Harmanie Rose says dancing has been a passion of hers for 15 years.
This love of movement is one of the reasons she decided to participate in a new three-part hip hop dance video series via Curiko, an online experience platform where people of all skill levels can organize or join. events that interest them.
Rose, along with choreographer Kelly Riccardi, say the purpose of the videos is to teach people of all body types and abilities how to dance in the way that works best for them. They say the goal is to make the dance community more inclusive and diverse.
“I thought a lot about how to make hip hop natural for bodies that don’t really fit into those average hip hop movements that come from the community itself?” said Rose, who uses a wheelchair.
WATCH | Hip Hop Lesson 1:
Rose and Riccardi, along with other members of the dance community, celebrated the release of the video series with an event at Vancouver’s Alternative Creations Studio on Friday night – one of the first in-person events Curiko has hosted since the start of the pandemic, according to its community mobilizer, Allison Chow.
Chow says being able to connect in person allows people to share their passions with others and make new friends while learning to dance.
The hip hop dance series is a collaboration between Curiko and PosAbilities Association of BC, an organization that provides services to people with developmental disabilities and their families. Riccardi works for the organization as a behavioral consultant and is part of the artist-in-residence program.
He says he first thought of the idea for a video series while connecting with other members of the dance community during the pandemic and asking them what they’ve been missing. about dancing. Most said they wanted dance lessons.
Riccardi chose Rose and another dancer, Janan, to be part of the videos after arranging tryouts. Together, the three dancers go over some popular hip hop moves, such as the Scooby Doo or the cabbage patch, with instructions on how to follow. They also explore other aspects of the genre, such as its history.
He says the reason he chose hip hop for the series is because the genre, through dance and art, has been used as an outlet to express what’s happening in the world and to comment on issues. of social justice.
“I got really interested in hip hop and diversity and the fact that it included all kinds of people of different shapes, shapes and backgrounds,” said Riccardi, who has been dancing for nearly 20 years.
Rose says one of the moves she learned is called the Smurf, where the dancer hits the air twice. She explains that she can’t form one of her hands into a fist, so she instead keeps it open to create more of a slicing motion.
Riccardi adds that the videos also include American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation from Nigel Howard, who is well known for translating BC’s provincial COVID-19 updates with the provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, and Minister of Health Adrian Dix.
Although she concluded she wasn’t a hip-hop dancer after making this series of videos, Rose says she’s glad she stepped out of her comfort zone and tried something. of different.
“It’s really interesting to see how we can create movements… for disabled bodies rather than movements that have been made [for] able-bodied people,” she said.