We’re willing to bet that, by now, you’ve not only heard of hiplet, you’ve formed some opinions about it, too. Homer Hans Bryant (DT, February 2008), who coined the term and the dance style (it’s a hybrid of hip hop and ballet, and it’s pronounced “hip-lay”), knows he has his critics and detractors. But his argument—that he’s made a typically formal and stiff style of dance into something contemporary and culturally freeing—definitely has merit. And as the artistic director of the Chicago Multi-Cultural Dance Center and a former principal with Dance Theatre of Harlem, the man clearly has the know-how and credentials to safely train his dancers. “I will tell you, every girl at this school is classically trained. Everyone does ballet, and everything else,” reassures one of Bryant’s dancers.
Great Big Story just published a video update on hiplet. What’s new? Some terminology, for starters. Classic hiplet moves include the strut:
The twist in and out:
And the moonwalk:
Zipporah Wilson, a CMDC dancer, explains how she grew up thinking she couldn’t do ballet—because of the color of her skin—and how she was often overlooked at her old studio. Hiplet has given her confidence. “It’s how we empower our kids,” says Bryant. “It’s so freeing, and so open.”
Check out the full video below. What’s your take on this dance trend? (We know you have one!)