HIP HOP POP
The COVID-19 lockdown has been a truly uncertain time for almost all Small Businesses, but Hip Hop Pop's innovative, fun and educational social media posts caught our attention
So, we have reached out to Hip Hop Pop's founding Director, Jenny Bater-Sinclair to find out how they've been coping with the lockdown so far and what the future holds for their well established, award-winning Street Dance School
How long have you been in business and what inspired you to set up Hip Hop Pop?
Hip Hop Pop was established in 2002, by myself, with simply a love for street dance and some like minded dancer-friends.
Back then, naively, I had no long term business goal, just the passion and drive to want to create street dance influenced productions. Our first production ‘Hip Hop Pop – The Way We Do It’ was staged at the Harlow Playhouse studio theatre in 2003, with the local press saying we had “More energy and sparkle than a Lucozade factory”. The pure contentment in what we’d achieved with this show, formed one of three catalysts that fuelled the beginning of Hip Hop Pop’s Harlow ‘dance school’.
In 2005 we held our second show, featuring 50 local dancers on the main stage at Harlow Playhouse. We created such a buzz around town, it was clear the local community wanted Hip Hop Pop to be more than just a production company - addressing the need for authentic street dance training and thus, the second catalyst.
“More energy and sparkle than a Lucozade factory”
The third, and what I feel is the biggest catalyst, was wanting to show those with any disbelief in me in the beginning, how wrong they are to misjudge me.
And now in 2020, the fantastic teaching team and I continue to make it our mission to teach and deliver authentic street dance, paying homage to its routes, pioneers and cultures of which it originates and continually update our training, passing on this knowledge to our students.
This is a tough one, as there are so many moments I could choose!
I could list all the awards we've won, our first place performances, the countries we’ve performed in and the outstanding support in the press, not to mention the students that have gone on to great things, but there's actually one rewarding moment that supersedes all of these…
How our Hip Hop Pop family has supported us during lockdown, which has been simply overwhelming. Our mission as a company has always been to provide a safe, fun place to learn street dance as part of our community and when we hit lockdown, their support was physical evidence of our community coming together, as only a family would. So, we’d like to thank all of our incredible members for that.
How have you adapted during lockdown?
As most businesses in the performing arts industry have, we had to learn to adapt quickly…
and in actual fact we’re rather enjoying the challenge in proving we’re resilient and going the extra mile to make a success of this random opportunity, in trying something new.
We have created an interactive Virtual Studio on our website, hosting weekly dance class videos, workouts, guest tutor classes, technique videos and weekly LIVE classes, including 1-2-1 feedback on the videos uploaded by our members and also provide meditations to support our member's mental wellbeing.
To offer some light lockdown relief, Vic and I put on a live, 30 minute ‘Hip-Hop-Pop-Ercize’ dance fitness workout session every Monday, for our members and their families to join in for free and also run a weekly Saturday night live quiz with around 200 players taking part!
In addition to these weekly offerings, we’re continually looking for opportunities for our members. Most recently we had BGT Champions Twist and Pulse deliver a Zoom workshop which went down a storm
and we’ve created online dance videos that have been championed and shared by the likes of Kiss and artists such as Lady Leshurr.
Check out our Quarantine Speech Challenge project on YouTube
All of these activities are keeping us busier than we’ve ever been before, and we love it!
What has been the most fun thing you’ve done as a business during this difficult time?
It has to be the Saturday night live quizzes!
It brings together our ‘Hip Hop Pop family’ and is a great way to interact with each other, have a laugh and keep the brain cogs turning. We’ve had themed quiz nights too involving dressing up, associated music, and funky zoom virtual backgrounds, themes such as ’80’s, Party Night and Disney’. Anyone who is a supporter of Hip Hop Pop in anyway is welcome to join us for free here: www.hiphoppop.net/livequiz
…have a laugh and keep the brain cogs turning
What motivates you to stay on top of your game?
Firstly, the 18 years of blood, sweat and tears that have built Hip Hop Pop to be where it is today, as an extremely successfully dance school in Essex and Herts.
We want to see Hip Hop Pop through to be the best it can be till we look to pass the torch to it’s next successor, when we’ve got walking sticks and we’re more hip op, than hip hop!
Secondly, the students and their families put their trust in us to provide an awesome service and we want to give them that, and more! We don’t take anyone for granted, we want to look after our members and give them the best street dance training and opportunities we can. The dance industry is ever evolving and we’re aboard that train!
Lastly, personal goals and personal passion. The job satisfaction in teaching dance is real! I see it as a huge responsibility. I want to be the best at what I do, and I strive to be the best I can. I love the feeling that a wealth and depth of knowledge in my art / trade gives me, and there’s nothing quite like the feeling of sharing that passion and knowledge with the next generations.
What is the next big thing for Hip Hop Pop – post lockdown?
Two things, firstly of course making sure our Hip Hop Pop family feel safe back in our studio, rebuilding that happy, connective, positive atmosphere we’ve become known for.
Secondly we had an exciting new service on the horizon pre-lockdown, that got halted obviously, so we hope to pick it back up again and deliver the new service within a year, but that’s all we can say on that right now. I’m so excited I could burst, but lips are sealed I’m afraid till we launch it. What I can tell you however, is we will be celebrating our 20 year anniversary in 2022 so we will start working towards a big show for that in 2021!
…we will be celebrating our 20 year anniversary in 2022 so we will start working towards a big show for that in 2021!