Just the other day, I was in a store and a educational DVD caught my eye. Upon inspection, I was led to an entire website of these DVDs. Hip hop heads with light stomachs and/or an easily triggered gag reflex beware because what you are about to see might leave you with quite a mess.
Today, I'd like to address a combination of two earlier installments: hip hop instructional dance videos. I'm not really sure what's worse to me: that there's instructional videos for hip hop dance (other that Alfonso's) or that they're targeted at kids who could not possibly have enough context to understand the cultural importance of hip hop. Either way, we see how quickly people are willing to modify or tweak a culture to get dat green.
First, there's this video. Wow, doesn't the cover just scream hip hop? At least they refrained from the ever-painful substitution of "z" for "s." Boy in the front is col' gettin down, man! Here's the product description from the website (which shall remain confidential because I don't want them to get the hits and be misled into believing there is importance in what they do).
Introduces kids to Hip Hop dance. Learn the latest Hip Hop steps from the Kid Hip Hoppers, Melissa, Adia, Shani, Antoine, and Chi-Chi. Includes a bonus dance music CD! 30 mins. (1996) DVD-Region 1.
Okay, so maybe not that bad. I really hate the term "hip hoppers," though. Vomitous. I wonder if Chi-Chi is Chi-Ali's son. I wonder if Chi-Ali's even out of jail yet. Then there's this video. Man, doesn't this look like the very reward of parenthood:
Get ready to dance! It's a toe-tapping, finger-snapping good time when Paula Abdul gives Zoe her very first dance lesson! Soon, Sesame Street's favorite ballerina is learning how to step with pep in a ballet warm-up, get the beat in her feet from an African drum, be grand with her hands in an Asian dance, and just have fun with Zoe's own Silly Willy Nilly dance. And, that's not all! When Zoe's best friend Elmo joins in, everyone moves and grooves to a hip-hop, feel-good finale that will get you up and dancing along! 40 mins. (2003) DVD-Region 1.
First off, my child will not learn anything from Paula Abdul. Nothing personal as much as it's just principle. She's a former Laker girl. We support the Larry Bird and the Celtics. Here, we see Zoe moving from ballet to getting the "beat in her feet from an African drum." I wonder if that's the same African drum that X-Clan spoke of. I'm not really sure if want to see the "Silly Willy Nilly" dance. In fact, I'm sure I don't, but my curiosity was heightened by the "hip-hop, feel-good finale." Judging by the cover, I'm sure it's really hip hop. Hmm. I'd never touch this product on a shelf unless it was with tongs to transport it to the nearest trash recepticle. Garbage.
Wanna go "off da hook," son?!
Well, lucky for us we have F-Troop to take us there. I think they girl kneeling in the front is about to just go off, perhaps off da hook or perhaps go off on someone in a dance battle. All I know is she's about to get straight crunk. Funny how she's the only one mean-muggin and everyone else is all smiles like a candy store. Guys with their hats tilted to the side, baggy drawers and pastels. Oh yeah. Here's the lowdown:
What’s F-Troop Style? It’s the hot new choreography by Fenton “F-Troop” Fulgham! And you can learn his 4 high energy hip hop dance routines and a bonus old school routine with this step by step instructional DVD. With dance there’s music, and we’ve got Demi Lovato’s new hip hop single “Moves Me” that is sure to be a hit. You’ll be able to perform like the star you are when you take the Bonus CD to parties, recitals and competitions. The fun doesn’t stop there - we have Demi’s new music video and special bonus footage included. When the instruction ends the party begins and it’s “Off Da HooK”! For ages 7-16. 54 mins. (2004) DVD-All-Region.
I'm gonna just bust in on a party, call someone to the middle of the living room and say, "You wanna battle, ese? How about F-Troop style?" You know, kinda like it's a martial arts discipline. If learning dance moves from a duke named Fenton Fulgham ain't enough for you, jam out to Demi Lovato's new hip hop single "Moves Me." I'm sure it's the stuff that windmills and headspins are made of. Oh and don't forget you can take the bonus CD to parties, competitions and, best of all, recitals. Man, I'm sure those recitals are a blast.
Perhaps, you're not the Fenton Fulgham type. Maybe your kids would feel safer with DJ Dizzy and the Groove Crew. Don't these kids look like they're having a slammin' time?
I spy a few Kangols in the house, what what!
