J91 – Reaction at the report « The Hip-hop dance » drafted for the Ministry of Culture (english version)

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(Version Française disponible ici)

I too well know the auditoriat (not to say « people ») who will read this article and thus I’m going to get straight to the point. This article aims at think as for comments read in the report « The Hip-hop dance » drafted in October, 2002 by Roberta Shapiro, Isabelle Kauffmann, Felicia McCarren for the Ethnological Heritage Unit – Ministry of Culture and Communication. Although the report is long, I advise to read it (unfortunately only available in French); certain amazin sentence must to be read and we can find interesting comments.


1. What is written: « the hip-hop is henceforth a current of the contemporary dance, even what it of more contemporary there in the contemporary dance »

What it is necessary to understand: the hip-hop is an extension of the contemporary dance.

What I say about it: in that case it’s also possible to say that the contemporary dance is a new shape of ballet dance which by its absence of codes proposes a surer freedom of movement, less connoted in the ballet more appropriate in a shape of expression closer than that expressed by the ballet dance. Yes, if we wish it we can find branches everywhere.


2. What is written: « inside as outside of the hip-hop’movement, we thus ask the question: the enrichment of the contemporary dance which brings the hip-hop it will accomplite itself by the disappearance of one of the parts ? »

What it is necessary to understand: we could repeat it so: as contemporary dancer, to choose to grow rich by the practise of hip-hop leads to deprive totally codes of the one or the other one?

What I say about it: it’s true that the enrichment by the Hip-hop pulls naturally changes, whether it’s in the way to interpret, to get the sound or still to move. Any time, « to disappear » is a too big word, I think that it’s more suitable to say that a reduction is made.


3. What is written: in the grace of the ballerinas on points tightened towards the sky, in the easeof the bare foot of the contemporary dancer, opposes the heaviness of the sneakers (or baskets) of the hip-hop’dancers which stick on the ground.

What it is necessary to understand: I don’t (want to) understand what she wanted to suggest by these comments. Maybe she wanted to mean or to make of the classic ballet shoe, the object of magnificence.

What I say about it: it’is sure that if the classic dancers wore sneakers they would lose in grace because the slipper marries completely the shape of the foot and thus lengthens the body at most, but Hip-hop’ dancers know how to makes movements magnificently fluid and light think that they fly. It’ss rather disrespectful not to give merit to this facult of movements which personally amazes me.


4. What is written: a diploma of dance hip-hop to protect a market?

What it is necessary to understand: everything is in the title there, really.

What I say about it: employ the word of « market » means that the idea of a commercial hip-hop is thought. From this point of view the question arises: would a diploma really protect the dance hip-hop or would force it to format ? To protect it’s to structure; but structured it’s to format ? For my part, I think that format the Hip-hop isn’t a good idea. It’s free movement, we’ve to keep it like that.


5. What is written: « it is necessary not to let these people take the power, we have, us, the dancers, to create a strength hip-hop » (Djamila)

What it is necessary to understand: Don’t leave to the State the possibility of having seizure by a dance stemming from a culture made to gather us and save us from the bad side of the human’feelings.

What I say about it: today it belongs to us to gather to save this dance.


6. What is written: knowledge and know-how go on in a knowledge to dance.

What it is necessary to understand : the learning and the training lead and have to lead to the execution, to the implementation of the art.

What I say about it: it’s an attractive sentence. One of the rare sentences that I liked of this report.


7. What is written: at the moment, we can note that the professors who have their own place for the teaching are the most experimented. It’s about dancers-choreographers who established (or joins) an association and teach in the name of the company that they manage or to whom they belong.

What we understand: it is necessary to give dance’lessons to be a good teachor.

What I say about it: even there there’s clumsiness I think towards a not revealed subtlety and which is the sharing. Certain persons learn more in sessions, through exchanges than in lessons. Later I shall not deny that a structure allows an improvement maybe more assured.


8. What is written: the Ministry of Culture committed the discussion with the dancers hiphop on the eventual creation of a diploma in their discipline.

What it is necessary to understand: here still it’s rather clear. It’s necessary to know that this diploma as explained in the reportbut (voluntarily, I think) not really explain, would mean making pass de diplom from IV to III. So that a dancer who would like to teach, will beforehand have to make the formation and to see handing the diploma by an institution pleases and considered rather competent to assign it to him.

What I say about it: a reform of the certification of the dance’teachers would benefit only the CND, and the government. It’s true that it’s the subject of discord that regrettably, few dancers begin to clear. Furthermore, such a reform would pull  a sidelining of the dancers in the means insufficient but professional and/or eager to share their passion.


9. What is written: « in which honor does the hip-hop deserve the name of dance ? »

What it is necessary to understand : the question is clear. Read again if you don’t understand.

What I say about it: under heat, I want to say «What’s your problem ?». But I try to seem a little reasoned by saying that I won’, as many would make it, begin to make a comparison with the others dance to prove that the hip-hop deserves to be considered as a dance. I shall attempt to speak only about it, because in a sense, we can speak about the hip-hop without speaking about the other dances, because it was a little made in its self-sufficiency. It’s a dance because the dancers saw in it a shape of expression, a maneer to communicate theirs feelings. Ask this question, leads directly to have a reflection on the dance : what it’s the dance? What can and deserves to be to name as « dance » ? Concerning the hip-hop, nowaday the question doesn’t settle any more. How, and why either; because it would be inconceivable to consider the Hip-hop as a simple movement (in the wide sense of the term and not physical).


10. What is written: the fact to legitimate as  a « dance » of one of the components of the Hip-hop’movement  owes a lot to the action of the professionals of the education

What it is necessary to understand: the dance hip-hop, because it’s what speaks the report, is considered as a dance thanks to the « professionals of the education ». Do not deceive yourselves, here, « professionals of the education » refer to the political personalities.

What I say about it: Owes to who ? Who are they ? In what moments have they acts ? What are the effects ? Because the main actors, the dancers as the activists didn’t hear about it. And then, you made what for us? Frankly not, don’t begin in suit a dance which is not yours.


What I finally say about it: I don’t understand how persons who didn’t study the midde in a introspective way manage to speak about it in 205 pages. The contents aren’t empty, certain interventions as those to note that the lack of representatives of this dance doesn’t allow to give her a place so strong as the ballet and/or contemporary dance. But certain comments aren’t based : 3/4 of the supposed comments concern the Hip-hop, which include as we know it a several of style, are based on the breakdance because as wrote  » We attended mainly trainings of break ».  I’m ready to draft one against report if needed but let the Ministry of Culture and Communication think that the Hip-hop that’s right, I cannot conceive it.

Postscript: Hip-Hoppers isn’t French.

Link: http://www.culture.gouv.fr/mpe/recherche/pdf/R _424.pdf or click here

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