This past Thursday, NuMonic Hip Hop hosted a dance workshop near the RAWC, featuring instructor Nathan Tiangson. The class brought together students from different backgrounds to create a hip-hop community within UTM. The community included executives of the NuMonic Hip Hop team as well as students who were interested in culture and dance. Multi-Purpose Room A was filled with laughter and good energy as the class began and students got to try “locking” and “waacking.”

Tiangson, owner of Kindred Culture, was a kind and understanding instructor as he walked students through the steps in the routine. He encouraged dancers to approach him and ask questions, despite his intimidating title. As someone who has never danced, I was not scared to make a misstep and risk looking foolish. It was the perfect atmosphere for a regular student in need of an outlet, especially during the next few months as we approach exam season.

As the owner of a hip-hop dance studio, Tiangson recognized the importance of educating his students on the origins of the dance. The instructor brought hip-hop back to its roots through his voice and movement. He says that his studio Kindred Culture “values art as a way of self-expression and empowerment. We believe that art can be an outlet for people who face challenges in their lives and that they can be empowered through art to overcome them.”

NuMonic Hip Hop’s president, Jessica Ong, had a like-minded view regarding hip-hop. She explained that, “for me, hip-hop dance is an activity to relieve stress and meet new people that share the same passion.” The president of the club went on to share, “growing up, I used to be a shy person. I didn’t have the confidence to start conversations with other people or presenting in front of large groups. When I was in high school, I came across dance videos on YouTube and decided to self teach myself choreography through online tutorials. By doing this, I slowly gained the courage to attend local hip-hop dance classes.” The hip hop workshop was a means for students like Ong to connect with others, self-express, and empower.

Other executives confirmed that classes, like the one I attended, are hosted twice a month. So, I asked the president of NuMonic Hip Hop why students, including myself, should attend future events hosted by the club. Ong’s eyes lit up as she exclaimed, “UTM students should attend our future workshops if they are interested in learning urban hip-hop dance and meeting new dancers in the community.” She adds that NuMonic Hip Hop’s mission is to actively “create a positive environment for students, in which they can express themselves through dance.”