Never too old to get hip (hop)
SUMMIT COUNTY – Dorse Cooper throws down moves as DJs spin hip-hop weekend nights at Chill in Frisco. Paul Schechter breakdances at Cecilia’s in Breckenridge on weekends. The two men are about 40 years apart in age, but both love popping, locking and breaking.You see, while Schechter just graduated from college – where he learned to breakdance – Cooper just passed the age where he can collect from his Individual Retirement Account without tax penalty. Sixty-one-year-old Cooper also just began to learn the latest hip-hop moves last fall at Colorado Mountain College in Breckenridge.The older crowdCooper took the class with his girlfriend, Marcy Ackert, so the pair could dance at clubs in Summit County weekly and go down to Denver clubs once a month. They began dancing at country western nights but found if they wanted to go out on weekends, they needed to update their dance moves.The best thing the couple likes about hip-hop is its variety. They watch the dance form on CD and identify moves dating back to the 1920s Charleston and including Latin, African and Big Band influences. Now that they’re learning the moves, they’re starting to like the music, too.
Though Cooper admits no one else his age gets down on the floor and shuffles, he says he doesn’t feel self-conscious. His silver-haired girlfriend, however, admits to some shyness.”We go to Friday night hip-hop at Chill, but around 10 p.m. we leave because it’s a young people thing, and they should be able to do their thing without feeling like their parents or grandparents are there watching,” Ackert said. “I feel self-conscious sometimes, but as I’m getting better, I’m feeling less self-conscious. The nice thing about dance is it really doesn’t matter what your age.”Ackert simply doesn’t do the moves that pose too great of a challenge for her body.”Some of the moves can only be done by young men, like getting down on the floor, but a lot of other stuff can be done by any age,” she said.The younger crowd
Schechter doesn’t see many people older than 35 breaking out moves, because breakdancing caters to a young, limber, strong crowd and poses a good potential to cause injury, he said. Still, he agrees with Ackert that anyone can do the easier moves.He learned to breakdance in 2001, while he spent a year abroad in England, through a university club. He just moved to Breckenridge from Madison, Wis., and hopes to start a breakdancing club. At the minimum, he wants people to practice with, but he’d love to form a crew, with a minimum of three people, to compete at clubs.”It’s quite a spectator sport,” Schechter said. “Night clubs host battles where crews are not just showing off their skills, but they’re imitating or mocking the other teams. But it’s all in fun and games. I don’t think it’s that big up here, but we’ll find out.”Old or young – the trend continuesAdult hip-hop classes began about two years ago at Summit School of Dance, and last fall, Colorado Mountain College offered its first hip-hop class.
Breakdancing began in the 1980s, reaching its peak before dying down and gaining popularity in Europe. Since the late 1990s, it has made a comeback in the States, first in the inner cities and universities, and now in the mainstream.Melanie Frey, owner of Summit School of Dance in Frisco, has taught about 40 adults in the last two years.”Adults take hip-hop because it’s fun and upbeat, and they’re looking to get a little exercise and have a good time with it,” Frey said. “(At first), they feel so goofy. They spend most of the time laughing at themselves. But it’s street dance, so it’s simple. You learn a few basics, and you can carry it out of the studio and into the club.”And that’s been Cooper’s experience.”We have some cool moves, and we can do it,” he said.Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 245, or at email@example.com.
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