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Master dancer Ana Ogbueze exposes students to diverse styles
NC Dance District founder leads hip-hop class
Published Thursday, September 12, 2019 3:46 pm
by Ashley Mahoney | The Charlotte Post

Ana Ogbueze, a former dancer with the Charlotte Bobcats (now Hornets) and other NBA teams, is founder of NC Dance District. She’ll lead a master class of hip-hop dance Sept. 15 at Charlotte Ballet’s Center for Dance.

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Modern dancers need to be well versed in all styles.

NC Dance District founder Ana Ogbueze will lead a hip-hop master class at Charlotte Ballet’s Center for Dance (701 N. Tryon St. Studio A/B) on Sept. 15 from 4-5:30 p.m. The class is open to the public, ages 10 and up. Participation costs $25 in advance, and $30 at the door.

“The Center for Dance needs to start exposing our academy students to more variety of styles, so that they are more familiar with hip-hop, jazz, modern, improvisation—with all of these different styles, I could go on and on—so that they are developing dancers of this generation, because you can no longer just be a really strong ballet dancer, and expect to get into a ballet company,” said Kati Hanlon Mayo, a former Charlotte Ballet principal dancer and now artistic coordinator at the academy. “You have to be well-versed in many different styles of dance, because there is just so much new choreography that demands the knowledge of many different styles of dance. That was one of our reasons to reach out [to NC Dance District] and try and get exposure for our dancers in our academy to experience hip-hop more.”

While Charlotte Ballet does offer jazz, tap, modern and character, they are looking to expand their offering to the community.

“We also wanted to open up the Center for Dance for other people,” Hanlon Mayo said. “We want people to consider it a place to come and experience dance, not just ballet. This is a step that we wanted to take to try to develop that relationship between our adult students and maybe brand new students, and people who are just really interested in dance in Charlotte, who don’t know where to go, and have in the past ruled us out, because they thought we were strictly ballet.”

Ogbueze, an alumna of UNC Charlotte and former dancer with the Charlotte Bobcats (now Hornets), will guide class members through performance-based hip-hop.

“My partnership with Charlotte ballet is to extend this style of hip-hop not just to the hip-hop community, but also other disciplines,” Ogbueze said. “We’re kind of joining forces to introduce their ballet students to hip-hop, and to be a connector between the hip-hop community and the ballet community, but then do it in a class that is performance based. The performance component is something that both styles are very familiar with.”

What is the difference between regular hip-hop and what Ogbueze will be teaching?

“When we say performance-style hip-hop, envision watching a concert or even a commercial, and there is choreography presented,” Ogbueze said. “Some dancers are doing one part, while another section is going on simultaneously, as opposed to a normal hip-hop class where everyone is doing everything all together. A performance class kind of divides the students up into smaller groups, and they each learn their own specific section. It all comes together for the full performance.”

She emphasized that teaching style is the main difference between these two types of hip-hop.

“If you were to take a class, you may be one of 15 people, and you’re all learning one dance, all at the same time,” Ogbueze said. “In a performance class, it is as if you are a part of a performance company or a team, and you have a show the next day. It’s more the teaching style than just the movement. I’ll divide the class up. Within those small groups, I’ll teach them a combination, but then I’ll let them go off to work together to perfect the combination. Toward the middle of the class, I bring everybody together and while the music is playing, they are transitioning on and off the performance space. It’s more dynamic, and it includes more of the dancers working together, as opposed to everyone receiving the same choreography from one teacher. They all are co-teaching with me, because I allow them to work together, and contribute to the routine, and the students really get a kick out of it, because it’s a different style of class.”


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