What do you get when you take two of the oldest, most difficult, and most popular forms of dance—ballet and hip hop—and combine them? A brand new form of dance called Hiplet, of course. And yes, it’s just as amazing as it sounds. Take a look for yourself:
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How It Was Founded
Hiplet is the brainchild of Homer Hans Bryant, head of the Chicago Multi-Cultural Dance Center. Back in 1994, Bryant pioneered a new dance style called Rap Ballet, which featured classical ballet dance techniques set to a mix of classical and rap music.
When rap music gave way to the broader hip hop music category, Bryant’s dance form evolved too. In 2007, he trademarked the name “Hiplet.”
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Taking Off Across Social Media
It wasn’t until recently, though, that Hiplet hit the mainstream. Bryant’s students began posting videos of the stunning art form to social media, and soon, Hiplet was going viral.
When news outlets began sharing videos of Hiplet dancers on Facebook, millions of people viewed and shared them. When you see dancers doing hip hop moves en pointe, it’s easy to see why:
Introducing New Children To The Art Of Dance
Hiplet is not just visually striking and fun to watch, it’s been an effective way to draw a more diverse group of dancers into the traditionally white world of ballet, giving them access to training, opportunities and a unique creative outlet.
Dancers who have trained at Bryant’s Chicago studio have gone on to dance at some of the most prestigious venues and companies in the world.
“Of course, we have our critics,” Bryant told the Chicago Reader. “Anything new, people are going to be upset by it. I tell people this is edutainment. It opens a place where kids of color can come and study this art form, knowing that they have to train in classical ballet, five, six times a week.”
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Ballet is an extremely traditional art form that’s slow to accept change, but with the rise in popularity of Hiplet, along with world-famous dancers like Misty Copeland breaking color barriers, a major shift is happening right before our eyes. And thanks to people like Bryant and his Hiplet dancers, it’s really, really fun to watch.