Welcome to the AK-CSS Members Forum! Please sign up to join the discussions.


  • Fantastic reflections and opportunities for on-going integration with our ever-changing music!  I will share your comments with Gabe - what a gem!

    Thanks everyone!

  • I have to say that Gabe really impressed me with his "presentation."  First of all, I didn't have a very good opinion of hip-hop dancing before this.  I associated it with gangs, loud booming music and kids with extremely rebellious attitudes.  Now that I understand more about it as a dance form (exaggerated movements, etc.), I can appreciate it a lot more.  I also was impressed that Gabe had more knowledge than just hip-hop.  He was a tapper and had obviously taken ballet.  Overall, it was a fabulous eye-opener to me.  Thanks!

  • Among many wonderful discoveries today, I changed my view of hip-hop!  The idea that anyone can hip-hop -- ! Gabe somehow convinced even the most reluctant of us that we could, and we did.  This is the second time I have observed a local hip-hop artist.  Both times, the message was totally positive and asset-building for kids. IF this is what hip-hop is all about, I say let's get more hip-hop in our schools!

    Gabe is the youngest master teacher I have ever seen.

    I must share something I just found on the National Endowment for the Arts website:

    I found this on the NEA website while looking for arts grants:

    "Art works" is a noun; the creation of works of art by artists.

    "Art works" is a verb; art works on and within people to change and inspire them.

    "Art works" is a statement; arts jobs are real jobs that are part of the real economy.


    I love it!

  • There is so much to discuss and learn in this era! We barely scratched the surface, but that means there is so much to discuss with our students. It is truly important for us to spend time analyzing the changes and characteristics in the dance and music of our time with the students. Wouldn't it be great to get these kids to be analytical learners in their present time. There is certainly no trouble getting kids interested! It was nice to hear Gabe put in to words what hip hop is and what it is about.
  • I, too, feel like we came full circle.  Now, we as adults are in the position of feeling that the dancing that “kids these days” are doing is too much—too vulgar, too suggestive, too controversial.  It seems that nearly every dance style that we covered was accompanied by some raised eyebrows by the elders of the time period.  Makes me wonder what people 100 years from now will think of our current musical and dance styles… and what scandalous things they’ll be doing!!

    I think it’s important for us to remember the different contexts of the dances we discussed, as well as what we didn’t talk about.  Although hip hop’s roots are, as Gabe said, in the streets, I think of it as a class you can take at a dance studio and perform with your classmates in an end-of-year recital.  It has become as much a performance-based dance form as ballet, jazz, tap, or modern dance.  However, the other dance styles we discussed were social dances.  It’s interesting to think about what was happening with dances meant for performance concurrent with the social dance trends.  When Martha Graham’s company came to Anchorage a few years ago, their show detailed the evolution of Martha Graham as a dancer and the genesis of modern dance.  Early in her career, dancing was all about exotic escapism.  However, “Chronicle,” the work that defined her and the modern dance genre, was choreographed in 1936, in the midst of the Great Depression.  And depressing it is—a huge departure from escapism, real pain and anguish were depicted on stage, and it is truly painful to watch.   

    This topic is certainly far richer than two days allows us!

  • 2:05 PM - Modern Age

    My only regret here was the fact we didn’t have more time to spend dancing. One of the most interesting thoughts I had here was in comparing audio media with how we use, interact with, and exchange music with one another. The invention of audio recordings of course, was huge. Making them portable had almost as much an impact. Now, with the availability of the internet, we once again interact with music differently.

    When 45’s came on the market, those who could afford them, were now able to choose individual songs, purchase them, and enjoy them in the privacy of their own homes (unheard of). With portable cassettes and walkman-type devices, people could then make “best of” lists and carry these personalized recordings with them wherever they went. Music sharing took on a whole new level limited only by the pesky ‘rewind’ button. Then, with the advent of cds, the rewind button was gone and the new age of direct access began. This came at a cost however, as for about 10 years, consumers seemed to speak more about ‘track 4’ or ‘track 9’ as significant instead of referencing a song’s actual title. The connection between artist and consumer had lost some of its intimacy. Now with mp3’s and internet sound files, it seems that connection has been reestablished once again. Consumers are looking up, and purchasing single songs and albums by title and are now rediscovering musical intimacy with an even greater connection through the vast details of media. Throw in YouTube and other internet applications, and you’re talking a serious revolution. It seems that technology has dramatically impacted our direction in music. It is certainly no surprise that present musical genre is as diverse as it is.  Side track for sure....

    Incidentally, aren’t we here again with the ‘no touch’ dance stuff? Disco, country line dances, and Hip Hop all have a solo element to them in addition to the partner portion. My, how far this thread has woven.... Thanks for the class.

  • This was a lot of fun.  This would work very well in a teen-issues or current studies class.  U.S. History teachers could also tie in how modern hip-hop dancing has many influences from the 1920s.  This would be a great way to attach some of the social and political connotations of dance from the '20s to today's kids.

  • I enjoyed learning the elements of hip-hop. If someone on the street asked me to define it, I now at least know enough to describe it as an improvisational dance that employs isolation in rhythm to music. What a revelation that so much dancing of popular music artists today is hip-hop-derived.

    Coincidentally, I got to use my new "eyes" the Saturday after the class at the Anchorage Museum. The event was Big Feat Little Feet, a dance contest in which performers were challenged to choreograph a dance piece within the confines of a seven-foot-square box taped off on stage. Two of the groups did hip-hop. When they performed, I thought of Gabe's teachings and understood. Hello, cultural literacy!

  • I think we can all agree that Stephanie and Gabe can teach us disco & hip-hop anytime!  Wow! This era is changing so fast that our discussion didn't even begin to break the surface of music/historic connections.  Thank you for isolating, exaggerating and definitely showing your "swag" with your responses!

    (Sara, thanks for bringing Laban's Qualities of Movement to the discussion!  Fantastic resource!)

  • I loved the chance to go back in time with the Disco scene!  Watching the videos and having a refresher course on doing the hustle was quite a trip down memory lane.  The Hip-Hop section was quite educational however!  I've always been fascinated by the folks who are skilled in this type of dance but didn't know the logistics behind it.  It's so much more controlled than I thought and now I even have more respect for those who have mastered the craft.

This reply was deleted.