What's going to happen in your first Hip Hop classes? What kind of format will they follow?
We look at the class set-up and how your teacher will use your class to teach you a whole routine.
So, let's get going. The first thing you might notice is whether the teacher introduces themselves to you.
It is more likely in Hip Hop classes, than most other dance lessons, that you won't get an introduction from the teacher.
Some will introduce themselves to you, but it is our experience that most don't. So, just get dancing! (There's more info on this in our Hip Hop teachers section.)
The music system will start pumping out a heavy bass line and facing the mirror, an instructor will start doing moves for you to copy.
Your warm up in Hip Hop classes could vary a lot. There are some teachers out there who do a very thorough Jazz-style warm up and insist all their dancers are fully stretched and warmed up before building a routine.
This can help you feel as though the class is very professional; a 'real' class.
With other Hip Hop teachers, the warm up is basic as they are eager for the class to learn the routine right away.
This approach can make you feel as though the routine is the important thing and is a more 'street' approach. You might have to go to a couple of different Hip Hop classes to figure out which one suits you.
We always prefer any dance class to include a warm up section.
So we've included one here that's the first piece of your online Hip Hop dance class.
Do this bit first - it's the professional way to start any dance class and includes lots of moves and stretches to get you properly warmed up.
If you can, do this a few times until you can memorize the movements.
Then, if you end up going to a class that doesn't include a warm up, you can do some of the stretches just before the class.
You'll always see professional dancers starting to warm up their body as soon as they've got into their dance gear in the changing rooms.
So do your warm up moves wherever you can and your dancing will be better for it.
The same goes for the cool down – some teachers are thorough, others don't offer one at all.
We do though!
It's the very last piece of the jigsaw and it's included at the end of our instructional Hip Hop dance class right here online.
So once you've learnt our unique routine, you'll cool down your body properly before the class ends to ensure that you don't cramp the next day.
If you're serious about your dancing, you'll want to take care of your body the way that professional dancers do.
So don't skip the cool down.
And as above, do it a few times and remember the moves and stretches. Then if your class doesn't have a cool down section, you can stretch out properly once it's over.
However, we've commonly seen Hip Hop classes actually start before the warm up.
You may find that, when you first go into the studio, the teacher will face the mirror and demonstrate simple moves one at a time, for the class to loosely follow.
This pre-warm up can happen for the first five or ten minutes of the class. It's not the warm up and it's not the lesson. But it can serve a number of important functions.
Its primary function is to slightly delay the start of the class so that any latecomers aren't too disruptive to the other pupils – which means that when the warm up starts properly after a few minutes, everyone is settled in the class and involved.
It also gives the teacher a chance to figure out the ability of the pupils and therefore pitch the class accordingly.
And, great for newbies, it gives you the chance to make sure you are in the right spot – a place where you can clearly see everything the teacher is doing, and also feel comfortable.
And it gets you in the mood!
And after a few minutes of this taster session, the warm-up or class will start. These taster sections don't always happen, but we've seen it regularly enough to mention it here.
Don't be surprised if the pre-warm up (if there is one) and the warm up itself are done by simply copying the teacher's movements and you aren't given much (or any) verbal instruction.
This varies wildly between Hip Hop classes and teachers, but sometimes you just won't get much spoken direction.
This is why it is vital to grab a good spot in the studio early on – so you can see everything the teacher is doing.
Most Hip Hop classes tend to follow a fairly set routine – you'll build a 32 beat dance in four blocks of eight beats.
You build the steps, build the rhythm, build the confidence.
Each block of eight will be broken down, practised to instruction from the teacher and then rehearsed to music.
Hip Hop moves aren't necessarily complicated for the beginner, but
you could find that on every single beat of the first eight beat
routine, you'll have a leg or foot move, an arm move AND a head or back
move as well.
That's a lot of moves to keep up with. Now, obviously a good teacher will break all this down for you as far as it will go and will build your routine slowly.
But there's a huge amount to remember just to get the moves right and then you have to add attitude and 'cool' to it. Sometimes, it's worth just trying to switch your brain off and let the beat and your body find where you should be.
One word of advance warning.
Once (and once was enough) we experienced a Hip Hop class where the first half of the lesson was spent with the whole class learning basic Hip Hop moves (which is fine).
But then the class was divided up into groups of just two people who had to work together to make up their own routine which they then had to perform for the whole class at the end of the session.
So you'd have to spend most of your class making up moves (when you don't yet have enough experience to do that) and getting nervous at the thought of dancing in front of everybody. Yuk.
Very very scary and not recommended for newbies. Not one of the newbies who attended that class ever went back to it.
It might be worth asking the studio or teacher what kind of format the class is in to make sure you don't get stuck in a class like that.
Basically, you just don't learn anything, and your dancing won't progress much. Best avoided until you are more experienced.
Hip Hop classes are very hard work.
You must make sure you drink lots of water during and after your class.
If the teacher isn't building water breaks and an occasional breather into the class, take one when you need it.
So, just keep at it. There's such a mix of different Hip Hop classes you're bound find something that suits you and that realizes your full dancing potential.
Next, a few tips on what to expect from your Hip Hop teacher...