Dance class

Hip hop workshop open to students

Photos submitted to Times Observer Nick Abreau of the Funhouse Crew “going off” in dance.

Nick Abreau is returning to SLT Academy for a special dance workshop of popping, locking, breaking, uprock, downrock, roboting, salsa, mambo, house and partner dancing open to students ages 7 to 18 beginning January 3 at Struthers Library Theatre.

Nick Abreau grew up dancing with the Funhouse Crew in the NYC clubs in the era that influenced one-name stars like Madonna and Mariah. In fact, up-and-coming stars including these two platinum-certified performers showed up in the clubs beginning in the mid-seventies to learn the dance styles being created there by the breakdancing pioneers, b-boys and b-girls.

Dance for Nick has always been about joy, peace, and self-expression. If there was a dispute, it was settled with a dance-off. If there was a joyous event, the whole crew celebrated with dance. The music was taken in through the ears and interpreted by the movement of the body. Every dancer brought their own style, flair and power moves (impressive athletic moves and poses) to the floor. Breakdancing began as a form of artistic expression where dancers encouraged and learned from one another to together build a rich and supportive culture.

Fast forward to today. Nick is still dancing amazingly and still believes and shares the positive message of movement and expression through teaching.

“At our first Hip Hop Workshop,” said SLT Artistic Director Charles Gray, “nearly all the students were absolute beginners. It was amazing to see them jump right in with power moves and work their way up to two and three-person helicopters and freestyle routines over the course of two classes. Nick’s teaching style is all-welcoming. He celebrates the unique movement of each student and within 10 minutes students understood they could turn off their internal critics and just dance. It was a beautiful event.”

Joining Nick in this four-class workshop will be dance captain and SLT Academy instructor Hannah Augenstein. Hannah will help demonstrate partner dance moves and acrobatic dance moves at the heart of many sensational breakdancing moves.

“The class will get to advanced moves, but will begin with the basics, so students don’t need previous training to participate,” said Gray. “Students pick up the moves extremely quickly and build their own flair rapidly. That is why we love this dance style. It truly allows students to dance for the love of it without the pressure of choreography or performance. They can just ‘go off’ and physicalize what they feel in the music.”

The workshop will accommodate 30 students and nine slots are still available. Participating students will meet January 3, 17, and February 7 and 28, from 6:30 until 8 p.m. at the Struthers Library Theatre Rehearsal Hall. Class cost is $50 and fees are payable to Struthers Library Theatre.

If you are interested in participating, just send an email to as the theatre office will be closed for the holiday week.