A hip-hop lesson with Liezel Marie de Guzman

  • Liezel Marie de Guzman leads the class in a hip-hop routine.

  • Students rehearse a movement while de Guzman cues up the music.

  • Students rehearse a movement.

March 14, 2018

On March 8 and 9, hip-hop dancer and choreographer Liezel Marie de Guzman visited Interlochen Arts Academy to work with dance students.

De Guzman arrived on March 8, which is celebrated as International Women’s Day. In observance, de Guzman taught the students a hip-hop routine inspired by some of her favorite female dancers and choreographers. The routine included movements from a variety of hip-hop styles, including breaking, locking and popping.

“It is wise to be a versatile dancer,” de Guzman told the students before beginning the session. “If you’re great in ballet, awesome, but keep your mind open to other styles.”

De Guzman spent the next hour and a half teaching the students a routine to Lauren Hill’s “Doo Wop.” De Guzman encouraged the students to add their own personal touch to many of the movements. “Everyone grooves differently, and that’s what’s beautiful about dance,” she said.

De Guzman stopped her lesson at its midpoint to teach the students about the history of hip-hop. “Know your history,” she told the students. “It’s so important, and it will make you appreciate dance so much more.”

As the session concluded, de Guzman offered a word of encouragement to the young dancers. “You guys are going to be the next top-notch dancers and the next top-notch teachers,” she said.