BeatHunter Is LIT


Have you all heard of BeatHunter? It's an organization founded by our very own Regent alumnus Joél Casanova. It's a hip-hop based dance course that is tons of fun, especially if you don't know how to dance.


I had an opportunity to interview Joél and get the scoop on the budding dance company.


What is BeatHunter's mission?

"To act as a funnel and train dancers and get where they need to go. We want you to be where God wants you to be. Whether that means going to New York, LA, doing missions with dance, or being a part of the BeatHunter team."


Joél draws a distinction between BeatHunter and some other dance companies, saying, "some of them are so owning and protective that they become like mafias. It happens when people get too focused on 'this is a business' and not focused on 'this is about the people.' BeatHunter's mission is to act as a funnel because it's all about the people.'"


How did you find the inspiration for BeatHunter?

In the Winter of 2014, Joél was moving from Texas to Virginia. On the way, he thought, "everyone has a different way of moving. If two dancers were given the same song, they would both move differently. Why is it there are some people that become robots and others that become unique?"


He narrowed it down to five qualities: musicality, diversity, expression, freestyle, and choreography. According to Joél, "great dancers are able to show themselves through these five categories. Rather than being trained in only choreography, we should be training them to find themselves in these five areas."


How do you help each person find themselves in dance?

Joél crafted his own curriculum for dance, titled Personal Kinetic, with the goal being for each dancer to express themselves in what they do. "I coach you to use each of those five areas in your own unique way." He specifies, "Rather than emphasizing the choreography, which there are limited ways to do, I teach concepts like listening to the music and controlling your body which leaves room for individuality."


When I attended the BeatHunter class on Friday, we did an activity called "I am's" at the end. What gave you the idea to incorporate that into your classes?

"I was part of a dance studio called HipHop Nation. It was more for positive affirmation. I took it a step further because my program is all about who the person is, so I don't just let them say anything. It has to be something they know they are and are proud of or something they aspire to be and speak life over themselves. This is separate from dancing, this is about who you are as a person."


What advice would you give to people who are complete beginners in dance?

For people who are beginners in dance and want to do it as dancers: "A dancer is someone who is called to use dance by God, regardless of whether they believe. I would say, learn to step outside the box. Dancing means moving to music and matching what the music sounds like. We limit what dance can be for us if we try to box it. Also, dance is a tool. You buy a hammer to do things with it- not to just look at it." It is not the end it is a means to an end.


For people who want to learn dance because they just like dance: "Don't stop. Ever. People who are sixty years old are still dancing because they've never stopped. The more you do it, you keep momentum. It's the whole 'a rolling stone gathers no moss' concept. Also, don't be intimidated by people who can dance. Appreciate their dance, but know you can dance too. You can complement their dance and not put yourself down or say you're a bad dancer. Appreciate yourself and other people."


A student of Joél's walked by and testified, "I have grown so much as a dancer since starting at BeatHunter."


BeatHunter also has a satellite group on campus! Every Friday from 4:30 pm - 6 pm, they meet in COMM 324. It's not a super intense class, but it is full of laughs and cardio. For sure a real workout. The instructors are very patient and kind with a good sense of humor (which I needed for times when I danced like a limp noodle). Here are a few things I really enjoyed about my first day:


1) The dance moves aren't super complicated.

There were a couple of moves that were a struggle or I felt like my body couldn't connect the movements, but that only gave me a greater respect for the dancers I watch all the time on YouTube. They have such great control over their bodies!


2) We all laughed.

Dance classes are best when you're having fun. I went with one of my friends with whom I frequent Party at the O. We both discussed our apprehensions, but we both decided that if we go together even the awkward times will be fun. To our surprise, we both had a great time from beginning to end.


3) The instructors were very open.

All the instructors had different styles and ways of doing the same choreography. One of them was really good with the footwork, one danced with swag, and another danced with sharp movements. All of them helped me to see that everyone moves their body differently and it's really up to you how you want to move yours.


Overall, I'd give the experience a 10/10. I will definitely be dancing next week as well. Hope to see some new faces there!



You can find information about BeatHunter classes at:

Facebook: BeatHunter Dance

IG: @beathunter