[KHTS] – Sixth grade students from two Newhall District schools had the opportunity to perform in front of professional hip hop artists on Friday, as part of the Universoul Hip Hop program that brings dance education into elementary schools.
Tiffany Bong, the founder of Universal Hip Hop, came to Peachland and Wiley Canyon Elementary Schools for 9 weeks each, teaching students the basics of hip hop and the history of funk music. The students split into dance crews and choreographed and performed hip hop routines.
On Friday, several were selected to perform in front of Anthony Thomas, Bong’s teacher and choreographer for Janet Jackson.
Several other professional dancers were present, including James “Skeeter Rabbit” Higgins.
After watching the students perform, the dancers gave a demonstration of different kinds of hip hop and their own unique styles
Bong and the Universoul team held similar assemblies at Valley View and Mountainview Elementary Schools earlier in March.
Universoul Hip Hop classes are available through the K-12 Arts Education Outreach Program of College of the Canyons’ Performing Arts Center.
The programs at Wiley Canyon and Peachland were made possible through a Thelma Pearl Howard Grant from the California Community Foundation.
The grant was offered to two Title 1 schools in the Newhall District.
Kristin Lairson, assistant principal at Wiley Canyon, said that the program encouraged teamwork and helped students find value and worth through dancing.
And while the school received a grant to fund the program this year, they plan to sign up and pay for it next year because it was such a rewarding experience for the students and teachers, Lairson said.
Peachland Principal Sarah Johnson also saw her students gain self-confidence through the program.
Some were scared to dance at first, she said, but each crew ended up performing in front of the entire school.
Peachland also intends to bring the program back in the fall.
For more information about Universoul Hip Hop and the K-12 Arts Education Outreach Program, visit them online.