Week 4: Ballet & Hip-Hop from South Africa

There were a lot of fun moments this week in the studio! We learned more about ballet, and our Dance Discovery experience transported us to South Africa to learn about a form of Hip-Hop called pantsula with Kara Fili!

This week in Ballet

This week, our Citydance students continued their lessons with ballet instructor Jean Appolon. Watch them learn how to jump!

Defining Ballet


  • a classical ballet term meaning “raised.” It describes the action when a dancer rises up and seemingly is standing “on their toes” in a demi-pointe or a fully en pointe.


  • a movement in which a dancer bends the knees and straightens them again, usually with the feet turned out and heels firmly on the ground.

  • Correct use and development of a plié is a basic but essential movement to a dancer’s technique. It also provides the proper cushioning when landing from jumps, keeping the dancer from becoming easily injured and able to dance very long ballets and dances.

Citydance Week 4: Ballet

Ballet instructor Jean Appolon teaches students to jump. The jump ends and begins with a plié. While jumping, students are meant to keep their hands on their hips, and pay close attention to the position of their feet.

Jean began the lesson by seeing which student could jump the highest, and having the class try to reach the same height with their jump!

This week in Dance Discovery: World Hip Hop!

Our Dance Discovery Instructor this week, Kara Fili, taught students about a South African dance called "Pantsula".

The dance form is very quick and expressive, involving a lot of jumping and shuffling. Dancing in a group is essential to the form. As one Pantsula dancer says: “we have drive, we are one, we have power, we are young, strong and quick, we have our own style and we are competitive.” Originally emerging near Johannesburg in the 1950's, it is considered an urban street dance, and often evolves and adapts to fit the time period it is performed in.
Students perform the routine Kara has taught them with a recorded musical accompaniment. Take a look at this energetic dance!

Meet our Team

Kara Fili

Kara Fili is a performer, choreographer, and teacher of various dance styles, though her primary focus and inspiration comes from African diasporic, contemporary modern, and improvisational movement. She also serves the Boston dance community through her work as the Engagemement & Education Manager at the Dance Complex in Cambridge. This will be her third year teaching World Hip Hop for Citydance Phase II, and enrichment class that introduces students to a current, popular dance from a different part of the world with the goal to draw connections between cultures and to have fun!