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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. 

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January 2018

In this exhibition of vintage postcards, holiday literature and caroling music, dating from 1848-1996, you can experience the magical and memorable role holidays play in the lives of all readers,...

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext.115
Contact Name: Front Desk
Website »

More information

Bruce Museum, Greenwich, Connecticut December 2, 2017 – March 4, 2018 The early 1960s marked a significant turning point in American printmaking: the rise of communal studios provided...

Cost: $10 adult, $8 senior/student, under 5 and member free

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


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

In this exhibition of vintage postcards, holiday literature and caroling music, dating from 1848-1996, you can experience the magical and memorable role holidays play in the lives of all readers,...

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext.115
Contact Name: Front Desk
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

In this exhibition of vintage postcards, holiday literature and caroling music, dating from 1848-1996, you can experience the magical and memorable role holidays play in the lives of all readers,...

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext.115
Contact Name: Front Desk
Website »

More information

Bruce Museum, Greenwich, Connecticut December 2, 2017 – March 4, 2018 The early 1960s marked a significant turning point in American printmaking: the rise of communal studios provided...

Cost: $10 adult, $8 senior/student, under 5 and member free

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


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

In this exhibition of vintage postcards, holiday literature and caroling music, dating from 1848-1996, you can experience the magical and memorable role holidays play in the lives of all readers,...

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext.115
Contact Name: Front Desk
Website »

More information

Join Bob and Deb Rice, Essential Oil Educators, at Children's Therapy and Learning Center in Fairfield, as they provide information on replacing toxins in your home with healthy...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Children's Therapy and Learning Center
2228 Black Rock Turnpike, Suite 201
Fairfield, CT  06825
View map »


Sponsor: Children'sTherapy and Learning Center
Telephone: 203-908-4433
Contact Name: Maybette
Website »

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The band behind the hits 'The Freshmen', 'Photograph', and 'Colorful' are still making music after twenty-four years. From hitting the charts in 1997 with Best Alternative...

Cost: Price:$32 Members Save:$3 /tckt

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


Website »

More information

Bruce Museum, Greenwich, Connecticut December 2, 2017 – March 4, 2018 The early 1960s marked a significant turning point in American printmaking: the rise of communal studios provided...

Cost: $10 adult, $8 senior/student, under 5 and member free

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


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

In this exhibition of vintage postcards, holiday literature and caroling music, dating from 1848-1996, you can experience the magical and memorable role holidays play in the lives of all readers,...

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext.115
Contact Name: Front Desk
Website »

More information

Life can be hard. How we treat ourselves either leads us to be resilient, happy and have healthy relationships or leads us to be filled with worry, ‘should haves’ and a ‘what...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Library
1080 Old Post Road
Fairfield, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Bruce Museum, Greenwich, Connecticut December 2, 2017 – March 4, 2018 The early 1960s marked a significant turning point in American printmaking: the rise of communal studios provided...

Cost: $10 adult, $8 senior/student, under 5 and member free

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


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

In this exhibition of vintage postcards, holiday literature and caroling music, dating from 1848-1996, you can experience the magical and memorable role holidays play in the lives of all readers,...

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext.115
Contact Name: Front Desk
Website »

More information

FEATURING: Jim Weider (The Band), G.E. Smith (SNL Musical Director / Bob Dylan / Hall & Oates), Snowy White (Pink Floyd / Thin Lizzy) With three of the most prolific rock...

Cost: Price:$48 Members Save:$5 /tckt

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


Website »

More information

The highly anticipated release from the Bermuda native showcases his vocal range and signature melodies over a wide array of island rhythms, serving as the follow-up to his 2007 critically...

Cost: Price:$25 / $30 Day Of - Limited Seating First Come First Serve No Member Disco

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


Website »

More information

Bruce Museum, Greenwich, Connecticut December 2, 2017 – March 4, 2018 The early 1960s marked a significant turning point in American printmaking: the rise of communal studios provided...

Cost: $10 adult, $8 senior/student, under 5 and member free

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


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

In this exhibition of vintage postcards, holiday literature and caroling music, dating from 1848-1996, you can experience the magical and memorable role holidays play in the lives of all readers,...

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext.115
Contact Name: Front Desk
Website »

More information

Westchester Community is in need of more than 40 foster homes to provide the county’s most vulnerable children with housing in a safe and stable environment. For more information and to...

Cost: Free

Where:
United Way of Westchester and Putnam
336 Central Avenue
White Plains, NY  10530
View map »


Sponsor: United Way of Westchester and Putnam
Telephone: (914) 997-6700
Contact Name: Toyae Liverpool
Website »

More information

Saturday, Jan. 20 Mini Golf in the Stacks at Wilton Library, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Wilton Library will hold its first mini golf fundraising event, presented by Bankwell. There will be 18 hole of...

Cost: $5 per player

Where:
Wilton Library
137 Old Ridgefield Road
Wilton, CT  06897
View map »


Sponsor: Bankwell
Telephone: 203-762-3950
Website »

More information

The opening reception is on January 20 from 4-6pm at the Carriage Barn Arts Center. This is a juried exhibition of student, amateur and professional photographers. The exhibition will be on view...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

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We kick off the new FTC Comedy Presents series with the energetic, loud, never understated and always funny, Nathan Macintosh. The Canadian has performed at major comedy festivals, been on late...

Cost: Price:$29 No Member Discount

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


Website »

More information

The Westport Arts Center continues its tradition of bringing the best of international talent to Fairfield County with a special concert by the acclaimed Juilliard String Quartet on Saturday,...

Cost: Advance: $40 Members/$50 Non-Members; $60 At Door

Where:
Westport Arts Center
51 Riverside Avenue
Westport, CT  06880
View map »


Sponsor: Joyce Pauker
Telephone: 203-222-7070
Website »

More information

Bruce Museum, Greenwich, Connecticut December 2, 2017 – March 4, 2018 The early 1960s marked a significant turning point in American printmaking: the rise of communal studios provided...

Cost: $10 adult, $8 senior/student, under 5 and member free

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


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
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