Our favorite hip-hopping ballet dancers are back!
“Hiplet is a mixture of hip-hop and ballet, but really anything that we can try to put en pointe that has, like, a groovy feeling to it,” dancer Zipporah Wilson said in a recent video. “You have to have a certain posture when you’re doing ballet. Usually, you’re up tall … pointe shoes were designed for ballet. Hiplet is different.”
“In Hiplet, you can break that. You can just really move your torso more. You can bounce with it, you know. You can have fun with it!”
The dancers often shirk classical dance tunes and use some of music’s latest hits when they perform signature Hiplet moves like the “twist in and out,” the moonwalk, the “Hiplet strut,” the zippy and the Vivian — an apparent nod to the famous Fresh Prince of Bel-Air episode in which Aunt Vivian shows a group of dancers how it’s done.
Homer Bryant, who founded the Center about 25 years ago, said some have accused him of “ruining ballet” by incorporating hip-hop.
“Well no, it’s not ballet. It’s Hiplet. It’s how we empower our kids,” Bryant said in the video. “It’s how we empower the world. Hiplet is so freeing and so open. So, it’s a different culture here.”
Wilson praised the non-traditional Center, noting that she was often overlooked at her old dance studio.
“I grew up thinking that I couldn’t do ballet because of the color of my skin,” Wilson said. “I love dancing Hiplet. It just gives you a sort of confidence and just a freedom to be yourself.”
She added: “This is the dance genre that does not discriminate.”