Hip Hop Congress hosts break dance and grafitti workshop


The Hip Hop Congress of NIU wants students to know it is not a performance group but a cultural group.

On Tuesday night in the basement of the Lincoln Hall, the Hip Hop Congress hosted a break dancing and graffiti workshop where students took part in break dance lessons, a graffiti art showcase and even free hair cuts.

Adam Hooczko, the president of Hip Hop Congress, said he wanted to hold the workshop as a way to give back to the community.

“A lot of the events we’ve done in the past were just shows where people just watch, but we wanted to do something to interact with the people and get them involved,” Hooczko said.

Helping to teach students the moves of break dancing were members of Groundhogs, an NIU dance group that competes with other schools. Students learned the basics, including uprocking, downrocking, freezes and power moves.

Sherwin Manila, president of Groundhogs and dance instructor, has danced for about five years and said it is relaxing for him.

“For me it’s a subculture that I enjoy, a hobby that I like to do, and it relieves a lot of stress,” Manila said.

Attendees found the dancing to be fun but hard.

“It’s a lot harder than it looks, but I’m catching on when I didn’t think I really would,” said Karli Johnson, a sophomore media communications major. “It’s cool to see the people; they’re very friendly, and I’m really enjoying myself.”

“It’s always best to be a versatile dancer, and this was one I wanted to try, but it is hard,” said Derrell Brown, a senior public health major.

One student who attended, Alberto Lopez, a 13-year-old Huntley Middle School student, already knew the ways of break dancing and saw the workshop as a way to show off and have fun.

“I think [the workshop is] pretty good,” Lopez said. “I think that a lot of people don’t really know the real culture of hip hop when they see all those movies with all this fighting when it’s really all about respect.”

Apart from the dancing, tables were also laid out with paper spreads for students to express themselves through graffiti artwork.

Kevin Prudencio, a graffiti artist and media producer for Hip Hop Congress, said he was very pleased with the turnout.

“It’s a lot more people than I expected on the graffiti side, so I think Hip Hop Congress has really made an impact here on campus,” Prudencio said.

This was the Hip Hop Congress’ first workshop of the semester, but free break dance lessons are always offered with the Groundhogs organization every Monday and Wednesday in Anderson Hall.