Hiplet Ballerinas - Program

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ABOUT HIPLET Hiplet fuses classical pointe technique with African, Latin, hip-hop and urban dance styles that are rooted in communities of color. By mixing ballet with current popular songs familiar to audiences who don’t normally attend ballet, Hiplet is making ballet accessible to all. Performances may incorporate the rhythms of African drums with Tchaikovsky, arabesques and beat-boxing or even tango en pointe—all while showcasing Hiplet’s trademark sass, hip movements, and struts to popular music.

HOMER HANS BRYANT Homer Hans Bryant is the founder of the Chicago Multi-Cultural Dance Center and creator of the Hiplet technique. He works with accomplished black ballerinas who are proving to the world that they can be successful at traditional ballet and is trying to help black dancers express a more contemporary and culturally reflective form that expresses who they are and where they come from. Bryant sees dance as a way to build character and discipline.

VOCABULARY • Ballet - an artistic dance form performed to music using exact and highly formalized set steps and gestures • Stage - a raised floor or platform where people perform • Tights - a cloth garment, that tightly covered the body from the waist to the toe tips • Diversity - an understanding that each individual is unique, and a recognition of our differences • Choreography - a sequence of steps and movements in dance • Inclusion - advocating for the rights of people, regardless of their race, age, disabilities, or health care needs, to be included within a group • Hip Hop - a style of popular music of US black and Hispanic origin, featuring rap vocals and instrumental support • Audience - people viewing or listening to a performance


“THUNDER” is one of Hiplet’s most notorious pieces and is used to introduce the concept of combining traditional ballet with hip-hop dance. The music used for the performance is a fusion of classical strings paired with hip-hop raps and beats to create an exciting audible experience for audiences. Thunder is the sound made by lightning, which is why you hear thunder and see lightning together during a storm. Thunderclouds are tall, dark, puffy and filled with tiny particles of ice and water. When these particles bump into each other, it creates electricity. Once the cloud is full of electricity, it moves to another cloud or the ground below causing a jagged bolt of light that is hotter than the sun’s surface. Lightning bolts heat the area around them, causing the air to expand quickly. When hot air pushes against cooler air, it makes vibrations. These vibrations travel through the atmosphere, bouncing off clouds or the ground until the sound reaches your ear. This explosion of noise is called thunder. Since light travels faster than sound, we see lightning first even though thunder and lightning occur together. Created in partnership with

The Florida Center for Reading Research (FCRR) is a multidisciplinary research center at Florida State University. FCRR explores all aspects of reading research—basic research into literacy-related skills for typically developing readers and those who struggle, studies of effective prevention and intervention, and psychometric work on formative assessment.

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