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Ballroom meets Hip Hop

dancers performing

Ballroom Dance Champions Garry and Rita Gekhman surprise the crowd

Ever notice how when you notice something, you seem to see it everywhere?  A while back I wrote a series of posts about fusion dance, a phenomena in which two different dance styles are “fused” together. Last week on my facebook page  I added recent example of Swango that was particularly beautiful.  No sooner did I post it than I found an example of a fusion dance that was totally new to me, and I suspect nearly everyone else as well. It is from 1004, but this is the first time I’ve seen it!  There’s an ironic twist in this because it fuses The Robot, a street dance, with competitive ballroom.  The irony is that street dancers, polar opposites of formal ballroom, might describe ballroom dancers as “stiff” and “robotic”.  Rarely do you see dancers so well versed in vastly different styles.  Their clever combination is a delight.  You can tell by the voice over comments that they brought the house down when they performed this fusion for a ballroom audience.

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By LaurieAnn Lepoff

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Fusion in Performance Dance

students at NW Fusion Dance Company

Some schools specialize in Fusion. This is from NW Fusion Dance Company

I’ve written before about partner dancers combining styles, but performance dancers do it too.  Some years ago I spent 8 Julys  in Sweden studying the European partner jazz dance Boogie Woogie   My favorite teacher, Christer Isberg, was the best all around dancer I’d ever seen.  It seemed he could do anything.  His background included classical ballet, jazz, tap, modern, and I’m sure other genres.  He encouraged us to study as many different dance styles as possible.

 

Sometimes when dancers learn more than one style, their creativity leads them to fuse different dances into one choreography.  In this example, this extraordinarily talented young dancer combines contemporary hip hop with his obvious training in classical dance.  The result is a gripping performance that speaks his heart.

 

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One of the first fusion performance dances was Afro Fusion.  Check out these talented women in this example:

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African dance has influenced the roots of many dances, so it does beg the question: What is fusion and what is the development of a new dance.  Lindy Hop has it’s roots in tap, charleston, African, and Jazz.  Yet we don’t consider it a fusion dance.  For those of you who like to clarify your definitions, I would say that most, if not all, new dances are rooted in previous dances.  It’s fusion if a dancer or choreographer consciously puts more than one dance style together with another.

 

It’s a new dance if it rises out of new music and is an expression of a movement to the music, like Hip Hop, Lindy Hop, and Salsa.  If you have another idea on this interested topic, I’d love to hear it!

 

By LaurieAnn Lepoff

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