Three nights of Hip Hop dances its way into Helix Charter High School

2023.05.05 helix dance rooted

Helix Charter High School presents an annual regional event, “Hip Hop Night,” for three days on Feb. 21, 22, and 23. Helix features other schools along with its dance team, including El Captain High School, Granite Hills High School, La Mesa Arts Academy, and more.

Katie Pipes, director of Helix Dance, started the local version of Hip Hop Night about a decade ago.

I wanted to put together a showcase/concert of all Hip-hop dance, but I knew I didn’t have enough content from only Helix,” Pipes commented. “I started inviting schools from around the San Diego area.” It was a small event with a few schools at the beginning, but now evolved into a big local celebration.

How the event contributes to the community

The event holds crucial significance within the Helix community. As Hip-hop has a profound impact on dance history through its evolution, the genre serves as an entry point to dance for many students, and the event acts as an access point for them to explore their interests in Hip-hop.

Pipes also emphasizes that dancing helps students with their learning abilities. “When students feel connected to school, they are more likely to find success in the school environment. My students find a deep connection with Hip-hop, and this connection serves as an example of why the arts are so vital to students’ success in education,” noted Pipes.

The progress of Pipes’ educational philosophy appears to be sailing smoothly.

Students are pouring out their passion for Hip-hop while focusing on academics and pursuing their dreams.

I have a very rigorous schedule (with dance) of around 20 hours a week plus the school day. I’m in love with the sport and want to pursue it in the future. I want to be a trauma surgeon, so I’m going to do dance and choreography as a job to put myself through medical school,” said Payton Sachs, a junior student.

Performing for three nights in February

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Hip hop will take center stage Feb. 21-23 at Helix Charter High School. (Photo credit: Holly Ireland Photography)

La Mesa Courier talked with members of Helix Dance, and the students shared their stories about Hip-hop and this year’s performances.

Why Hip-hop?

Alexia Gianas-Smith (Junior) – “I got into Hip-hop style in elementary school. I’ve been training Hip-hop ever since, and I love the style for its energetic movements!”

Chloe Moultrie (Junior) – “I’ve always enjoyed Hip-hop music as a genre, and personally, I’ve always strived better in Hip-hop dance over other styles. One thing I love about Hip-hop is that it isn’t so technical; rather, it’s about understanding and flowing through the movement.”

Evan Preciado (Junior) – “I started getting interested in Hip-hop when I was younger. I saw my older sister perform on stage at Helix while she attended high school, and seeing dance just brought me joy. After telling my mom how interested I was in dancing, she signed me up for a Hip-hop class.”

Lidia Martinez (Junior) – “I always enjoyed Hip-hop music and how, when watching the dancers, they would hit every beat in the music.”

Marvonte Brown (Senior) – “I got into Hip-hop because I would see people dancing on YouTube and it was cool, so I signed up for a class and have loved it ever since.”

Sachs – “I’ve been more committed and connected to Hip-hop because of the energy, facials, movement quality, and experience. Hip-hop just feels right to me, and I think it’s my strongest style of dance.”

They will present…

Each dancer will perform with various songs for the event. Here are some sneak-peeks for this year’s stages.

Gianas-Smith – “I’ll be on stage three times. The songs I’ll perform are ‘ALIEN SUPERSTAR,’ ‘Fly Girl,’ and a medley of ‘Back to the Streets,’ ‘Bartier Cardi,’ and ‘Yeah!’.”

Moultrie – “This year for Company’s Hip-hop dance, it’s a mashup of three different songs. One including Nicki Minaj, Drake, and Lil Wayne. This is the only stage I’m in, but I’m still super excited for it.”

Preciado – “I’ll be in three pieces. There are a lot of songs I’ll be performing to, although a couple of my favorite would have to be ‘Bartier Cardi’ by Cardi B, and ‘Took the Night’ by Chelley.”

Sachs – “I believe I’m in seven or eight pieces this time around, multiple mashups, and some single songs. I also might be choreographing for the show.”

More than 1,200 people attend Hip Hop Night on average every year. Joining the event will be a great way to spend the night for both adults who want to ease their stress with music, and kids who dream of becoming a dancer.

Hip Hop Night

When: Feb 21-23 at 7 p.m.

Where: Main Stage Theater Helix High School, 4200 Lowell St.

Tickets & Information: helixdancers.com/tickets

*All tickets are available online only; no purchases at the door.

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