Beginning Hip Hop with Tinelle Matlock

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From the Class Archives

 Tinelle Matlock no longer teaches Beginning Hip Hop. If
we hear she’s teaching in L.A. again, we’ll let you know!

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Beginning Hip Hop

Taking Class

When Tinelle Matlock teaches Beginning Hip Hop, the studio pulses with creative energy. A passionate instructor deeply invested in nurturing students' potential, Tinelle places no limits on her class and gives beginners room to soar. Her multi-layered teaching and the vibrant, heartfelt choreography Tinelle shares with her class provide not only plenty of fun moves, but a solid foundation and profound nourishment for the dancer's soul.

Warmup and Preparation

Tinelle brings an open spontaneity to class, selecting the songs for warmup as she goes. Music really speaks to her, Tinelle says, and from her choices, you can tell how she's feeling. Most days, uplifting or energizing songs from strong female artists set the tone.

What she’s teaching, Tinelle says, is more
than moves. So take it there.

In addition to a great vibe, Tinelle's warmup offers well-balanced preparation for the novice dancer. Stretching and light strength work (fun exercises for arms, no push-ups!) condition the body, and isolations and basic grooves teach fundamental dance movement.

As they're warming up, Tinelle feels out her students' mood. Even if she walks in with a dance she wants to teach, Tinelle says, she'll often change her plans based on the energy she senses from the dancers.

Class Routines

Tinelle's choreography is based primarily in jazz funk and contemporary street jazz, but draws on diverse influences. Students have remarked to us that one thing they enjoy is the variety of dance styles Tinelle incorporates.

"Even though it's labeled 'Beg. Hip Hop,' it really is a little of everything," says Chuck from Los Angeles.

Tinelle's dances range across themes and moods. Class may be sexy and jazzy or happy and upbeat, a contemplative emotional exploration or a trip to the hood. Her routines are often fast-paced and include subtle musicality, great for the beginning/intermediate dancer who wants to stretch and grow. Rather than simple counts for timing, Tinelle may use a somewhat complex rhythm, lyrics, or specific sounds or instruments.

New Dancers Welcome

But Beginning Hip Hop is welcoming to newer dancers, too. Tinelle is an engaging, supportive instructor, and her teaching touches on basic dance terminology and class-taking skills. One first-time student who was new to dance commented to us on Tinelle's ability to adapt to all the dancers' different levels and give help.

It's okay to make mistakes in Tinelle's class. The important thing is just to never stop dancing! If you don't remember part of the routine, Tinelle says, freestyle. Or just bounce and clap along with the beat.

However, she makes sure to deliver the choreography properly, so her students will build muscle memory for dance correctly.

Choreography Instruction

As she teaches, Tinelle explains thoroughly in words how she wants the movements performed, giving instructions that span many aspects of dance.

Tinelle's directions may include the straightforward ("Reach out and grab with the left, and that's going to be a fist."), stylistic influences ("Think of the funky chicken, but more African because I want you to use your torso."), dynamics ("I want to see it strong! I want the whole class—boom!"), or connecting the dance with the music ("Try not to rush. When you’re learning, try not to be one step ahead in the movement.").

And it's important to Tinelle that dancers learn to not just put their bodies in positions, but dance expressively.

"She likes to challenge the class, let us put our own feelings into the dance," says Jennifer from Los Angeles.

"I'm seeing a lot of placing," Tinelle said of students' movement one day, "and I want you guys to be pushing through."

What she's teaching, Tinelle says, is more than moves. So take it there.

Student Engagement

Throughout class, Tinelle interacts with her students. She loves it when people respond to her questions and comments—and when dancers chime in with their own!

In one class, a student called out as Tinelle was on her way to turn on the stereo, asking to review the routine slowly from the top.

"Girl, you better speak up!" Tinelle exclaimed.

When her smile brightens as she dashes over to respond to a student, you can tell Tinelle genuinely enjoys an interactive class style.

And she makes it a point to keep her students engaged. At some point, you'll probably hear Tinelle ask everyone to switch places. She likes to keep class dynamic and not have people too focused on one position.

A new spot is a chance to start fresh, she says, to get a new energy. It can release mental associations for someone who's been tripping up on a certain move. It's also one way to give a quick shake to dancers who may be settling in. Tinelle wants her students to avoid getting too cozy, so they'll learn to always push outside their comfort zone.

Dancing and Performing

In her class, Tinelle says, dance while you're learning. Don't go through the motions all class and wait to dance until it's time to perform in groups at the very end, or wait till you see someone else letting loose before you decide you're going to do it.

"Let's do it now!" she says.

But, that said, enjoy performing at the end, too! Tinelle sets an enthusiastic tone for groups, and she encourages her class members to support and clap for each other. With a mix of male and female students from different dance backgrounds, age 12 to 40-something, this friendly, accepting class is a great environment to dance freely and express what the routine means to you.

About This Class Description

Hip-Hop Dance Guide Los Angeles specializes in information on adult hip-hop classes and dance studios in L.A. In addition to detailed featured class descriptions, we also offer briefer class descriptions. This allows us to add more classes, more quickly.

This class description last reviewed: January 2, 2014.

This class description last updated: January 2, 2014.

*       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *

From the Class Archives

 Tinelle Matlock no longer teaches Beginning Hip Hop. If
we hear she’s teaching in L.A. again, we’ll let you know!

*       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *

Beginning Hip Hop

Class in Brief

A passionate instructor deeply invested in nurturing students' potential, Tinelle Matlock places no limits on her Beginning Hip Hop class and gives beginners room to soar.

Tinelle teaches expressive, heartfelt jazz funk-based routines with a wide range of themes and stylistic influences. Class may be sexy and jazzy or happy and upbeat, a contemplative emotional exploration or a trip to the hood.

Tinelle's routines are often fast-paced and include subtle musicality; there's plenty of challenge here for beginning/intermediate students.

For the new dancer, the well-designed warmup builds foundational skills. Tinelle's teaching includes the basics, and she's approachable and patient. It's okay to make mistakes in this class. The important thing, Tinelle says, is just to never stop dancing!