Stomping out disease
Choreographer teaches hip hop as part of HIV/AIDS outreach
On June 11, dancers and lovers of hip hop came from all over the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area to participate in aS needs productions Entertainment LL Chip hop master class taught by one of the most sought-after choreographers in the entertainment business: Sean Bankhead.
S needs productions Entertainment LLC, owned by Stacy Sneed and Kenneth E. Sneed, helped raise HIV/ AIDS awareness through the expression of hip hop dance. The entertainment company said it was honored to have the hip hop master class taught by Bankhead, who has choreographed dances for celebrities like Beyoncé Knowles, Lady Gaga, Usher Raymond, Ciara, Brittney Spears, Drake, Diddy and Miley Cyrus. He has also choreographed dances for Lee Daniels’ “Empire” on FOX channel.
“I’m excited about this opportunity because this is a good class with clean energy, who are having fun,” Bankhead said. “I love teaching, and I know a lot of smaller cities don’t get a lot of opportunities to take good classes that have proper training from people who have experience in the entertainment industry.”
The two-hour class took place at the Calvary Gospel Gymnasium in Waldorf, where more than 100 dancers built on their hip hop dance skills and increased their dance performance confidence — all while helping to stomp out the HIV/ AIDS epidemic and violence in the community.
“We’re hip-hopping and stomping on HIV/AIDS for a good cause,” Stacy said. “Sean Bankhead brings a lot of people out, and this is such a great opportunity for this area. It’s about coming out and enjoying yourself for a great cause. We want to take the young people off of the streets and let them know that doing hip hop and dancing is something fun and exciting.”
“My wife and I have another organization called Women of Changing Inc., where we speak about health issues, women’s causes, domestic abuse, and we incorporate dance with it,” Kenneth said. “This time we chose to take up the cause of HIV/AIDS with an organization called Damien Ministry because there are a lot of the folks suffering with the disease and we want to bring light to the cause. We also wanted to bring something here for the youth and get them interested in a less structured type of dance, because with hip hop there are no restraints.”
Bankhead said that in addition to traveling the world and working with many musical artists as a creative dancer, he has family in Waldorf and knows many great dancers in the area. He admires great choreographers like Fatima Robinson who choreographed Michael Jackson’s “Remember The Time” in 1992, and he hopes to motivate other dancers to also make their dreams a reality.
He taught participants a creative dance to the song “Thief in the Night” by rapper Young Thug featuring Trouble. Dancers were up for the challenge to recreate dance moves previously seen in music videos.
“I’m a dancer trying to build up my dance skills, so for people like me who don’t know how to dance like this, we now have the opportunity to experience it,” said Dominique Jones, 14, a student at Thomas Stone High School in Waldorf. Jones attended the hip hop dance class with her coach, Sherrita Jones, director of the Charles County Dance Team. “It’s a good learning experience, and there are parts that are difficult. But if you push yourself, then it’s not that hard. Plus, Sean Bankhead is a really good teacher.”
Sherri Prasad, an instructor at Sharon’s Studio of Dance in Waldorf, said she loves hip hop and enjoys meeting choreographers who have a background in different styles of dance. Different perspectives help grow and strengthen dancers.
“Hip hop is fun and current,” Prasad said. “It’s different, but it will stretch your mind and your body, and it helps you become more rounded as a dancer.”
“I love the class and we do this style of hip hop in our studio,” said Imani Smith, director of Joyous Evolution Dance in Waldorf. “Hip hop is not as structured as other music, and it gives dancers an alternative and something fun to do.”
Bankhead said he enjoyed the class and is looking forward to working with Lee Daniels, creator of “Empire,” as choreographer on another Daniels-created show called “Star.”
S needs productions Entertainment LLC plans to continue to reach out to individuals in Charles County and inspire them to challenge themselves and achieve their goals, just as Bankhead has done.
Last Saturday, choreographer Sean Bankhead taught local dancers a creative dance to the song, “Thief in the Night,” by BET Award nominee, rapper Young Thug featuring Trouble.
By the end of the Sean Bankhead hip hop dance class at the Calvary Gospel Gymnasium, the dancers from all over the Washington D.C. metropolitan area in attendance were having fun.