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Hip Hop / Street Dance Summer Institute

Take your street dance technique and choreography to the next level

Build community and inspire social change through dance

The UCLA Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance’s Hip Hop/Street Dance Summer Institute is a seven-day program for students who love Hip Hop dance and want to take their technical abilities to the next level.

The program provides introductory level classes in Hip Hop and street dance technique, choreography and freestyle, and prepares students for a college-level dance learning environment. It is offered by The UCLA Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance (WACD), in partnership with UCLA Summer Sessions and Versa-Style: Performance • Education • Community (VS:PEC), an operating foundation dedicated to empowering young artists through Hip Hop and street dance learning.

The program is open to students who are high school sophomores and juniors at the time of the application. Offered by a combination of WACD’s acclaimed dance faculty and VS:PEC Teaching Artists, who are experienced, world-renowned professionals from the Los Angeles Hip Hop and street dance community, the curriculum at the Hip Hop/Street Dance Summer Institute includes daily technique classes ranging from forms such as Popping, Locking, Hip Hop and House, to classes dedicated to the origins of Hip Hop in West African and Latin dance. Further, students will study dance composition, a class where they will get the opportunity to create their own choreography, as well as a course dedicated to the art of freestyle. The program also offers a range of other classes in spoken word/poetry, Hip Hop history and college readiness.

After each day of dancing, training, sharing, and studying, the students return to their dorms and participate in fun and engaging evening activities hosted by Program Counselors who are all undergraduate UCLA Dance majors. This provides students with the opportunity to experience what it’s like to live in a college dormitory. At the end of the week, students will showcase what they learned in a one-hour community showcase. Open to parents and friends at no charge, this culmination celebration provides a chance for the students to share what they have learned during the seven-day program. 

When determining admission, the committee evaluates students based on the following: 

  • Written responses to the application questions
  • Overall effort put into the application process as a whole
  • Level of experience and training as displayed in video submission

In addition to partnering in the program, Versa-Style: Performance • Education • Community offers a limited number of scholarships to students who demonstrate the following: a) significant financial need, b) residence in Los Angeles Supervisorial Districts 1, 2 or 3, and c) evidence of high quality Hip Hop and/or street dance training.

Fees and Payment Info

The program fee includes the unit fees for the UCLA coursework offered as part of the program and thus varies by UC student status. In addition to the program fee, students are assessed other campus and administrative fees during the summer. This is a summary of fees that commonly apply to the selected student type.

Actual tuition and fees are subject to change by the University of California. Visit the fees, payment, and financial aid section for important disclaimer, as well as more details on fees, payment instructions, and information on delinquency, refunds, and financial aid.

 

**MANDATORY HOUSING FEE** = $702
Students living in on-campus housing will be charged an additional housing fee.

 

Program Fee $1,560
Registration Fee $350
IEI Fee $61
Document Fee (for first-time Summer Sessions students) $50

Meet your instructors

Harry Weston

Director

Harry “Fullout” Weston grew up in Santa Cruz, California, surrounded by West African dance and drumming, his first artistic inspiration. He fell in love with Hip Hop dance culture at age 15, changing his life and setting him on a path of creativity, community engagement, teaching, and mentorship. In 2008, he moved to Los Angeles to attend UCLA and graduated with a Bachelor of the Arts Degree in World Arts and Cultures with a concentration in Dance, as well as a Minor in Civic Engagement. While at UCLA, he participated in a number of artistic and teaching endeavors, many of which he is still involved in today.

He was invited to dance professionally with the internationally renowned Hip Hop dance company, Versa-Style. He became a Teaching Artist for The Flourish Foundation and inherited and directed the after-school Hip Hop dance program at Abraham Lincoln High School in East LA. He also served as Head Counselor for the UCLA Dance/Performing Arts Summer Intensive each summer during his time at UCLA. Today, Harry tours as a Principal Dancer with Versa-Style, and also serves as the company’s Partnerships Manager. He continued to serve The Flourish Foundation as a Teaching Artist, Site Coordinator, and then Program Director until its rebranding as VS:P•E•C, for which he now serves as Program Supervisor. And he has Co-directed the UCLA Dance/Performing Arts Summer Intensive for the last three years, after transitioning from Head Counselor to Head of Scholarship Recruitment.

