James “Sugeasy” Singleton teaches a new generation of hip-hop dancers. by Jennifer Wetzel
“Music, rhythm and dance have been strong elements in my life since early childhood, when my family and I would listen to records all day long.” So says James Singleton when The Pitch asks him what he does and how he came to do it. He may be understating things a little, though. To watch SugEasy — this is what everybody calls Singleton, and the name suits him — move, to see him dance and lead dance students in any of the decidedly unslick but compelling videos on his YouTube channel, is to see just how strong those elements have turned out to be for him. Singleton’s business, Translation in Movement, means to pass music, rhythm and dance along to others, especially young people, with emphasis on where those elements intersect with hip-hop culture. When SugEasy is your teacher, your ABCs start with B, for breaking and beat-boxing. Also: DJing, MCing, graffiti writing. Also, he adds, “street knowledge.”
derstand how they are moving to the music they’re hearing in their earbuds, their car, their studio or stage or wherever they may be. My classes formulate dancers that can listen to any song or genre and tell their own story with their bodies. Learning from me will give you freedom and confidence, plus you will know the history of hip-hop culture and the reasons we do what we do. This releases you from just learning a set of routines with no meaning or musicality.
Where do you dance? The fourth Saturday of every month, at the Ship, I get to hear the legendary JocMax and DJ Max play funky soul that leads into an early house groove to keep your body rockin’ all night long.
The Pitch: What do you do? SugEasy: I am a dancer, a dance teacher, an advocate for the positivity of authentic hiphop culture, and a choreographer.
Records or streaming? My sources are 45s and 12-inch records — I DJ and love to spin music. But I also have a love-hate with Spotify because it’s an easy place to come across fresh artists with dope new tracks. I listen to all types of music from any genre — as long as it makes my head nod.
What are your hip-hop classes and workshops like? My classes are not based on students coming in to learn routines or a lot of steps. I teach the foundations of dance and help people un-
Whom would you love to dance with or for? Right now I love to dance with my daughters and with my crew, Souls of Sole. And I always have fun in the end-of-class cypher
Singleton leading students at Crescendo Conservatory in Overland Park
the pitch | december 2017 | pitch.com
11/20/17 9:40 AM
11/20/17 11:31 AM