2110 Hancock St. #200
Located in Middletown, Culture Shock is San Diego’s leading resource for contemporary dance training. Take the stairs up to the second floor of the building and you will reach the center, crammed with narrow aisles that lead to three studios sitting next to each other. Save some extra time for parking before class and be prepared for a 10-minute walk.
During class hours, the front desk and hallway are packed with kids and their parents, student groups and other adults. There are classes dedicated to youths, although Culture Shock embraces multiple age groups. The middle-aged men and women are either experienced or still struggling with the moves and can be found in all classes. And in the hip-hop courses, for example, there are numerous teenagers who are familiar with the basic moves; most of them are there for exposure to new phrases and just to play it cool.
Whether you are already a dance enthusiast or just looking for a place to exercise and have fun, chances are Culture Shock Dance Center will appeal to you in one way or another. The center incorporates all styles —from cardio lessons to choreography and technique classes. Levels range from introductory to mastery as the day progresses. Plus, the center is flexible, so it’s easy to switch up your classes or take multiple at once. Be prepared to see new and familiar faces on a regular basis.
The Cardio Hip-Hop class: Thursday from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Teacher: Taylor Grace Freiberg
Participants learn a coherent six to eight sets of eight beats by following along with the instructor. For someone who’s never practiced hip-hop, the movements were not too challenging but definitely required focus to connect all the dots.
Beginning Hip-Hop: Thursday from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Teacher: David “Darkie” Simmons
This was a completely different experience. Without the foundation from Intro to Hip Hop — the basic building block moves — Darkie’s fast-paced instruction required more concentration. From what I saw, only about one-third of the group demonstrated prior experience with hip-hop and could pull it off. In contrast to the Cardio Hip-Hop, this course is geared toward students who are better acquainted with dancing. The best part about David Darkie’s lesson? After learning the moves, the class divides into teams and a dance battle ensues. Confidence and cheers are highly recommended.
Loud and energetic, the music kept the participants on the beat. But keep in mind that in such a boisterous environment, meeting new people and chatting does not seem feasible.
Culture Shock’s classes are all one-hour long, with the highest rate at $15 per drop-in. And while prices fall if you purchase packages or an unlimited class pass, some dance enthusiasts I met said the rate was still too high, even with class passes.