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Project Beats: The big grooves behind the moves

Valeriya Lloyd

It was one of those busy afternoons when I caught up with Chip (Chippy Lo), the talented young founder of the Project Beats hip hop dance studio, for a chat over a cup of coffee at the Cherry Bean Café.

Chip is thoughtful when I ask him what his motivations were behind starting Project Beats almost 10 years ago.

“I was interested in introducing Street Jazz, the unique Urban dancing style to Canberra community,” he explains.

Chip loved dancing from early childhood and always loved exploring new styles outside of street jazz. Prior to settling back in Canberra, Chip has travelled to Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and the United States, seeking inspiration from around the world.

Chip Lo, founder of Project Beats

Chip Lo, founder of Project Beats

In 2016 he quit his job in the Australian Public Service to pursue his dream of owning and managing a Street Dance studio full-time. Opening a studio in the city, Chip began offering a larger range of dance classes for teenagers and adults, with a goal to create a positive Street Dance community in Canberra.

So what’s so special about this studio and the type of dancing that they offer?

“The Project Beats Studio teaches people to discover who they are by expressing themselves through music and movement,” says Chip.

Chip explains that all that’s required is the bravery to explore different dance styles and of course, to be enthusiastic about it.

Project Beats students

Project Beats students

Project Beats also teaches the foundations of hip-hop, which can be influenced by unique dancing elements by each student. There are no strict rules and no exams. However, the students are expected to perform at the End of Year Showcase, where all students come together and share what they have learnt during the year.

As Chip explains, “it normally takes up to six months or two terms of classes to learn the basic principles of the foundations; the groove behind the move.”

“It requires regular attendance of classes and ongoing practice. The body needs time to learn the moves, and if you maintain practice and remain passionate, eventually your brain will begin to make connections between your body and the music and you will dance naturally.”

Project Beats students

Project Beats students

Chip admits that sometimes it’s hard to choreograph a piece for the competitions, as every working process has its ups and downs and it can get a little stressful before the deadline. But what he finds most rewarding is to see warm and positive responses from Project Beats’ audiences. And who wouldn’t, with the dancer’s passion and delivery of creative performance pieces and costumes on display.

“The Project Beats Studio works with several different costume designers depending on the particular theme and style of the performance,” says Chip.

Their next upcoming event for the studio is ‘One More Round, Round 3’ this Saturday 15 October, where students are encouraged to compete in various dance styles and to create a special “dance conversation” with each other, otherwise known as a Battle. The aim of battling is to understand what needs to be improved and what has already been achieved by each student. There are no wrong or right moves, however, each competitor tries to out-do one another based on their depth of creativity, musicality, technicality and interaction with both the opponent and the audience.

A Project Beats class

A Project Beats class

There are many highly talented performers in the dance studio, including Teen Crew ‘Project One’, Canberra Champions and the second place winners at the 2016 Australian Qualifiers for the Battlegrounds Hip Hop Championships, a very impressive feat for a team who had only formed earlier this year.

Project Beats is quickly on the rise and they have big plans for the future; one of which is to open a new studio to be moved into before the end of the year.

Find out more about Project Beats via their website: www.projectbeats.com.au

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Valeriya Lloyd

Val is studying Communications in Media and Public Affairs at University of Canberra and has a great passion for writing (in two languages as she originally came to Canberra from Russia). Val enjoys writing about life generally, and sometimes from a fictional perspective. She often generates new ideas in sudden moments and admits that she has at least two diaries, where she writes her notes and inspiration for future stories. She loves to meet new people and showcase their talents and originality. Val is very social person, who loves the local lifestyle and the inner beauty of Canberra. More about the Author

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