Aspley State School keeps it clean with No Dirt hip-hop dancing
A NEW program at Aspley State School is giving pupils the chance to enjoy hip-hop without the suggestive dance moves and negative song lyrics sometimes linked with the genre.
“They call me the Lyric Nazi,” joked instructor Una Baldwin, a school mum and 20-year hip-hop devotee who approached principal Andrew Duncan with the idea late last year after her “flash mob” at assembly to promote Active School Travel proved a hit with the kids.
Mr Duncan saw the benefits of adding dance classes to the north Brisbane Independent Public School’s extra-curricular line-up and of tying it in with its involvement with city council’s active travel program.
And so, Ms Baldwin was hired as a teacher aide to lead the 24 pupils who signed up for the nine-week program of 30-minute sessions from 8am every Tuesday.
No dirty dancing here
Unlike most other dance classes, her “No Dirt – Just Dance” crew members are free to ditch gaudy make-up and mandated skimpy costumes.
The dance routines are appropriate for kids in grades one to seven – “no hip thrusts” – and the song lyrics are screened for any drug references or other negative behaviour.
“Words do speak to young people and they do get absorbed.”
Acting their age
Ms Baldwin, who has been teaching dance for 20 years, said she was from a family of five and her brothers had told her they’d withdrawn their young daughters from traditional dance classes for overly suggestive routines and costumes, and grown-up make-up and music.
“It’s about letting kids be kids for longer,” Ms Baldwin, of Bridgeman Downs, said.
“Respect your body, respect yourself and have fun at the same time.”
Mums, reclaim your weekends!
She said No Dirt – Just Dance also gave the school’s dance mums their weekends back as they now had the choice to ditch outside dance classes, which were often run on a Saturday.
Mr Duncan, who has headed the Maundrell Terrace school for five years, said the benefits of physical activity before school were well established.
“It calms down the students and they are more ready to learn,” he said.
Hip-hop hits right note
Ms Baldwin said she began dancing at age three with ballet, tap and jazz but fell in love with hip-hop in her teens.
“I think we are all born with an inner drum that we respond to, and mine responds to hip-hop.”
Parents on board
Ms Baldwin praised the support from parents, in particular Leigh-Ann Rohde who co-ordinates the school’s active travel mornings, and whose business, Cardboard Box Shop, provided her with a promotional sign.
No Dirt – Just Dance is only open to Aspley State School pupils.
The school has grown to 701 pupils from 590 three years ago.
Phone (07) 3863 9111.