A Brief 'Hipstory'

Hip Hop schools have mushroomed all around the country in the last 20 years – not surprising considering the fact that the best hip hop artists have worked so hard to popularize this form of music. Starting from the glory days of DJ Clive Campbell, better know as Kool Herc, hip hop has had a tremendous influence on the youth of this and the previous generations. Now considered among the most popular music of all time, hip hop has given rise to waves of instructors who've set up shop to spread the dance form far and wide. If you're not convinced, then you weren't there at the National Unity Performing and Visual Arts concert in Iraq in 2007, where hip-hop exponent Michael Parks Masterson led a group of Iraqi hip hop dancers to a thundering performance.

Come On Flex Those Hips

Hip hop dance schools are usually open to anyone who's interested in learning the moves that made stars of ordinary musicians and dancers. However, you need to be in shape if you want to keep up with the classes. Admittedly, attending a hip hop dance school will help you shed those extra pounds, but if you really want to learn to dance properly, you'll need to go in with some flexibility and stamina. A good martial arts course or aerobics program should put you on the right track. Hip hop is great therapy too, so if you've got some joint trouble go ahead and join – but check with your doctor first.

IDA Ho Got Yo Moves

Finding a hip hop dance school is easy – probably the easiest part of learning hip hop. Whether you're on the west coast, the east coast or can't even see the coast from where you live, there's bound to be a great school that teaches at least the rudiments of hip hop. If you're around Hollywood, you should go see IDA. The International Dance Academy in Hollywood is probably one of the finest dance schools in the country, with teachers that have worked with the biggest stars in the business: Beyonce, Britney Spears, Paula Abdul, Prince and Janet Jackson, to name just a few. With a single class costing $13 and unlimited dance pass at $180, this is one of the more competitive schools. And with more than 20 hip hop teachers imparting their knowledge of various types of hip hop dancing, you just can't go wrong.

New York Hip Hop Dance School - The BLADE Experience

On the Atlantic side, there's the B.L.A.D.E. Academy on W. 23rd Street in New York City. Exclusive to this dance form, this hip hop school is home to several famous choreographers who come every now and then to bone up on their basics and share what they learned on the road. At $20 for a 3-hour class, their rates are very reasonable. However, like most dance schools, they're very particular about discipline. Dancing itself requires a tremendous amount of commitment, and they won't let you slack off here. They've also got a hip hop dance fitness boot-camp called Blade Fit, kind of like a regular army boot camp without the polite, soft-spoken Sergeant. If you join this, you're sure to get your $15 worth of workouts – and a mouthful more.

In The End, It's About You
Any hip hop dance school worth its weight in hip hop hats should be able to get you hoppin' in no time, but it requires a tremendous amount of hard work at your end. Practice the moves that you learn everyday at home until it becomes second nature. Passion for anything is the key to becoming good at it so if you really want this, then prove it by getting good; it doesn't matter if you don't win any awards, as long as you get the satisfaction of being a tip top ship shape hip hop dancer.