Now as Director of UCLA Hip Hop/Street Dance Summer Institute, he looks forward to continuing his passion for utilizing Hip Hop dance culture as a tool to empower the next generation of leaders throughout Los Angeles and beyond and is thankful for all the mentorship, guidance, community support, and opportunities that have led him to where he is today.

Image of Harry Weston

Ernesto Galarza

Assistant Director

Ernesto Galarza aka “Precise” was born and raised in Pacoima, California and first started dancing in the 6th grade during his after-school Hip Hop Dance class in 2004. Soon after, Ernesto was offered scholarships to take classes at the Jonette Swider Dance Center where he trained and learned about Hip Hop dance culture. In 2009, he was invited to be a part of the Versa-Style Next Generation program, and soon after, Ernesto was awarded a scholarship to attend the UCLA Dance Theater Summer Intensive in 2010. In 2011, he was accepted into the World Arts and Cultures/Dance Department at UCLA (as a first-generation college student) where he was able to continue his studies and pursue a career in dance.

In 2014 he ascended to the touring company, Versa-Style Dance Company, and has been a Principal Dancer ever since. He has taught after-school and in-school dance programs across Los Angeles for almost ten years, mentoring countless students in the process, and directed the Versa-Style Next Generation program for 5 years from which he came, working with the next generation of young Hip Hop dance artists.

During his college career, he was asked to be Counselor/Head Counselor for the UCLA Dance/Performing Arts Intensive for 3 years, then moved on to join faculty and be a teacher once graduating from UCLA in 2015, and now he will now move forward as the Assistant Director for the UCLA Hip Hop/Street Dance Summer Institute. Ernesto has also toured nationally and internationally as a Hip Hop/Street dance competitor, teacher, and performer to places such as Germany, Paris, Italy, Canada, Netherlands, Alaska, Scotland, El Salvador, Mexico, and more.

Portrait of Ernesto Galarza. He is wearing light blue denim jeans, a red plaid shirt opened showing the white t-shirt beneath, a black baseball cap, red and black sneakers and is standing in a hip hop dance move.

Jackie Lopez

Supervisor/Faculty

Jackie Lopez aka “Miss Funk” is a first-generation Los Angeles native. She was the first in her family to graduate high school, continue her education in Los Angeles Valley College, transfer to UCLA, and graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2004 from the Department of World Arts and Cultures, with a concentration in Dance. For the last 22 years, Jackie has been working as a professional dancer, choreographer, teaching artist, and cultural educator who has worked with students and artists of all ages from LA, NYC, Philly, Utah, Chicago, and internationally in places such as Israel, United Kingdom, France, Columbia, and India.

She currently is a Lecturer at UCLA’s Dept. of World Arts and Cultures/Dance, teaching and building the Hip Hop dance curriculum, and is the Supervisor of the UCLA Hip Hop/Street Dance Summer Institute. She has also been a guest choreographer in several prestigious schools such as Columbia College in Chicago, University of Utah Dance Program, Santa Monica College’s “Synapse Dance Company” and Los Angeles Valley College’s “Dance Production.” Jackie was also a Cultural Ambassador for the United States, touring, teaching, and choreographing in Tel Aviv, Israel, for the Bridge: Choreographic Dialogues Program at the infamous Suzanne Dellal Center, which creates links between Israeli and American dance communities.

In addition, Jackie is also the Co-Founder & Co-Artistic Director of Versa-Style Dance Company, a certified 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization founded in 2005. Versa-Style is a dance ensemble that consists of young, committed, and conscientious Hip Hop artists representing the diversity and beautiful complexity of Los Angeles.

Lastly, Jackie served the organization formerly known as The Flourish Foundation since 2006, first as a Program Director and soon after flourishing as Executive Director. Today, under the guidance of Jackie, The Flourish Foundation has been re-branded as Versa-Style: Performance • Education • Community, where Jackie serves as Executive Director. Jackie is inspired to keep VS: P•E•C’s mission alive by using her upbringing in LAUSD, her background in arts education, and passion for youth and the arts.

Portrait of Jackie Lopez. She is wearing a denim light blue jacket, red shirt, brown long hair and has her hands stretched in front of her towards the camera.

