It was just like yesterday when we were helping The Philippine All Stars in their quest for global recognition. They are the very first Pinoy dance crew to win the top prize in the World Hip Hop Dance Championships in 2006. They did a repeat as champions in 2008.
While out of the scene for quite a while, I wasn’t surprised that three local dance crews raised the Philippine flag during their podium finish in the recently concluded 2023 World Hip Hop Dance Championships in Arizona, USA.
HQ won as champion in the Adult division while Legit Status won the same honors in the MegaCrew division. UP Streetdance Club placed third in the same division. The event was live-streamed all around the world.
Affiliated in 55 countries, the World Hip Hop Dance Championship is the largest and most respected hip-hop competition in the world. Launched in 2002, participation in the week-long event has grown from 13 to 55 countries. Howard and Karen Schwartz, co-founders of Hip Hop International (HHI), also created the Emmy-award-winning “America’s Best Dance Crew.”
Hip-hop dance is a fun and highly energetic dance style with a few distinct characteristics. Hip-hop’s high energy is paced with the quick and heavy beat of the music genre. Focus is on fancy footwork that makes complex moves look effortless. There is also a certain attitude reflected in the music and the dance, much related to a “swagger or overbearing self-confidence.
Although dance never favored me, I remember that I wrote once about how I joined the dance classes of some of The All Stars veterans. I reported how physically intense some of the moves were and did comment that for those who love dance, it can indeed be a good exercise for strengthening, flexibility, toning, balance, and even cardiovascular activity. It’s a great way to cope with stress and improve memory (you have to memorize steps).
For those who would like to revisit including dance as part of their regular routine, specifically hip-hop, here is a review of benefits according to fitness experts:
Burns calories. Dance increases blood circulation and it burns anywhere from 5 to 10 calories per minute, that is 300 to 600 calories per hour. Since hip-hop involves movement of the entire body, normally in an intense and quick way, the caloric expenditure is on the high scale. The freestyle method of hip-hop also ensures some sort of muscle confusion which is a good strategy to not fall into a plateau.
Keeps the mind active. Clearly, you have to remember steps, routines, and dance patterns. You have to be very aware and alert. Since hip-hop is also a cardio and aerobic exercise, studies say that it reverses volume loss of the hippocampus, which is in charge of memory.
Helps keep your balance. The movements require balance, which means a strong core. Over time, dancing will improve your balance and coordination even outside the dance floor. It helps strengthen the mind and body connection for quicker reflexes.
Improves the health of your heart and lungs. You can dance at any age and learn at your own pace. Since it is considered an aerobic cardio workout, it provides benefits to your heart and lungs. In fact, a study done by a university in Australia revealed that regular dancing by people over the age of 40 resulted in a 50% decrease from dying of cardiovascular disease.
Improves your flexibility. When you become more flexible, you also reduce joint pain and post-exercise aches. You may start off stiff but through regular practice, you will become more flexible. Flexibility makes your body more ‘fluid’ and ready for other physical activities such as running, cycling, and other sports. A body that is flexible to move properly means less injury.
Increase your stamina and energy. You spend energy to create more energy. So weekly dance classes can definitely increase your energy level in the long run. Many also attest that their energy increases as their fat stores begin to deplete. Since the quick moves are not very easy and involve a lot of muscles, you also increase your stamina to endure the intensity of the exercise.
Improves your mood and happiness. Hip-hop dance is a group class, so aside from the happy hormones you get from exercise it is also a social activity that promotes friendship and camaraderie. Experts say that dance has the ability to make the body feel good, which makes the mind feel great as well. Dance is a good way to relieve stress.