Teen teaches hip-hop dance

photo courtesy of Trish Broedner A hip hop dance class is being offered in town by Joshua Ramirez, left, this fall.

photo courtesy of Trish Broedner
A hip hop dance class is being offered in town by Joshua Ramirez, left, this fall.

The Town of Hay River is offering children’s introductory hip-hop dance classes with instructor Joshua Ramirez.

The 18-year-old moved to the town from the Philippines to join his mother, Lennie, who has lived in Canada for four years. Ramirez has been dancing since he was 13 years old, and has been teaching summer workshops in his hometown of Aurora in the Philippines.

“My uncle dances a lot, so he passed it on to me,” Ramirez said about how he became interested in dance.

“I dance every day. In the bath. I think most dancers just look in the mirror and start dancing.”

Ramirez certainly has moves, but he likes to stay humble. In the Philippines, one of his fellow instructors Junichi Ishii was quite well-known for his dance but managed to remain down to earth and humble. Ramirez has modelled his own attitude after Ishii.

“I never want to quit learning,” Ramirez said. “Once you claim you have learned it all then you won’t listen to anyone else and you won’t learn. Once you think you are better than people, that’s when you stop learning.”

In the Philippines, Ramirez was heavily involved in dance groups and workshops. Now that he’s in Hay River, he has not found as many opportunities to be active in his hobby.

“I really miss dancing,” he said. “But I’m not planning to stop dancing while I am here.”

So he created his own opportunity. He approached Emma Harper, recreation programmer, with his idea to start a hip-hop class.

“It’s one of those things I’ve been thinking about for a long time,” said Harper. “But we just haven’t found anyone to teach it yet. There is not a lot of dance in the community.”

He’s excited to be teaching again but also feels nervous about the class.

“This will be my first time teaching in English,” he said. “I can teach them to dance, and they can help me with my English.”

His students can expect to learn the basics of urban-style hip hop, a fast and controlled style of dance, he said. Ramirez said that if the group around him at Make the Connection Night was any indication, the classes will be popular. Classes run for six weeks on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Ages four to seven dance from 5:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., and ages eight to 12 from 6:15 p.m. to 7 p.m. Those interested can register at the recreation centre.