Breakdancing class comes to Temple University and beyond

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- "Back in the beginning of the pandemic, this class was keeping me going," said Mark Wong.

Wong, an instructor at MoveMakers Philly, started teaching young children the art of breakdancing in his downtime. It started when a student, 8-year-old Tobias Hart, wished other children could have the same access to hip-hop classes as he did.

Hart wanted to share his experience because of "how I can express myself and how I think they can have fun," he said. When his parents reached out to Wong, the free Saturday morning class at Malcolm X Park was born.

Wong says it teaches the children much more than dancing techniques.

"They're not afraid to talk in public, usually," he said. "They really get used to being the center of attention and showing their best self."

Parents are also thrilled with the results.

"Breakdancing has been an artistic outlet for him," said Samantha Xander about her son, Ronan. "It's given him socialization skills that he hasn't been able to get through school virtually, and it's honestly been like a lifesaver."

Wong and another dancer, Raymond Trinh, are extending these opportunities through an upcoming Temple University course. The free trial of the online class started today, whereas the first official class begins next Saturday, April 17, 2021.

"Hip-hop is making its way into higher ed, yo," said Wong. "Like, that's definitely happening."

Wong is more commonly known by his b-boy name, "Metal." It's a title he earned while breakdancing, or "breaking." He is excited to cultivate the next generation of dancers and increasing Philadelphia's presence on the global stage.

"Let's go get that gold medal," said Wong, who is excited about breaking's elevation to the 2024 Olympics in Paris.

To learn more about the courses offered at Temple University and through MoveMakers Philly, visit the Hip Hop Fundamentals website.

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