Her­ald Is­landers get their groove on


The world’s old­est hip hop crew has been in­spir­ing the cre­ation of copy­cat se­nior squads.

Se­niors at a new weekly Her­ald Is­land dance class - dubbed ‘Th­ese Hips Hop Too’ - are get­ting more fa­mil­iar with pop­ping and lock­ing.

Class tu­tor Caitlin Matthew­man said she got her in­spi­ra­tion to start the class af­ter at­tend­ing a talk by Bil­lie Jor­dan, founder Hip Op-er­a­tion Crew - the Guin­ness World Record holder for the world’s old­est hip-hop dance group. Matthew­man said a com­mon mis­con­cep­tion was it was just an ’’ex­er­cise class’’.

‘‘Bil­lie Jor­dan’s view and vi­sion for this was just to do some­thing new and cool and rad­i­cal. It’s some­thing new they can learn.

‘‘You don’t have to be the best dancer, you just have to try hard, and I al­ways re­mind them it’s im­por­tant to laugh.’’

So far there are around 10 reg­u­lars, al­though she also teaches an­other two classes a week in Henderson as well.

Matthew­man, who is in her fi­nal se­mes­ter of a health sci­ence de­gree, said it was a great way to bring the young gen­er­a­tion and older adults to­gether.

‘‘I’ve had a lot of com­ments from my older adults... say­ing ev­ery­where they go, ev­ery­one’s hair is grey and they’re so sick of never be­ing around peo­ple,’’ she said.

‘‘Hav­ing this kind of stuff to do, they’ll tell me sto­ries about, ‘I went to the shops the other day and I dabbed [hip hop move] at the shop­keeper and she thought I was re­ally funny’. Just lit­tle things like that.’’ young

Her­ald Is­land res­i­dents He­len and John Chip­per said they joined the group to do some­thing ac­tive and meet peo­ple. Hav­ing pre­vi­ously done Tai Chi and yoga, hip hop seemed a lit­tle eas­ier.

‘‘It’s the first thing I’ve re­ally tried that I feel I can do quite hap­pily and re­ally en­joy,’’ He­len said. ‘‘[Caitlin’s] very good at break­ing stuff down so we can ac­tu­ally get our brains in tune with our bod­ies.’’ Matthew­man’s grand­mother, Nan Gard­ner, who also at­tends the class, said while it was chal­leng­ing, she en­joyed it.

The 21-year-old tu­tor, who also does bal­let, jazz and con­tem­po­rary danc­ing among oth­ers, said she en­joys teach­ing a dif­fer­ent age group.

‘‘The world’s our oys­ter,’’ He­len agreed. ‘‘If they tie in a cruise with hip hop, I’m in!’’

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