Interview: Barbara

After the addition of Kizomba last year, this year we have a new style again: Hiphop! With a new style comes a new teacher, and for Hiphop this is Barbara Fischer.

Barbara is 24 years old and has been teaching at Erasmus Sport for 5 years already. Besides these lessons she is a Physical Education teacher in higher education. She finished the HALO 4 years ago and after this she completed the dance study for all-round dance teacher. After her studies she did not want to choose for PE teacher or dance teacher, and now she is combining her passion and her work!

How did you first start at ES?

At the HALO I had a teacher who also worked at the sports centre, and she asked me to take care of the lessons here. I enjoyed this part time job so much that I never left!

Are you ever not doing anything?

Almost never. Besides my job at school and the classes here I also teach Aerobics/Zumba on Thursdays in Sgravenzande. I also give clinics and workshops sometimes and I have organised a dance camp a couple of times. There are only a few nights where I don’t have any plans.

What will be different now the lessons are at EDS?

A lot more involvement for sure. I think I have the target audience now. People with passion and love for dance. Through ES people came to get fit and to have a workout, but of course it is specialized in dancing. It’s to get better in dance, and you have to be prepared to work for it. This is also much more convenient with teaching choreography. Last year you could join whenever you wanted, so there were people coming halfway through a choreo or they just left.

It also offers more possibilities because there is a team behind it. People will be more excited than at ES. And of course I have more members now.

What are you looking forward to this year?

What I’m looking forward to make a hiphop crew with enthusiasm and love for the dance from a mixed group of people who don’t know each other and are in different levels. I’m also looking forward to raising the level, to make them feel they are getting better and having fun. They have to learn a lot, but it’s an hour of relaxation, it has to stay fun. It will also be nice to mix with the other dance styles and to work together.

What inspired you to start Hiphop dancing?

I started once with jazz ballet in Nieuwerkerk. I soon discovered it did not challenge me anymore. A friend of my father said she worked at a large dance school and let me try out a few lessons jazz ballet. The room next door there were boys and girls doing a Hiphop lesson. The teacher was the national champion Hiphop, and I saw the first performance and I decided that I wanted to do that. At Hiphop you keep your shoulders low, very different from jazz where you have to stand up tall. She inspired me, but the music definitely helped.

Do you dance other styles besides Hiphop?

I used to, but I don’t have the time anymore. I danced Jazz, Classical, Hiphop, Tapdance, Modern and Showdance. I was best in Hiphop, and I enjoyed it the most. I started my own dancing crew when I was 14 years old. I do still want to improve my Salsa!

What do you like most about Hiphop?

That it’s not just one thing. Hiphop is really a life style, not just a dance. It came here from the Bronx in the ’90s. Hiphop contains music, a style of cloting, dancing, rap, graffiti. It doesn’t stand or fall with knowing a few steps. Feelings, music, clothing and attitude makes Hiphop what it is. Stepwise you can’t think crazy enough and it’s Hiphop already. Low on the floor, groovy, tight with accents. Sometimes Lyrical Hiphop where you really listen to the lyrics and dance on that, or Hiphop fast on a pop song with a lot of beats where you dance to the beat. That is what makes it challenging for me as a teacher, I will do Hiphop fast for a month and then the next month I’ll do Lyrical or I choose old school with popping. Sometimes when I’m in the car I listen to music and I’m like “this is it” and I go dancing to it at home, improvising and making the choreo. What’s important to me is that it’s about feelings. The beginners will get a lot of basic steps, mostly on the full/half counts. Lyrical is more “and one, and two” and at advanced I won’t be teaching the counts because they are supposed to know that already.

Which Hiphop style do you like the most?

Lyrical, because you don’t dance on the beat anymore but it’s about telling a story. Sometimes a move is on a certain word. You have to listen very carefully and feel the music instead of counting. That’s a bit more advanced always, to feel and listen to the music a bit more. That’s something I can put my creativity in.

What are your top 3 Hiphop tracks?

Jay Z – Niggas in Paris. The beat is so loud, you can lose yourself in it.

Michael Jackson – Smooth Criminal. He is THE example in dance, the founder. The beat is very touching and you can dance very tight to it. It gives an old school feeling, I can’t stand still to it.

Drake & Rihanna – One Dance. It’s about dancing, and an upbeat song. It’s a groovy song, really relaxed. And very well known, when you hear it everyone will dance to it.

How can you best describe your Hiphop style?

A combination between smooth, hard movements (isolations) combination with groovy relaxed own style movements. It’s really important to me when someone is dancing groovy it’s his or her own style. My style is not the most important thing. You have to pour your own flavour over your dance. Mimicking a step is something anyone can do, real dancing is something else. You have to create your own style. That is typical about my lessons, I encourage my students to find and develop their own style.