On Good Morning America the world was introduced to a new form of Ballet called “Hiplet” which mixes hip-hop moves with traditional ballet.
Some call it very innovative and keeping up with the times, others are giving it major side eye because it changes traditional classical ballet into something they describe as slightly watered down.
The new form of ballet dance was first introduced on social media by Dance Educator Homer Hansbryant of The School of Homer Bryant and CMDC , Chicago IL. The young ladies dancing ranged from 12 to 16 years old and their sessions are often shared by their teacher on Instagram. check them out:
Watch the girls introduce ‘Hiplet” to the world on Good Morning America:
They have been featured on other news outlets before hitting the GMA stage as well as Buzzfeed where people showed support for the girls.
Change is good and new ways of expressing yourself from tradition can be seen as innovative however hiplet has its critics. Many believe that it is neither hip-hop or ballet!
Read below via Dance Magazine:
Hiplet purports to be a blend of hip hop and ballet, but the lack of authentic representation of either genre is another reason some of us are giving it a hard side-eye. The only aspects of ballet would be the use of pointe shoes and some questionably-executed basic ballet vocabulary.
And the technique doesn’t draw from real hip hop roots, either. The foundational techniques of hip hop are popping, locking and breaking, although Jookin, a Memphis-born derivative (also known as the “Gangsta walk”), sometimes resembles ballet with its elements of gliding and toe work. But hiplet is more of a mash-up of many styles of West African, Horton, jazz, dancehall and social dance.
Another point Dance Magazine made in their article is that Hiplet is some what of an embarrassment and will erase some of the achievements they have made with regards to diversity generally in the world of ballet:
For ballet dancers of color, Hiplet is something of an embarrassment. Just when artistic directors are finally taking the need for diversity seriously, and a few black ballerinas are climbing the ranks in major companies, there is Hiplet. Just when we can proudly and enthusiastically hashtag #blackballerinas, #blackelegance #browngirlsdoballet and mean it, when we feel like we are the Jeffersons, movin’ on up, Hiplet is the ghettoization of blacks doing “ballet.” Not because it blends African American urban social dance and a European court social dance, but because it does it crudely, without sophistication and hence becomes a mockery of our honest efforts to excel at the latter while not honoring the brilliance of the former.
Those are some pretty strong words and in my opinion pretty unfair! I am not a dancer so I have no experience other than what I have read about the black ballerina experience, however as a black woman myself I can just imagine.
I see nothing wrong with the girls carving out their own lane and benefiting from it. At the end of the day, diversity needs to happen regardless of Hiplet or any other innovations developed from traditional dance.
Additionally, the standards we set for the craft should not be based on biased artistic directors who refuse to recognize true talent when they see it! I applaud the girls for enjoying something new that in no way takes away from the classical ballet experience of brown girls all over the world.
What do you all think? Comment below!