BOSTON (CBS) — In an effort to bolster their contemporary dance programs, Duane Lee Holland Jr. has been named as the first hip-hop instructor at both the Boston Conservatory and the Berklee College of Music.
Holland Jr., who has worked as an actor, choreographer, dancer, director and singer, joins the conservatory’s Dance Division as a full-time instructor.READ MORE: NASA Wallops Rocket Launch Now Scheduled For Sunday Night
He’ll begin teaching Berklee students in the fall, according to a news statement released last week on the Berklee College of Music website.
“I’m extremely humbled and honored to work with the future stars of music, dance and theater,” Holland said in the statement. “I’ve taught a wide range of talent over the years and I feel the main objective is to provide empowerment through a healthy and rigorous process of practice and theory.”
Cathy Young, director of the Dance Division at the conservatory, says she spoke with Berklee President Roger Brown and he asked her what “high-impact” change she would make to the dance program.
“We have to hire a brilliant hip-hop faculty member,” she told WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens on Monday.
She added, “I think that so many of the students are already engaged with that music and with those ways of moving that Duane Lee will be able to really support that and cultivate that.”READ MORE: Obama Family Announces Death Of Family Dog Bo
Berklee and the conservatory are merging and this represents one of the changes happening under the new partnership.
“We see this dance form as central to the training of 21st century dance artists,” Young says.
Young says ballet and hip-hop dancing do share some similarities.
“Both are highly virtuosic forms,” she said. “When done at a level of extreme proficiency, people are moving in ways that look almost superhuman.”
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens reports
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens contributed to this report.