Hip-hop dance class celebrates Black History Month

Mona Adem

GROOV3, an old school hip-hop dance class taught by Benjamin Allen in Redwood hall, was hosted by Pan African studies and the kinesiology department to commemorate Black History Month.

The class brought in men and women of all ages and backgrounds. Allen said his dance workout represents three elements: dance, sweat and life.

“It’s about self-expression, freedom, and being able to let it go,” Allen said.

The class was an hour and 45 minutes and dancers encouraged each other when faced off in dance battle.

Allen said that his class Wednesday focused on old school hip-hop because of its cultural significance to the black community.

Dr. Aime Glocke, Pan African studies associate professor, helped organize the event. She believes dance is often a better way to educate people about the culture than simply using a presentation.

“They get hands on learning in context to hip-hop,” said Glocke.

Glocke said that hip-hop has changed throughout the years as it became a commodity and part of the mainstream media.

“We chose old school hip-hop because the lineage shows that there is much more to the music than what we see today,” said Glocke.

Natalie Askren, 27, kinesiology major who focuses on dance, said the event was enjoyable.

Askren said she grew up in Vermont, and very few African-Americans lived in her neighborhood. Her parents never taught her about racial boundaries and she believes that everyone should respect each other no matter their race.

“These kind of events truly bring people together and when we dance next to each other, we don’t see each others skin color,” Askren said.

Tyana Haskins, 19, dance major, said she appreciates these kind of events that are brought to the forefront.

“Everyone is so focused on Valentine’s day and forgets that this is also a month that celebrates Black history,” Haskins said.

Haskins said that although the country has come far in terms of racial equality, we still have a long way to go until we actually become a colorblind society.

“We need more advancement to happen so we can have social acceptance for everyone,” Haskins said.

“If everyone had a dance mindset, then the world would be a better place to live,” she said.