Perhaps what's most important to note is that I do not consider myself the guru of hip hop, or a master.  However, I do believe that what I have is the right knowledge and experience. I have an extensive history with this art form. I've learned from it, been guided by it, and lived with it in my life daily for 20 years. I've performed and auditioned. I've choreographed and I've danced in videos. I've had my years of training under and conversing with people who lived within hip hop, and I use that information as my guiding force in my understanding of movement. I have trained dancers across this country and outside of the country. I am the director of an established dance company.  I've taught classes of all sizes, levels, ages. This art form has saved me in important ways. As I always look for ways to repay hip hop, I dedicate time to helping people see it's history..& I direct them to others when I cannot provide an answer a student deserves. I  am a full time artist and forever a student.
With all the experiences I've had and the understanding I've developed about both hip hop and the education process, I believe I have the proper method for you.  I know what makes it hip hop and I understand what has to be done in dance studios. This entire course respects both of those thoughts. The program we make together will be one of authentic knowledge, structure, and artistic endeavors.

I created this program so that I could be part of the solution.  If you are like many teachers or dance studio owners, you know that there is a lack of consistent information available for hip hop. Maybe you live in an area where there just isn't a ton of training for this sort of thing.  While there are some wonderful  hip hop teachers out there, there aren't enough to cover all the classes we offer around the world. No one wants to cut their hip hop program because they don't have a teacher ( or at least a reliable teacher ). What do you do?  For starters, seek out that rare knowledge. This course is the exact kind of training you need to get the ball rolling.

This is your start.

Chances are, if you're on this page, I don't need to tell you what's missing already. Whether you're a teacher yourself, a street dancer, or a studio owner, There are many ways you can benefit from the training I offer.

Street Dancers-

I'm going to teach you all about the learning process. Class structure. Methods for teaching. We're going to work on how to speak the language of our students and inform. Not just "show". I'm especially interested in working with street dancers as I hope to see more and more learn about the education process so that their vast knowledge is given the opportunity to thrive in more dance environments. There are so many dancers out there who have far more knowledge than I do. Those who have lived through the history of this art form. Anyone who hasn't had the opportunity to learn education methods, I want to work with that. From this approach, I do much less in terms of teaching you terms & technique. Instead, we discuss what you know and how it can be best expressed in a range of learning environments.

Dance Teachers-

We're going to talk about all the terms and techniques behind hip hop and street styles. I'm going to show you where they come from and how they SHOULD influence your modern movement. You will know how to make hip hop without the influence of other styles. You will see the references I use and the places to go to dig even deeper into the history of the art form. Consider my work a bridge between your world and hip hop's world.

The Program

This course can be modified to the preference of any individual or dance studio.  It is strongly recommended that you choose at least a 4 hour course for the standard necessary information to be applied. Training can be adjusted and extended in a number of ways. 2 day courses cover much more terminology and allow an opportunity to be further observed and corrected with your new lessons. Choose any number of focus points below:

Breakin ( B-boy, B-girl, Breakdance ) - Terminology, Technique, History

Hip Hop - Original Party Dances, Modernized Movement, Technique, History

Locking - Soul Dances, Terminology, Technique, History

Popping - Style Variations, Terminology, Technique, History

Rhythms - The  importance of the "Bounce" and its various approaches

Discussion - Class Structure, Discipline, Choreography Approach,  Tips

Discussion - The History of Hip Hop

Creative Movement - exercises to build on freestyle and choreography creation

Class Exercises - Games, Challenges, and other things to try with your students

Class Types - Approaching class based on age, size, gender

Want an in-person  seminar or a private virtual training session for your studio?  Scroll down for the inquiry form.

Essentials For





Do you have trouble finding the words to critique hip hop at dance competitions? How would you like a crash course in terminology?

This course is a little different from my other hip hop courses. Warmups and education methods take a back seat and we focus on what we see in choreography. In this class, I will break down the structure of choreography in hip hop, breakdancing, popping, and locking numbers. I will teach you about the most important terms as well as proper posture & rhythms professional choreographers use.

Are you sure the dancers should be smiling in this section? Do you know what part of the body is responsible for rhythm in that piece? Is the repetition youre witnessing actually an integral part of the dance culture?


Ill answer all these questions and many more as I help you understand what youre seeing. At the end of the course, you’ll be able to identify proper technique and give detailed critiques throughout the length of the entire hip hop production.

*While we will physically review movement, this class isnt specifically for hip hop dancers. Students of this class can opt to participate for example or simply analyze the movement discussed

Brand New!!

Live Video Training

To get live training without  waiting for an in-person workshop, you can set up an appointment for video consultation. You get terminology, technique demonstrations, and of course corrections and tips on what you learn. You may request this sort of consultation for standard format workshops, or  the training for competition judges. Fill out the form below and ask me about video training!

Be sure to check your spam folder when awaiting a response. Frequently, e-mail spam settings may attempt to filter my reply through a website.

        We were able to host John recently in our studio for two student workshops divided by ages, an adult class and a teacher training. I had followed him on social media and had always been impressed by his level of knowledge and passion to teach REAL hip hop. We were blown away by his knowledge once we met him in person and his training-in addition to his curriculum-has shaped our hip hop program in our studio! I highly recommend using John as a resource however you can, whether it is his curriculum or a live session. He is truly one of the best out there!

- Jessica Reagle

Owner: Jessica's Dance Academy, Swansboro NC

        I had John out to my studio over the summer for teacher training. I am so glad that I had more than just my hip hop teachers in the room as his tips, exercises and approaches can be used in all genres. They are true teaching tools. John gives a true foundation and education on hip hop culture and brings you back to where it comes from and the why. His personality is infectious and his passion for not only his art  but educating others is evident. He has made himself available  to be a mentor to one of my newer staff members and we have purchased his curriculum for our studio. I can't say enough about him except he is the real deal.

- Tiffany Prout-Leitao

Owner:  Center Stage Dance Academy, Masschusetts

     John Comix Barrella has visited our studio twice since 2018 and he has inspired, educated and infused excitement into our hip hop programs.  Not only does he deliver memorable and current class work, he is authentic.  He studies so he can share and inspire with so much knowledge.  Our hip hop instructor uses his teaching material to continue to develop a strong and growing program at our studio.  After year one, our dancers looked forward to learning new styles that were presented with so much detail that they could retain the information and build on John's workshop visit throughout the season. 

- Jillian Duhadway

Owner: Duhadway Dance Dimensions, Alma MI