Breaking it Down with Arte en Movimiento

Chilean hip hop has come a long way since the days of Bombero Ossa Street and Mapocho Station, where breakdancers would informally gather every week back in the 80s and 90s. While the community is still small and lacks the force of, say, the Los Angeles dance scene, the number of enthusiasts is growing. And while it may have lost some of the rebellious edge of its Pinochet days, it has also become much more accessible—for those wishing to take classes, street dancing has since moved indoors and set up shop in Barrio Bellavista.

 Photo by Eileen Chong
Photo by Eileen Chong

Tucked away on the 8th floor of a nondescript brick building near Patronato’s crowded streets, Arte en Movimiento takes pride in being the first solely hip hop and urban dance school in Santiago. The Power Peralta twins, a dancing duo with their own studio near the Manquehue metro station, also emerged from AEM.

“There’s a school for tango, for salsa, for ballet, for pole dance…or mixed schools that don’t specialize in a particular style,” says founder Ana Maria Erranz when describing the dance scene prior to AEM. Having herself studied ballet, Erranz felt a void for those lacking technical training.

 Photo by Eileen Chong
Photo by Eileen Chong

“The idea was to open a space where anyone can come,” says Erranz. “Everyone can learn to dance.”

Originally located in Patio Bellavista, AEM set out with the goal of bringing together the best dancers and choreographers and all those eager to learn. News spread mostly by word of mouth; AEM moved to a bigger space soon after its first year, but made sure to preserve its centralized location.

When asked about the chances of moving again, Erranz answers, “For now, we’re fine here…If it’s in Las Condes, for example, only people from Las Condes would come.”

Rather than expanding location-wise, AEM is currently focusing upon building relationships with dance communities outside of Chile. Guest instructors have already visited from as far away as Lima and Los Angeles, and the studio is hoping to increase this exchange of fresh talent and ideas.

 Photo by Eileen Chong
Photo by Eileen Chong

AEM offers a wide variety of styles ranging all the way from popping and breaking to house and “Girly Style” in heels (think Beyonce); students are free to find what suits them, with some eventually progressing to become teachers.

But fear not—classes are still noncommittal enough for the passing gringo.

Students pay for a month’s worth of classes: CL$18,000 (US$35.00) for one class a week, $26,000 (US$51.00) for two. If you feel uncomfortable amidst so many adolescents, classes later at night are slightly more expensive and generally attract an older crowd. Discounts are available for those taking multiple styles; class descriptions and hours can be found on the AEM website.

Access by Metro: Line 2 to Patronato or Line 5 to Bellas Artes

Arte en Movimiento
172 Antonia Lopez de Bello Street, 8th floor
Phone: 56+2 777 06 77

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