A hip hop dancer and teacher, Laïssa Kingue just spent 3 months in Virlanie Foundation to implement her project, an introduction to the practice of hip hop dance and culture. The children from Masaya, Tanglaw, Ella Yallah, Elizabeth, Drop In Center and MPCC, as well as those from the RAC, had a fun experience with Laissa and hip hop.

Laïssa explained that hip hop is associated with the values of Peace, Love, Unity, Having Fun, and also Achievement (beyond the self). “Hip hop is a dance born in the street, created by people living in the street,” she says. She teaches the basics of the dance to create a dynamic that allows children to carry on alone or in groups. The aim for those who practice hip hop is to express oneself.

To understand hip hop is to learn its culture, to accept it. Once done, the way is to interpret it and pass it down to other cultures. Laissa says, “The practice of hip hop allows children to identify with a movement like them; it’s like an alphabet—children understand it with what they know. The culture feeds the movements and provides comfort.”

Besides having various influences, hip hop requires discipline to understand, respect and control the body. “In the Philippines, in the Foundation, like in the RAC, children and teenagers get the hip hop dance really quickly despite the language barrier. In hip hop, like other dances, there is no need to talk—dance is already a language,” Laissa explains.

To date, Laïssa has shared her project with people in Rwanda, Tunisia, Cameroon and now in the Philippines. Her volunteer stint for Virlanie Foundation came through a personal approach. “Go ahead, tap the gates, there are so many possibilities, the trick is to search by yourself,” she reveals.

Hip hop brought me a lot and I know that it can bring to others, too,” says Laissa. For the future, she would like to continue training in Dance Therapy, an activity that marries dance and social engagement.

Working towards this direction, Laissa created 1.5 Dance Project together with a group of friends. This association carries the vision of the hip hop community, a state of mind: Hip Hop Has No Limit. This translates to “Hip Hop has no limit, neither of time, of age, nor physical or mental conditions.” It is called such “because we are still a fifth of what we could do,” explains Laïssa.

The members—dancer, choreographer, communication officer, interior designer and stage person—seek to “understand the motivations of the body in motion and sensitize the public to the emotional and sensory dimensions of dance.”

Laïssa brings in the social part to this project, setting up workshops for adolescents in rehabilitation programs, for young people with leukemia or those with mental or motor disabilities.

For more information about 1.5 Dance Project, please visit the website: http://un-cinq.com/

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