
add their own creation to it. This has the benefits of developing recall,
creativity and teamwork.
If your goal was to develop cardiovascular fitness, more care needs to be
taken in terms of the material that you teach and the manner that you teach it.
As the beats per minute of hip hop/ r’n’b music is slow, the traditional learning
curves that you see in aerobic classes would not be as easily achieved.
However you could achieve an interval training effect by mixing performance
of each stage, with teaching the next stage half time; For example;
Warm up component:
As above
Main component (cardiovascular):
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November 2009
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Teach 1st 8 count half time, or staggered time
Perform 8 count, in real time, a number of times to elevate the heart rate
Teach 2nd 8 count
Perform 2nd 8 count real time
Teach 1st and 2nd 8 count half time, or staggered time
Perform 1st and 2nd 8 count in real time, again a few times to elelvate the
heart rate
Teach 3rd 8 count half time
And so on until your routine is complete
Cool down component:
As above
The key consideration here is that the choreography has to be a lot easier so
that too much time is not taken with the teaching of the routine, and that
momentum of the routine is maintained. Also consideration needs to be taken
of the age group of the individuals. For example children of a younger age
range may not have the concentration levels need for this type of class.
Therefore activities may need to be varied a lot more to maintain interest.
From experience this type of class is suitable for a small sample of children,
maybe those of the higher age ranges, that would also have the necessary
skill and concentration levels.
There are many ways to structure your streetdance class. The overall aim
has got to be that the participants feel that they have achieved something at
the end of the session, regardless of the method.
Streetdance by its nature is an energetic dynamic dance and therefore any of
the structures listed above will result in some sort of training effect.
Hip Hop Music
©Lincoln Bryden, How to Teach Streetdance – The Ultimate Guide E Course,
November 2009
[email protected]
Most streetdance classes will be taught to hip hop, r’n’b, house, garage,
reggae or other music derived from this medium.
It is therefore important to see firstly how this music is structured, its
characteristics, and how to work with it, ie how to use it as a stimulus to create
Most streetdance music has a bpm of 97 – 106. You can see from this that it
is slow in comparison to other types of music. However this does allow for a
lot of off beats to be used in choreography. If you were selecting a particular
song to work with you would have to “map” it out, ie work with the individual
phrases to see what would be the verse and what would be the chorus and
what would be the bridge
Listen to a current hip hop/ r’n’b song and map out the different verses and
choruses in the space provided.
This is very useful for providing a basis for choreography, and will be
discussed in more detail later.
If you were going to use a cd from one of the many fitness suppliers eg Pure
Energy, Solid Sound, Multitrax, Interactive, then a lot of the work is done for
you as the odd beats are taken out and everything is in even 32 count
phrases. This is great if you were to teach a class with music on at all times,
as you would not have to worry about the beat of the music in the
©Lincoln Bryden, How to Teach Streetdance – The Ultimate Guide E Course,
November 2009
[email protected]
One important thing to bear in mind is that by the very nature of hip hop and
r’n’b, some of the lyrics may be of an “adult” nature to say the least, so please
choose carefully when playing music in your classes. There are still plenty of
options as most songs have radio edits with expletives taken out. Also the
fitness music companies do make sure that there are no swearing or
unsuitable language on their songs. But the golden rule would be; listen
before you play in a class.
As stated at the beginning of this section, the music is a great stimulus to
create dance. We can do this in a number of ways. By listening to the
intricate beats within each phrase we can use this as a starting point to create
our choreography.
Exercise; Listen to a piece of music and try to notate the different rhythms
that there are. Use this to create 16 counts of choreography
We can also use the lyrics to stimulate us to create movement. For example
we can create gestures to convey words in a song, in terms of their literal
meaning, or the emotion that the words are trying to convey
Exercise; Listen to a song and write down what you think are the key words.
Use these words to create 16 counts of choreography.
©Lincoln Bryden, How to Teach Streetdance – The Ultimate Guide E Course,
November 2009
[email protected]
We can also use any sound effects to stimulate us to create movement. We
can interpret the movements to be sharp, soft, heavy, light etc.
Listen to one of the performance tracks, that starts with “Are You Ready?”
followed by the footsteps. Write down what they mean to you and then try to
devise a movement sequence that reflects the different sounds.
In reality choreographing to streetdance music, and indeed any music will
include a combination of all of the above elements of the music; rhythm, lyrics,
emotion and any sound effects.
Remember that streetdance came about through a societies need to express
themselves throughout the various elements of hip hop; mc ing, graffiti, djing
and dancing. Therefore when we are teaching or creating movement we
should not be getting people to just learn steps, but to convey certain
emotions within the dance. So you could mix a complex co-ordinated motif,
with a easier motif which is designed to convey an emotion eg, anger,
sadness happiness, cheekiness etc.
©Lincoln Bryden, How to Teach Streetdance – The Ultimate Guide E Course,
November 2009
[email protected]
About the Author
Lincoln has his own business, Total Fitness, and has a BSc degree in
Recreation Management and Sports Science. He has been involved in the
fitness industry for 20 years and has presented fitness and aerobic sessions
in over 35 different countries, including Italy, Spain, Holland, Germany
France, Hong Kong, and Mexico.
Linx has toured the UK presenting his unique stylised sessions, and is the
creator of 20 fitness videos. In between organising his own fitness and dance
days, he had his own TV Slot on the popular Big Breakfast TV Show, teaching
streetdance fitness.
He currently works as a lecturer at London Leisure College, and was the first
instructor in the UK to gain the CYQ Level 3 Advanced Studio instructor
award, as well as the original writer for the YMCA Streetdance for Kids
©Lincoln Bryden, How to Teach Streetdance – The Ultimate Guide E Course,
November 2009
[email protected]