Video of the Month: Hip Hop from the Heart
April 8, 2014

Congratulations to Cristian Faxola, the latest Editors’ Choice winner for the Dance Teacher Video of the Month!

In a living room lit warmly by a single dome-shaped lamp, a lean, compact dancer pops, locks and glides his way over shining wood floors to the soulful R&B of Mary J. Blige. Faxola, who lives in Brazil but tours internationally with hip-hop company Compagnie Käfig, recorded the video from his apartment during a recent trip to France, where the company is based. It is a gift to the loved ones he left at home, he says. “When I travel, I miss my family, my friends and my girlfriend so much. I always try to talk with them, but it’s not the same. In this video I can express what I feel, what I need to say.”

In his master classes at hip-hop festivals around the world, Faxola asks students to think more about their emotions than actions. Even when he demonstrates a particular movement, he prompts dancers to consider their internal motivation. A suspended moment with a raised arm, for example, might express the feeling of longing for a solution to a problem and the relief of finding it. “When you have the arm raised,” he says, “think about reaching for something, and when you grab it, you can breathe again.”

Though he speaks Portuguese, French and English, Faxola faces language barriers with some students. He depends on instrumental cues and distinctive lyrics as markers in the music. And he repeats combinations as many times as it takes, as slowly as he needs to, he says. “I try to show the students every single arc in the music with the movement.”

Want to build buzz about your studio, workshop or class? Posting videos to the Dance Teacher Video of the Month Contest is quick, easy and free—and a great way to get noticed. If your video is selected as Editors’ Choice, you’ll be featured on this page! The Viewers’ Choice winner will be announced in DT’s newsletter and on our social-media pages. Don’t miss out on a great opportunity—visit, share your videos and vote for your favorites. Any and all kinds of dance are welcome.

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