Hiplet: The Baby of Modern and Classical Ballet

By Eunice Wang
Medill Reports

Hiplet, the fusion of hip-hop and ballet, started back in 1990 as Homer Hans Bryant’s rap ballet. As a dance teacher, Homer has always been fascinated by classical ballet and what dancers can do en pointe. Homer wanted to give back to his community by teaching kids of color the discipline of ballet while incorporating urban rhythms and modern dance.

The reaction to Hiplet has been mixed. Many dancers are excited by the new form, while others are concerned that the foundations of classical ballet are being undermined. Homer and his ballerinas claim they’re not trying to replace ballet. Rather, they’re reimagining it in the hope of reaching a wider audience and a new generation.

Photo at top: Ballerinas are dancing Hiplet at the Chicago Multi-cultural Dance Center. Nov. 21, 2017. (Eunice Wang/MEDILL)