First hip hop dance class part of Weekend University

Oct. 27, 2014

Celeste Burnham
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Students should prepare themselves for rhythm and soul on weekends, courtesy of new dance teacher Ron Jules.

Dance 3700 is a Weekend University course that is taught on Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Jules became involved with the dance program through Tiffany Tinsley-Weeks who participated in the development of the dance minor.

Jules and Tinsley-Weeks danced together at Ormao Dance Company in Colorado Springs. After meeting with Kevin Landis and discussing how they should go about the class, Jules was given a time slot and began teaching the first hip hop course at UCCS.

“We were hearing around the community where hip hop was needed,” Jules said.

He came to Colorado from Pennsylvania State University where most of his dance skills were self-taught and practiced through his dance group.

Although he danced when he was younger, Jules didn’t really begin dancing until about 14 years ago.

He began subbing for dance classes at PSU and continued on the path toward becoming a dance teacher. His teaching opportunities expanded after moving to Colorado.

“After learning the foundations of all the hip hop styles I had a dance group and we would teach each other. When we expanded I would teach other people,” he said.

Jules explained he is intentional with his classes and avenues of teaching in order to motivate and help his student’s progress.

“I wanted to lead people on the right path and help them get better at hip hop,” he said.

Jules is also a part of the Colorado Springs dance group Soul Mechanics and sometimes performs with the Ormao Dance Company.

For now, Jules is focusing on his class at UCCS.

The hip hop course offered is a mixture of different dance levels. Jules hopes that as the program expands and more interest arises there will be different sections of the class for different skill levels.

“I believe that they can get a sense of movement through hip hop, a little bit of history on where it came from and proper vocabulary,” Jules said.

As of right now there are no performance opportunities for current hip hop students but Jules would also like to have that aspect of the class progress in the future. He said there is potential for a free style performance or choreography that would be taught in class.

“When I practice, I keep going over the concepts and foundations so that I can come up with something different,” Jules said.

The academic involvement of the class includes attendance, goal sheets, a paper and being tested on hip hop vocabulary.

Jules hopes for the continuation of hip hop’s new rise at UCCS and for more students and different levels as time goes on.

“My goal is to help people get better at dancing and at hip hop in general,” he said. “My main goal is to spread the culture of hip hop in the right way.”