Hip-Hopping Around the Christmas Tree

Coming up with original gift ideas for Christmas is hard. Everyone wants to come up with that elusive gift idea that is something the receiver will remember the entire year and continually be thankful for and excited about.  The best kind of gift that fits this description is the gift that surpasses the season, one that continues to delight well after Christmas and into the New Year.  It has to be something that brings dance into the eyes of the receiver from the giver. What does this? Simply said, the gift of dance!   

Giving a gift of dance classes is so wonderful for a falalalala of reasons.

 Dance is great therapy for improving the mind-body connection. It requires synchronized movement but is done in interaction, fun environment. It allows self-expression as, in dance, not everyone does every movement in exactly the same way which enhances one’s creativity actually encouraging it. A great instructor will push each dancer to their limit and try to stimulate growth and new ways of movement with their bodies.   This process builds confidence and dexterity.

There are many health benefits to dance. Dancing requires good posture as all dance originates from a pose, a starting position that is uniform, set posture stance. As the body moves, it requires muscle movement, flexibility and increases in range of motion, mobility and muscular strength.  Dancing can further reduce weight if combined with sensible eating habits.  Higher output tends to decrease appetite. 

Movement that requires the brain to focus energy externally on something outside of the psychic/brain is a healthy mental exercise. This is especially true for anyone under stress, dealing with depression, or anxiety.  Taking personal energy and learning to focus it into body energy and movement can net beautiful flows of dance on the dance floor.  Re-directing negative flows of energy into positive motion is one of the best therapies there are.  Less talk and more motion, dance can be healing! Give the gift of dance to an adult or a child or teen to overcome an area they can master on their own.

Watching a child or an adult go through the rigors of a dance class and the end result, the benefits they get from participating is beautiful. The excitement, the goal setting and accomplishment, the taking ownership of the dance, the confidence-building, bonding with other dancers, and physique change all adds to self-esteem and an improved person.  It is amazing to be a part of the process but just as amazing to sit back and watch it happen.

Justin Jenkins/Southern Movement
This past fall I felt privileged to get to know Justin Jenkins.  He worked with me on an exciting venture for the American Cancer Society, donating his time. He is the Hip-Hop Instructor at the Dance Studio my little granddaughter dances for.  He helped put together a Dance Flash Mob, held down at Bridgestone Arena with several of the Titans cheerleaders in as well. Through this experience, I came to learn about this man.

What I know is this. Justin was raised in Memphis, TN. He is a humble man, not big on promoting himself or ranting about how great he is. But, his dancing is
incredible, his patience beyond most I have seen and his love of dance, well, a beautiful thing.  His love of seeing his students succeed is astonishing for a man, he interacts with each student like they are each his own personal protégé.  He was on the Dance Crew show and toured the country with Southern Movement, an outstanding Hip-Hop dance group for several years. 

 Seeing Justin dance is an experience is all I can say. But these days, he seems to have hung up his dance shoes for a passion towards helping others find the joy in hip-hop he found, the freedom of expression of this unique dance form.  His style is unmistakable and he seems to have this knack for helping others discover theirs.  Whether he is working with young children, teens or his adult classes, he makes that connection as an instructor that puts people at ease so they can learn to bring out their own magic dancing feet.

Justin Jenkins w/fiance Taylor Corlew
With the holidays upon us, when thinking of gift giving, don’t strain your brain too hard if you are at a loss at what to get. This is not a one size fits all but for some folks out there, some teen age girls and guys, some children, male and female, dance classes for the New Year learning Hip Hop may be an awesome idea!  Just wait and see their reaction when they start working with Justin, everyone loves this guy. 

For adults, okay, the men in your life, if they think they can ‘bring it on down to the dance floor’ make them prove it!  Buy them some classes and let them show you their stuff!  And on the flip side, what a fun way for women to get in shape, and get their grove on!  Pass the blog on, the idea or however you see fit. 

You never too young or too old to dance.  All it takes is a mind, imagination and a body that doesn’t want to stand still when you hear music playing.  If you are the type that “The DJ has you falling in love again” every time a great song comes on, give someone a gift they never forget!

Hip-Hop Instructor:  Justin Jenkins
Diamond Academy of Dance
639 S. Mt. Juliet Rd.Mt. Juliet, TN  37122

Special thank you to both Justin Jenkins & Kemmian Beard of Bearded Productions #KemoKoreo for this work with this year's American Cancer Society's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Dance Flash Mob! Chorgeography/Production/Filming/Dancer Selection Process 
This year's Strides was the city's most successful to date.