Leigh Foaad

Advisor/Faculty

Leigh Foaad aka “Breeze-Lee” was born in New Orleans, and at the age of 3 months he moved to Los Angeles with his parents. Leigh has been exposed to dance since the very beginning, leading to a wide variety of styles from classical ballet to street dance vernacular social dances. More specifically, Leigh found a love for a street dance style called “Popping” in the year 2002 & since then has competed in some of the most prestigious competitions on a national level and worldwide scale, gaining respectful worldwide recognition as a dancer, teacher, and artist.

Leigh has been training and working professionally as a Principal Dancer for Rennie Harris “Puremovement” (RHPM) since 2005. One of Leigh’s proudest moments with RHPM was in March 2012, when he was selected as a Cultural Ambassador for The Obama Administration, BAM, and DanceMotion USA, providing services in the Middle East; Egypt, Israel & Palestine. In addition, Leigh is the Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director of Versa-Style Dance Company (certified 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization) and has directed numerous productions that have toured nationally and internationally. One of Leigh’s favorite tours was with the Anchorage Concert Association, touring a 3-week -5 city tour with the company throughout Alaska where he had the opportunity to teach Master classes and also perform Versa-Style’s production “Box of Hope”.

Most recently, Leigh is proud to join as the Artistic Director of Versa-Style: Performance • Education • Community. As a leader and member of VS: P•E•C he is determined to express and share the knowledge & importance of Hip Hop culture, while providing high-level artistry through the Versa-Style Hip Hop/Street Dance Curriculum. Lastly, he currently is a Lecturer at UCLA’s Dept. of World Arts and Cultures/Dance teaching Hip Hop dance. Leigh takes pride in teaching the history and culture of Hip Hop.

Portrait of Leigh Foaad. He is wearing a buttoned down blue plaid shirt, dark blue baseball cap and has his hands clasped in front of him.

Cynthia Hernandez

Admissions Coordinator

Born and raised in Pacoima, California, Cynthia Hernandez aka “C-Soul” first exposure to dance was in the living room of her home, where her mother taught her Cumbia and Merengue. These living room lessons led Cynthia to discover her love for music and dance. In 2006, she met Jackie Lopez and Leigh Foaad and has been training in Hip Hop dance and other street dance styles ever since. In 2009, Cynthia was invited to join the first iteration of Versa-Style Next Generation, and in 2014, she was promoted to Principal Dancer in Versa-Style Dance Company with whom she has toured and performed over several years.

Cynthia graduated from Cal State University, Northridge with a Bachelor’s of Science in Public Health. Now, as the Educational Programs Coordinator for VS:P•E•C, her work consists of exposing Los Angeles youth to Hip Hop dance culture, assessing the needs of the communities in which she works, and identifying students with the potential to flourish in the VS:P•E•C pipeline. As a Hip Hop practitioner, Cynthia is committed to using her knowledge and love for Hip Hop to help build the next generation of leaders, activists, dancers, and Hip-Hop practitioners.

Portrait of Cynthia Hernandez. She is wearing a floral summer shirt, long dark brown hair and a bright smile with braces.

Aubrey Mamaid

Head Program Counselor

Aubrey Mamaid aka “Siga” is a first-generation immigrant from the Philippines. She is currently a fourth-year UCLA student double majoring in Dance and Asian American Studies with a minor in Public Affairs. She is involved with VS:PEC as a teaching artist and mentor. She is currently also a member of Versa-Style Next Generation, where she serves as the program’s Co-Captain. Aubrey participated in the UCLA Dance/Performing Arts Summer Institute in 2016 and later on served as a Program Counselor in 2018 and 2019.

Portrait of Aubrey Mamaid. She is standing in front of a brick building and is a wearing light color jacket and shirt. She has brown hair and a bright smile.

Leo Flores

Head Program Counselor

Leonardo Flores aka “Poppin Leo” is a Los Angeles native born and raised in the San Fernando Valley. He is currently in his third year of studies at UCLA, double majoring in Dance and History. He is a teaching artist with VS:P•E•C, working with students ranging from elementary, middle, and high school, as well as working with incarcerated youth in Los Angeles. He has been a member of Versa Style Next Generation for four years and currently functions as the Co-Captain. Leo participated in the UCLA Dance/Performing Arts Summer Institute in 2016, and then later went on to serve as a program counselor in 2019.

Six UCLA students dance inside a common space on campus. There are three female dancers and three male dancers, all in animated poses while dancing