One of the unique aspects of The Hip-Hop Dance Conservatory (HDC) is our rank heuristics. All dancers train together as one unit. Although there is a hierarchy within the conservatory itself, (Principal Dancer, Senior Dancer, Dancer, and Candidate) we all train under the same premise of The BLADE Dance Technique (R). There is no special or private training held for the higher ranks separate from the ranks below them. In fact the structure is set up in such a way that will forever bind the ranks within their lineage of positions.
Rather than have dancers grouped together by their skill level or experience, we are taught in a heterogeneous setting encompassing all modes of learning. When I trained as a boxer during the beginning years of high school, I would be paired with fighters much more experienced than me to increase in skill. The same concept applies in many sports and it would only make sense to apply that concept in any discipline. However, grouping dancers by their skill level and/or position, will only set a division amongst the dancers whereas unity is imperative, especially for stage performances.
The performance division of HDC, The Hip-Hop Dance Conservatory Repertory Company (HDCRC) further supports unity by giving any dancer (protagonists, principals, soloists and tiers) an opportunity for a principal or protagonist role in a repertory piece at the Artistic Director’s discretion. This eliminates competition between the dancers. Instead the only competition that we have is internal; to be better than the dancer/person we were yesterday.
The BLADE Dance Technique (R) is self-motivated, self-monitored and self-disciplined so that students hold themselves accountable for their growth. It is the amalgamation of all ranks that feed our practice and inform our individual progress.
I am grateful for the opportunity to train with my higher ranks. It establishes the trajectory for a sharp, poised, and controlled dancer that is impactful of his or her environment. I am also grateful to train with the younger ranks. The youth remind me of where I come from as well as the creativity of the dancer we term “tabula rasa.”