Trent Jack, A.J. (MegaMan) Kambere and Patrick Aleck (from left) are the instructors at this year’s Crimson Coast Spring Break Body Talk Dance Workshop. (Photos courtesy Crimson Coast Dance Society)

Nanaimo Hip Hop Pop Wow will teach importance of culture

Week-long workshops wrap up with performance at Malaspina Theatre

Trent Jack and A.J. (MegaMan) Kambere are hoping to teach more than just dance at Crimson Coast Dance Society’s Spring Break Body Talk Dance Workshop.

The dancers hope to motivate their teenage pupils and pass on a message of positivity.

“They’re the future. It’s that simple,” Kambere said. “They are the future and if we don’t educate them properly and mentor them then our future is done.”

“I love my own culture and really would like other youth to know their culture, too,” Jack said.

From March 17 to 21 at Vibe dance studio Kambere will teach urban street dance and choreography, Jack will share indigenous dance and Patrick Aleck will offer singing and drumming and support Jack as well.

The students will spend all week with the instructors and punctuate the camp at the Hip Hop Pow Wow performance at Malaspina Theatre on March 22, where they will demonstrate what they have learned.

Crimson Coast director Holly Bright said the workshops allow youths to explore “urban street arts” and the cultural art of Coast Salish people.

“It’s a really fantastic opportunity for teens to really begin to understand each other through age-appropriate activities that are really fun and that they love,” she said. “I like to think that the workshop bridges some differences so that there’s understanding and then values the differences.”

Kambere said he will be discussing the history and cultural significance of hip hop. He’ll be teaching both “old school” and “new school” dance moves.

“It’s important to know both of them because the old school is what paved the way for the new school dances … and then I’ll be showing them some cool, trippy, mechanical movement and I’ll put it all in a routine,” he said.

Kambere added that he’d like to see the youths keep up their dancing after the workshop finishes and eventually create dance events of their own.

“I hope that it [provides] an outlet for kids to make their own hip hop functions, where, on a Friday night or on a weekend, they can come together and just dance instead of getting into problems with drugs or whatnot,” he said.

At 20 years old, Jack is a youth who recently aged out of care and now works with other youths in care, teaching singing, dancing and poetry. He’s also a member of local youth councils. He said he hopes participants appreciate the cultural value of dance.

“From a youth to another youth, I’d just say, ‘Come out and have some fun and learn some culture and learn who your really are,” he said.

WHAT’S ON … Crimson Coast Dance Society’s Body Talk spring break dance workshops take place at Vibe Dance Studio from March 17 to 21, from 10 am to 4 p.m. registration is $125, subsidized rates available. Hip Hop Pow Wow performance at Malaspina Theatre on March 22 at 7:30 p.m. General admission $25, $22 for members, $15 for children 10 to 18, $5 for children under 10. Available online.


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