I am a student from the hip-hop class at Tree Academy. During class, we not only learn the dance steps, but we also learn the history of the steps.
Lately, we have been learning about the “Lockers Group,” which is a dance group that performed regularly on, American Band Stand. Their group was founded 1971 by Don Campbell. Some of the members either left or died, but the dance steps they created are still very much alive. We have learned a number of steps from the Lockers including the Lock, the Blast (also called the ‘Muscle Man’), the Eagle Jump, and Uncle Sam Points.
Our teacher, Jessica Pontillas, is a member of Versa-Style, a dance company that “create highly energetic work that fuses dances that are culturally significant to our community...” Jessi began dancing at a young age. She took dance classes such as ballet and jazz, and she would teach herself dance routines. Jessi’s mentors include Jackie Lopez and Leigh Foaad and they inspired her because "... all have served as amazing mentors throughout my training as a dancer and inspired me to pursue dance professionally.”
Jessi has two performances in the coming months. One performance is coming up at the end of this month and the other by March. These performances act, she says, as “... an event where many LA-based choreographers come together to showcase their current work.”
Hip Hop students have been working on developing what will become a special performance for the Spring celebration. We are learning more moves and dance steps, and are working hard to put it all together. Our hope is that it will turn out great!