Hip Hop Teachers

Here, we're going to provide you with a profile of what makes the perfect Hip Hop teacher. Go to a class with a great teacher and you'll be confidently dancing Hip Hop by the end of your first lesson...

So finding a good Hip Hop teacher is going to be vital to your success.

And there are plenty out there to choose from. Hip Hop has the widest range of teaching methods and personalities we've seen in any dance.

We've come across everything from the scary (full of attitude and trying to teach potentially dangerous moves) to the absolutely brilliant (fun, knowledgeable and gifted, like our beloved Lil'J - we really hope you find someone just like her).

No matter what style of teaching suits you and your dancing, you should be able to find a Hip Hop teacher you like.

We found one that we adore, like the fun one we describe above, and it's her who teaches our brilliant Hip Hop for beginners class that you can follow along with right here.

This is the gold standard of teaching - a teacher who makes the class fun and easy to follow but who also packs in enough valuable information and great teaching methods for you to pick up a whole Hip Hop routine and dance it well in just one lesson.

So if you don't have a class near you, or haven't found a teacher you really like yet - keep looking.

And in the meantime keep doing Lil' J's class - you'll learn a lot.

When you venture out to find a class, here's what you need to know...

As we've mentioned, the level of introduction you are likely to get is as variable as the teaching styles on offer. So you'll either just start copying the person at the front and the class will start, or you'll get the full "Hi, my name is …" thing.

It's our preference that a teacher should always introduce themselves and speak to the class, motivate them, before the dancing starts. But that's just our preference and you should shop around for your favorite style.

And something to consider is that, as Hip Hop is universally popular, there are many great Hip Hop teachers who tour, giving master classes or short series of classes.

A few of these teachers don't have a huge knowledge of English. So being taught by someone who is largely silent, whose moves you just follow, enables you to be taught by someone who doesn’t speak your language. They let the moves speak for them.

Don't forget that being a dance teacher is a business like any other. And your class is probably not the only one the teacher instructs. So you may find that teachers hand out business cards or timetables for their other classes. This is a level of accessibility that pupils usually appreciate and we always think it's a great idea.

Extra Practise Time

Hip Hop Street Dance teacher Lil'J

Some Hip Hop teachers will ask if you need extra practise time after doing a step or routine for the first time, but most will just take the class through at a steady rate.

We've come across very few Hip Hop teachers who offer extra practise time and let the pupils dictate the pace of the class, but they are out there and are worth seeking out.

Someone who constantly checks whether you are keeping up and getting all the moves right is a very encouraging one to be around.

You may find that your teacher simply says "If I'm going too fast for anyone, just let me know".

This is a great offer in theory, but in practise we've rarely seen a pupil speak up in front of the whole class and admit to being lost.

But sometimes the only reassurance you need is to hear the teacher offer this. After all, it is their job to look at each and every pupil and help the ones who are struggling. And it just means that you know it's OK to be going a little slowly.

So, you're looking for a Hip Hop teacher who takes good care of their pupils.

As a newbie, you shouldn't find that you are being asked to do any very difficult turns or spins as these can be the most dangerous for a beginner to try.

A good teacher will be teaching a class that is within the capabilities of everybody there - and that includes you.

And of course the great thing about learning from our online Hip Hop class is that you can do each section or step and many times as you like until you've got it.

Picture It

Another thing to look out for in good teachers is use of visualization techniques.

It can really help your dancing moves if there is something the move is similar to that you can be thinking about.

For example, an arm move that calls for control and release with a curved body position can be hard to understand. But if you are told to imitate the action of skimming a stone, you'll probably get it straightaway.

Teachers who use any techniques that make your moves easier and more realistic will bring your dancing on faster.

Some Hip Hop teachers will teach you a set of eight beats, rehearse it with you for a while and will then sit it out completely so they can just watch you, and you have to remember it all yourself.

That's when being able to remember the moves - perhaps using visualization - is really important.

Other teachers will dance along in front of you the whole time. There isn't a right or wrong way about this, you'll come across both styles and they are equally beneficial.

Hip Hop Teacher and Pupils


We've noticed that there is far less touching of pupils by Hip Hop teachers than in a lot of other dances. Perhaps this will suit you and perhaps not – you'll have to make up your own mind.

There are some Hip Hop teachers who will give you a pat on the back when you need it but that's about as much touching as we've ever seen in a Hip Hop class.

A lot of other dances rely on coming in some kind of contact with your teacher as they man-handle you into the correct positions, but this one doesn't seem to.

So don't expect too much physical correction – it's all done by "Look at what I'm doing and then do it yourself" style of teaching.

Get a Good Spot

Don't expect too much wandering about in the class by the teacher either.

There are a few teachers we know who always go amongst the class to look at the pupils' steps in detail, but most Hip Hop teachers we've seen just teach from the front – so we have to say that it is vital to get yourself a good spot in the class.

You should be able to see the teacher clearly - and of course most importantly you need to be able to see their feet.

So be brave and don't hang back. Pick a spot in the class near the front where you are close to the teacher and you can see everything they do.

You don't want to be stuck behind a load of people unable to see more of the teacher than just their head. That isn't going to help!

In that position you are probably going to resort to copying the moves of the people in front of you - but they are beginners too.

No matter how good their dancing looks, they won't be dancing well enough for you to learn from.

So you've never going to get the routine right unless you get it directly from the teacher.

A good Hip Hop tip...

Always look for positive reinforcement.

Never take any abuse or insulting behavior. Quit a class in which you feel uncomfortable or picked on by the teacher or other pupils. This is not acceptable and good classes and teachers do not tolerate bad behavior. Instead find a professionally taught class with a good, supportive teacher.

Something that as a newbie you might see quite a lot of is a teacher of a beginners class being obviously more interested in the pupils who have more dance experience.

Don't worry too much. Just concentrate on getting your own steps right and dancing your very best.

Pay more attention to yourself than you pay to what is going on in the rest of the class. And just follow everything the teacher says the best you can.

In a very short space of time and with a bit of practise between lessons (using our online class), you won't be a beginner for very long.


You'll also see a variety of energy levels that Hip Hop teachers put into their classes.

One of our favorite Hip Hop experts bounds around the room making everybody laugh, lightening the mood, doing all kinds of different moves and generally making sure his class has an excellent, fun time.

Others we know prefer the cool attitude and just do the move demonstration and then watch the class repeat it.

Again, it is a matter of personal choice – do you want to laugh or do you want to concentrate?

Of course the ideal is to find a teacher who encourages both – and we are privileged enough to know one or two.

And they are some of the greatest teachers we've ever come across. So look hard until you find one of these and your dancing will improve so much you'll be amazed.

As mentioned, we filmed the best of the best for our online Hip Hop class so wherever you are in the world, no matter how far away the nearest good class is, you can attend her brilliant class right here.


Bear in mind that Hip Hop doesn't have many of its own formal teaching qualifications or a regulatory board.

Plenty of Hip Hop teachers have some teaching qualifications and training, but generally in other dances or in physical fitness.

So it is possible that you may find a teacher who doesn't have a clue how to pass their knowledge on and just expects to dance through a class and have the pupils follow what they are doing.

Clearly this is best avoided if you are serious about becoming proficient at Hip Hop.

There are plenty of fantastically gifted Hip Hop teachers, and if you are lucky, you may find that you are being taught by someone who has choreographed for one of the big R n B artists. Now that would be cool.

So that's all about the teachers, but who are the other Hip Hop pupils going to be?  Read on...

› Hip Hop teachers