Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Boogie in the ‘Burbs

Hip-Hop Hits Fairfield



Brian and Paul Herman welcome all types of “movers” to their classes. They want newbies of all ages to find their brand of dance instruction unintimidating.

Photo by Ryan Lavine

“This is not hip-hop. This is dancehall,” Brian Herman shouts into the room-length mirror of Double Up Dance Studio, while ten sets of eyes stare back, some confused, some frustrated, some beginning to show the spark of understanding. Exuding a laid-back authority indicative of his expertise in the nuances of both styles, he explains himself without words or music. He steps, stomps, and claps out a rhythm, gyrating his body and waving his arms in time. The confused stares soften, the music restarts, and the dance resumes.

Double Up Dance, founded in September 2014, is the creation of brothers Brian and Paul Herman, specializing in hip-hop and other urban dance forms, such as break, dancehall, and hip-hop fusion. The Hermans were born in the South Bronx—the hypocenter from which the shock waves of hip-hop disseminated throughout the world. This was only a few years after Sugar Hill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” flooded national airways and right around the time that Boogie Down Productions’ South Bronx was starting to clue in listeners, from 

the inner city to the suburbs, to the imminent cresting of the hip-hop tidal wave.

As children, their Jamaican mother and St. Lucian father had music playing all the time. “Music is a big part of their culture,” says Paul. “Doing chores around the house, you found a way to move and make it fun.”

The Hermans first fell in love with dancehall, a style of music and dance with Afro-Caribbean origins. As the boys got older they took their talents to the neighborhood streets, where break dancing—or B-boying—was the main form of cultural currency for aspiring dancers. Gathered around a makeshift cardboard stage, B-boys would press play on a boom box and battle one-on-one, popping, locking, and whirling like dervishes for supremacy and respect.

But the fierce individuality and improvisational nature of B-boy culture did little to satiate a growing desire in the Hermans to dance with others. Away from the battles, Brian and Paul studied videos of the Supremes, the Temptations, Justin Timberlake, and Usher. The brothers were entranced by the cumulative power of bodies moving in unison, and they decided to invest their talents in choreography. They have since danced with, and choreographed for, some of pop’s biggest names, including Alicia Keys, Chris Brown, and Sean Paul.

The Hermans began leading classes at local gyms when they came to Fairfield to attend college. Paul graduated from Sacred Heart, and Brian is currently at Fairfield University. When they learned of a vacancy at the Sportsplex of Fairfield, Double Up Dance was born.

Over 500 students have come through their door in just over a year. “I’ve taken classes at the big dance schools in New York City,” says Jacqueline Touby, a Double Up devotee. “Double Up’s teachers and classes are better. And there’s a sense of community that you don’t get anywhere else.”

Another goal is to encourage an appreciation of dance across a range of styles. “The raw deal hip-hop helps students get that aggression, those hard hits,” says Paul. You go to contemporary, and it smoothes you out. Then you go to ballet and it teaches you discipline. Dancehall teaches you to be groovy.” 

Not surprisingly, other dance schools in the area also teach hip-hop. In Norwalk, Just Dance Studio’s faculty includes nationally ranked female break dancer Nicole Whittaker and a former dancer and choreographer on America’s Best Dance Crew, Jake Pesquira. Also in Fairfield, and attesting to the international reach of the hip-hop aesthetic, is Filip Lacina, one of Flash Pointe Dance’s four hip-hop instructors. Lacina learned the style in his native Czech Republic.

“Even if you can’t speak to someone, you can communicate through dance,” says Paul Herman. 


TEAM LEGGO
That’s DUDS touring company, which competes in national showcases. Leggo alums have appeared in Bloomingdale’s and Staples commercials, and have become Brooklyn Nets’ dancers. “We build résumés,” says Paul. 

Add your comment:

Connect With Us

               

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

TownVibe Green Awards 2018

Fairfield Out & About - May/June

Inner Artist

Places for adults to express themselves in the Fairfield area

Warmer, Safer, Drier

Fairfield Fixer-Uppers in West Virginia––Senior Pilgrim Fellowship

Art: Tropical Waters

Artist Katy Ferrarone is inspired by nature and the sea

Profiles

Your Guides to Leading Local Professionals

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Edit ModuleShow Tags

April 2018

Earth Day with The Wildlife Line FREE admission ~ You’re invited, to come and celebrate ( : Sunday April 22nd, from 11-4, at beautiful Harrybrooke Park, in New Milford, CT. Live...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Harrybrooke Park
100 Still River Drive
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Harrybrooke Park
Telephone: 860-799-6520
Contact Name: Billy Buckbee
Website »

More information

Registration Closes: Friday, April 13th Jenna graduated from F.I.T with a degree in Fashion Design. She started her career working for the high-end Accessory Brand, Isabella Fiore and later moved...