Welcome to DJ Dizzy’s Dance Hizzy. This high energy instructional DVD teaches kids fun dance styles like hip-hop, break dancing, jazz, ballet, mambo, freestyle, and more! Dance along with world-class choreographers Evan Alekzander, Dan “The Man” Nier, and “The Groove Crew” as they show you how much fun exercising and learning can be! DJ Dizzy’s step-by-step instruction is easy to follow, totally fun, and can be learned at any pace by kids at every level! Learn to dance like N’Sync, Justin Timberlake, Usher, and other superstars! Loaded with special features!!! Including: The Exercise Room, The Ultimate Party Mix, Advanced Breakdancing, The Dance Battle, Select-A-Dance, Interactive Music Menus, Hidden Bonus Features, and much more! For ages 5 and up. 90 mins. (2005) DVD-Region 1.
Firstly, I too consider hip hop in the same category of mambo, jazz and ballet. Sometimes, on a wild Saturday night, I might listen to Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake and then dive right into a little EPMD. You never know. Again, I don't mean to suggest anything anymore than the obvious, but what's with the names of these instructors: Evan Alekzander and Dan "The Man" Nier. Evan must be the ballet guy and Dan "The Man" the hip hop instructor. It also says it comes with some sort of instruction on the "dance battle." Word 'em up. Like to see one of this video's products go out to Scribble Jam and take those chops against a real b-boy/girl.
"Yo, dawg, where did you learn those moves?!"
"Why DJ Dizzy and the Groove Crew, of course!"
Then there's this one:
Ooh! Urban camo! And check out that Baryshnikovian high kick! I would invite anyone to attempt one of those in a circle. You better come to the party armed to the teeth. Lots of attitude on the packaging here. Let's flip it over and get the product description.
Kids, get up and move to the hip hop beat! Learn how to dance like Britney & Justin! This video will break down the moves you love from the hottest music videos. Music video pros show you how in this fun, easy program. Featuring CrazyLegs, teacher to the stars! If you love music and dancing, get this video! Ages 5-12. 45 mins. (2001) DVD-All-Region.
They sold me on the Britney and Justin part. They're really the hip hop artists that I would most like to pattern my careers after. And I really hope that the Crazy Legs they speak of is not the legendary Crazy Legs from Rocksteady or we've truly reached a sad day for hip hop.
I particularly like this one beacuse of the title alone: Learn to Hip Hop. Without mentioning any of the specific elements of hip hop, it's like this is the end-all in hip hop posery. Like you can buy this and in two weeks you'll be hip hoppin' everywhere. You gonna be so emersed in the culture, you're gonna be crapping R&B hooks after three days.
Learn newer and hotter dance moves than you've seen in music videos, award shows, and concerts, with this step-by-step instructional program! Join this great mix of hip hoppers at all levels as the young Justin and Brittany teach energetic and innovative moves that they personally choreographed under the guidance and flavor of Shane Sparks', choreographer to the stars, unique signature S-Style. All three break down their own 8 counts into individual moves, then quickly put the moves together with over 30 other-up-and-coming hip-hoppers -- so you can learn complete routines quickly and comfortably at your own pace! You'll also get over 15 minutes of bonus individual freestyle dance footage from many of the young participants and take a lengthy behind the scenes tour of one of the most fun, unique and educational hip hop and freestyle dance experiences you've ever seen. Whether you're a seasoned professional, an aspiring dancer, or just want to freestyle at home on your own or with friends, this program will keep your kids dancing for hours. Produced by Joe Patane from MTV's 'The Real World' Miami series - a portion of the proceeds of this program is donated to Joe's World Foundation, a nonprofit organization that focuses on youth leadership initiatives. This DVD includes the digitally remastered Volume 1, which includes a warm-up and dance combination with instruction by kid hip-hoppers at all levels. Plus, additional bonus routines for more advanced levels with Janelle and Shane Sparks. Two volumes for the price of one and a half! 45 mins. (2003) DVD-All-Region.
I spotted the word "hip-hoppers" again. Please cease using this term. Wow, Joe Patane from Real World Miami?! In case you need a refresher, he was the kid who was dating the leggy blonde girl who was about three times as tall as Joe.
Good for him, though. He's gotta charity. He's giving back. Too bad he ain't gonna sell much of the "Learn to Hip Hop" videos. At least, so long as I can help it. Probably not making any money anyway because I lifted the image from Overstock.com.