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  • The disco moves were what I enjoyed.  Brought me back to third grade when I would watch the wrestling cheerleaders try to come up with moves to the song, "Funky Town."  My first cassette tape was Cool and the Gang.  When I came back to school after taking the class I showed off my disco moves more than anything.  Hip Hop doesn't feel like it matches me too well.  When I pop, I don't lock!

  • I enjoyed the hip-hop and the disco lessons, although I wish I'd been able to spend more time learning/practicing hip-hop, and discussing/reflecting on the history as related to it (and for that matter, considering the history that led up to disco as a popular form). I loved what we learned, although to be honest I think I need more practice before I can bring hip-hop dancing to my students...it seems more likely that they would bring it to me (although I think many of them feel like they don't know how to dance in that style, either). I am so glad to now have a lens that lets me look at it for isolation, exaggeration and swagger. I would love to talk to kids about how these concepts have become important in modern dance...But overall, I just can't get over the fact that I want more experience and practice with this form. Does Gabe help teach the ASD summer academy? ; )

  • Not that I can do hip hop but I never realized how "easy" it was.  What I liked the most about this class was how simply the dance steps were broken down.  I had several ah-ha moments.  

    Gabe's comments about attitude and swagger were great.  What a life lesson that is. 

  • It was fun to imagine my students doing hip-hop because they would be so great at it.  I use the web resources ob Flocabulary to teach history, and the Week in Rap segments to familiarize students with current events.  They now cannot wait to write their own raps about some event, and having them create a hip-hop dance using their own swagger to go with it would be awesome.  I am really excited to try it out and see what they come up with!

  • I apologize to all of you for having to leave early! I am not going to lie though, my knowledge of the history of pop, r&b, and rap consists mainly of what we heard in class. I don't really feel like I can make many pronouncements there but the progression that got us to current hip hop music and dance seems similar to my musical experiences in some ways. My parents introduced me to the Beatles, and I eventually wandered towards other bands like the Stones and the Who. Once I got my first guitar, they turned me on to Hendrix, whose flashy solos led me to other guitar-centric bands of that era. Somehow Black Sabbath entered the equation, and I followed the progression of the instrument into Ozzy and Randy Rhoads, which in turn led me to glam metal. Once I mentioned this to a friend, he mocked me slightly and gave me a mix tape of Anthrax and Megadeath. I followed that train well into the faster scenes of thrash and death metal. A high school friend gave me a tape of some hardcore punk music of that time (I think it was the Damned), and before I knew it, I was listening to Nirvana's "Incesticide." That album changed my life. The music on it was metal, noise, punk, and pop all at the same time. To use Gabe's words, to me that album had "swagger." After I heard it I formed a band and spent every free moment outside of school and college practicing and touring around NY and PA, playing for crowds of everything from 4 to 4000.

    That big autobiographical interlude was to make one point- in that musical style, I found my "swagger," my own personal style. I was somewhat of an introvert before I began playing live. Even when I started I was nervous and would stand still as a statue on stage, but then my stage self became this exaggerated character. I would jump around on stage, get out and mosh with the crowd, even smash guitars at particularly good shows. These shows in turn gave me confidence to take into other areas of life. I went from being the quiet kid who no one knew in the back of the class to having female groupies following me around, and eventually becoming the president of a couple student organizations in college and, as one friend put it, almost single-handedly restarting the punk scene in that city.

    If it wasn't for that outlet that the music and dance gave me (if you call stage antics dance), I probably wouldn't even be a teacher; I doubt I would have the courage to stand in front of a class every day. THAT is why we need the arts in school. All the knowledge in the world can't give you the "swagger" that results with making something that is personally yours, and that you are invested in. When you have that something, the fear and anxiety that is driven away by your pride in that accomplishment will likewise be driven out of the rest of your life too.

    To summarize without the self-congratulatory autobiography, arts +expression= swagger. Swagger = confidence in other areas. Solid academics + confidence in life = success, and success has to be the goal of every classroom. I will now vow not to go back and edit this because even my swagger blushes when I talk about my personal life.

  • I have watched national Hip Hop competitions and I have been very impressed the performances, although I am not fan of the music. Gabe did a wonderful job teaching an old folkie like me the importance of over exemplifying normal moves with confident expressions. Students will love this type of dance.

  • This era's music was so familiar and interesting from the point of view I've lived through all of it.  It's interesting to think of it in a historical perspective, and to wonder how people will analyze how the music reflected our values, concerns and events.  

    Gabe's explanation of hip-hop was wonderful.  I never realized how intricate and disciplined the good hip-hop is.  I also didn't appreciate its possibilities for storytelling.   I'm a little embarrassed to admit I thought it was just showing off, and maybe some of it is, but I also see its power, strength and reflection of the times we are living in.

    I'm still amazed at the federal government hiring choreographers to change the way we danced.  Looking bqck on the era, it shouldn't surprise me, but it does.  Thomas Jefferson would have had a cow!!  His ideas of limited government and the need of a revolution every 20 years would definitely have been stirred!

  • I am excited about the possibilities...Gabe was so fun.  The three things to remember: dance with moves that are crisp and clear, exaggerated and done with confidence.  These are things I can work on... Hip hop is a form of dance I do not know much about.  I feel like I have a beginning.  I have had a sneak preview.  The hustle, disco, yeah, I know this, and I think about how it was when I went to school in Fairbanks.  They actually taught Disco Dance at UAF during 1978-1979...can you believe that?  UAF also taught ballroom dancing and contra dancing instead of the traditional PE courses...I had a blast. 

    The music in this era is my music and part of my culture and I need some time to rethink it in terms what the music and dance said about our attitudes.  I remember thinking that dancing was freeing and let me be me...I think most of us felt that way.  We revealed our feelings and emotions.  I have to think about it some more!  The tables are moving and I think I have to stop now.

  • Hip hop dancing is a great dance form to try with students.  We always have a 'dance off' during our prom and it is utterly fabulous!  It's one of the few times I see my students just let go and dance.  Like Gabe talked about, a lot of our students think they know what hip hop is but they really know the 'watered' down version of it.  Discussing how it came about, during all that angst and trying to identify who 'we are', this popular dance form was literally born.  A lot of really rich discussion could happen with this.  I'm excited to try.

  • I really enjoyed the hip-hop presentation.  I had never given much thought to how this kind of dancing was done.  I'm sure my students would love a presentation like that.  It would be great to teach them how to do some of those moves like a real pro.

    As for the disco, all I can say is that I'm very glad I was born in the '80s. :-)

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