Cost: $155.00

Where:
DayDreamer Studio
@ The Yellow Monkey Antiques
792 Route 35
Cross River, NY  10518
View map »


Sponsor: DayDreamer Studio
Telephone: 914-977-4243
Contact Name: Nicole Mata
Website »

More information

The Theatre Artists Workshop (TAW) will present a reading of Norwalk writer Jim Gordon's new comedy "The Incident” President Durak's approval rating has crashed. He needs...

Cost: ​A donation of $15 is suggested

Where:
The Theatre Artists Workshop
5 Gregory Blvd
Norwalk, CT
View map »


Telephone: 203-854-6830
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Lecture by Dr. Courtney Doucette, Visiting Assistant Professor of History at Connecticut College. This talk explores the material, political, and cultural challenges of collecting Soviet art during...

Cost: $10 non-members; Members and students free

Where:
Bruce Museum
One Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

In Deconstructing Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, composer, musician, and Beatles expert Scott Freiman looks at Sgt. Pepper from multiple angles, exploring the history behind the...

Cost: $10

Where:
Fairfield Theatre Company StageOne
70 Sanford Street
Fairfield , CT  06824
View map »


Telephone: 203 259 1036
Website »

More information

The winter exhibit at the City of Norwalk Parking Authority’s Maritime Garage Gallery entitled, “Worth a Thousand Words" features artists’ renderings that convey...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The winter exhibit at the City of Norwalk Parking Authority’s Maritime Garage Gallery entitled, “Worth a Thousand Words" features artists’ renderings that convey...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

On Wednesday April 25 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. join us for a leisurely stroll down our stream-side trail in memory of one of our founding Board members, Helen Hermes, to discover some of her...

Cost: FREE

Where:
New Pond Farm Education Center
101 Marchant Road
Redding, CT  06896
View map »


Telephone: (203) 938-2117
Website »

More information

Join us for a FREE lecture! In the U.S., back pain is the second leading symptom driving patients to their doctor’s office. Degenerative conditions of the spine can lead to chronic pain...

Cost: Free

Where:
HSS Stamford Outpatient Center
1 Blachley Road
Stamford, CT  06902
View map »


Sponsor: HSS
Telephone: 203-705-2956
Contact Name: Pamela Villagomez
Website »

More information

Come see Edith+Eddie, a 2018 Academy Award® nominated best documentary short film, followed by a panel discussion of esteemed experts in the fields of estate...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Ferguson Library
One Public Library Plaza
Stamford, CT  06902
View map »


Sponsor: SilverSource, Inc.
Telephone: 203-324-6584
Contact Name: Kathleen Bordelon
Website »

More information

Join Grace Farms Foundation and New Canaan Library for an insightful conversation about global policy and America’s potential for growth and leadership with retired United States Army General...

Cost: Free

Where:
Grace Farms
365 Lukes Wood Road
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Grace Farms Foundation & New Canaan Library
Telephone: 203-920-1720
Contact Name: Regan Hayes
Website »

More information

The winter exhibit at the City of Norwalk Parking Authority’s Maritime Garage Gallery entitled, “Worth a Thousand Words" features artists’ renderings that convey...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Discovery Museum Art Exhibition The Paintings of Dr. Jeffrey Rosenthal Reception and Viewing of Dr. Rosenthal's Art - 22 Inspiring Paintings Thursday, April 26, 2018 5:00...

Cost: Donation

Where:
The Discovery Museum Of Bridgeport
140 Sherman Street
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Sponsor: The Discovery Museum
Telephone: 203-335-3223
Contact Name: Jeffrey Rosenthal
Website »

More information

Support your local artists! Pequot Library is proud to partner with Music for Youth with this concert series. Each artist is an emerging and extraordinary talent who is either attending a music...

Cost: Free and open to the public.

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
View map »


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346
Contact Name: Tracy Steneken
Website »

More information

The rustic Jonathan Edwards typified the young, folkie troubadours of the early '70s. It's fair to say that Jonathan Edwards' claim to fame as a recording artist rests upon...

