Bedfordview-based Beatrocker’s has a skills development programme aimed at talented youngsters in children’s homes. The urban dance academy, which specialises in hip-hop and breakdance, is currently partnered with the Johannesburg Childrens Home (JCH) in these efforts. They are looking to expand this project and create partnerships with more children’s homes in South Africa.
‘We sponsor regular classes to kids that are passionate about dance and we get them performance-ready. With these new skills, we choreograph dances in different styles for corporate functions and events and have our kids perform with professional industry leaders in dance. This allows us to really give back to the homes as well as provide BBBEE points and tax reductions to our corporate clients,’ said Darryl Coetzee, owner and founder of Beatrocker’s.
‘The community is welcome to get involved in their personal capacity as well as in their business capacity by simply donating towards the children’s training, gear for their dancing, competition entries for the year or book our children for corporate events and functions,’ he added.
Q&A with Coetzee:
What makes your business unique?
Beatrocker’s Academy of Dance is unique because our studio is the first and only studio founded on Breaking, which is where the six elements/styles of hip-hop, namely Popping, Locking, House, Waacking, Voguing and Dance Hall come from. We also teach the cultural aspects and historical roots of all the styles that we offer.
All of our instructors are industry leaders in their respective fields and are all still currently active in both performance and the competition realms.
What are the common misconceptions about hip-hop and breakdancing?
Firstly, that they are dangerous and a child may get badly injured. We often have parents asking us about the dangers of their kids trying out our breakdancing class. To put parents’ minds at ease, we assure them that like in all sports that are body intensive, we are very much aware of the physical training and build up needed to execute high level movements. We prepare our students for this from a basic foundation of movement to music level right up to professional performance level.
Secondly, that breakdance and hip-hop is rife with gangsterism and drug abuse. We train children and adults to be athletes and athletes look after their bodies and minds. We do not stand for, nor tolerate, violence and unhealthy lifestyle choices.
Thirdly, that there is nothing positive about breakdancing and hip-hop. This is a very funny one for us as the facts are that Breaking and the hip-hop culture are based and built on positivity and are designed for and promote the greater good of the youth in giving them positive activities to choose from. They stimulate a positive mental attitude amongst the youth and keep them from making bad lifestyle decisions.
The last misconception is that hip-hop and breakdancing are not real careers. I think all dancers in all styles have received the third degree from their parents about their career choices. However, dance has been invested in on social and corporate platforms for many many years and there is no reason why anyone cannot or should not take up dance as a career choice when the industry is in fact available and can help one sustain a comfortable lifestyle.
What is it about dance that you love so much?
Dance allows me to be me to the absolute maximum. It completes me in a sense that when I am anxious or down it helps settle and uplift me. When I am happy and energetic, it just amplifies all the positive feelings I have. When I am agitated and moody, dance is my release and comfort. Why? Because it’s an endless streaming source of creativity, which sees no boundaries and has no judgement on me. I love dance and movement because it is good for my being as a whole and has taught me who I am.
What advice do you have for those who think that they can’t dance/have no rhythm?
Take the first step. You will find that with anything in life, you have to start with a positive action towards your goal in order to achieve it. I had no dance training, no rhythm and felt stupid when I tried to dance but I found the right like-minded peers who did not judge but rather assisted me in my practice and training. There was no such thing as Breaking lessons when I was in high school. Today you have the opportunity to have a professional trainer guide you to be the best you can be, so while these pro’s are around, take full advantage. Knowledge of this calibre is rare, yet easily accessible.