Cost: $38 Members Save:$3 /tckt

Where:
Fairfield Theatre Company StageOne
70 Sanford Street
Fairfield , CT  06824
View map »


Telephone: 203 259 1036
Website »

More information

The winter exhibit at the City of Norwalk Parking Authority’s Maritime Garage Gallery entitled, “Worth a Thousand Words" features artists’ renderings that convey...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Ages: K-5 Registration Closes: Wednesday, April 25th In this workshop, Lil’ Dreamers will have a ton of fun learning marbling techniques while creating their own unique papers.  Each artist...

Cost: $30.00

Where:
DayDreamer Studio
@ The Yellow Monkey Antiques
792 Route 35
Cross River, NY  10518
View map »


Sponsor: DayDreamer Studio
Telephone: 914-977-4243
Contact Name: Nicole Mata
Website »

More information

Join us Friday, April 27 from 8pm – 10pm for a Live Jazz Night at the Carriage Barn Arts Center. Performing jazz musicians are Rob Duguay’s “Songevity Trio” featuring Noah...

Cost: Advance tickets $15 / $20 at the door

Where:
Carriage Barn Arts Center
681 South Ave.
Waveny Park
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Website »

More information

Our 2nd Annual Dance Party celebrates disco and the dance-floor divas, one-hit wonders, and out-and-out legends who made the music that, to this day, signifies nothing less than good, clean,...

Cost: $100 Single Admission + Open Bar / $50 Single Admission

Where:
The Warehouse at Fairfield Theatre Company
70 Sanford Street
Fairfield , CT  06824
View map »


Telephone: 203 259 1036
Website »

More information

The winter exhibit at the City of Norwalk Parking Authority’s Maritime Garage Gallery entitled, “Worth a Thousand Words" features artists’ renderings that convey...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
Website »

More information

One-Time Cladies Night for Adults Interested in Learning to Use the Potter’s Wheel Looking to get your hands dirty and learn how to use the potter’s wheel? Try Clay Center’s...

Cost: $50

Where:
Clay Art Center
40 Beech Street
Port Chester, NY  10573
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

On Saturday April 28 from 10 – 11 a.m. veteran fly-tier New Pond Farm Program Director Tim Laughlin, would like to introduce you to the art of fly tying. Learn to tie a “Woolly...

Cost: $15 per New Pond Farm member child, $20 per non-member child

Where:
New Pond Farm Education Center
101 Marchant Road
Redding, CT  06896
View map »


Telephone: (203) 938-2117
Website »

More information

Take Part in this Entertaining and Interactive Afternoon of Clues, Challenges, and a Race to the Finish Line and After Party! Saturday, April 28, Meet-up 10:30 AM, Hunt 11 AM-1 PM,...

Cost: $40

Where:
??? :-)
Norwalk, CT


Website »

More information

Norwalk Now Presents a City-Wide Adventure NORWALK CITY HUNT Saturday, April 28, Meet-up 10:30 AM, Hunt 11 AM-1 PM, After Party 1-3 PM Norwalk Now presents Norwalk City Hunt, an...

Cost: $40

Where:
93 N Main St
norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Now
Telephone: 203-561-9878
Contact Name: Linda Kavanagh
Website »

More information

On Saturday April 28 from 1 – 2 p.m. join New Pond Farm Program Director, Tim Laughlin, and learn how to fly cast. Fly-fishing is becoming a very popular sport for ladies. Once you learn the...

Cost: $15 per New Pond Farm member and $20 per non-member

Where:
New Pond Farm Education Center
101 Marchant Road
Redding, CT  06896
View map »


Telephone: (203) 938-2117
Website »

More information

Children’s Learning Centers of Fairfield County to Honor Margaret Keane at Benefit Concert Children’s Learning Centers of Fairfield County (CLC) will honor Synchrony Financial CEO...

Cost: $55

Where:
Palace Theatre
61 Atlantic Street
Stamford, CT  06901
View map »


Sponsor: Children's Learning Centers of Fairfield County
Telephone: 203-653-1369
Contact Name: Mike
Website »

More information

Ability Beyond's signature annual black-tie “Masquerade Gala" fundraiser seeks to unmask the ability in everyone. The elegant evening will feature both...

Cost: Individual tickets are $250

Where:
Amber Room Colonnade
1 Stacey Rd
Danbury, CT
View map »


Sponsor: Ability Beyond
Telephone: 203-826-3183
Contact Name: Kelsey Rondeau
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags