Jillian Amadi Roberts an antiracist Afrodiasporic dance educator, choreographer, director, coach, lecturer, and plant mom based in Brooklyn, NY. Originally from Washington, DC, Jillian's 23-year dance journey includes training in a variety of forms, including studio, street, and club styles. Her passion for dance has allowed her to teach and perform in DC, Boston, Hanover, San Francisco, Connecticut, New Jersey, and NYC, and create award-winning and viral choreography for both stage and screen.
By day, Jillian teaches dance at an elementary school in Crown Heights, and by night, she coaches students of all ages in hip hop dance & culture, choreographs music videos and events for independent artists, and works with dance communities to dismantle anti-blackness in dance education. Jillian is a writer for Freedom Movement and a Hip Hop History Mentor for Danyel Moulton's D-Con 4 program. She is also a managing director of Mint Dance Company and taught Beginner Hip Hop Foundations for three years at House of Movement, where she developed and refined her curriculum highlighting the technique of groove and its connection to fundamental hip hop dance steps.
Jillian’s choreography credits include "Do It For Corn Pop," "Creeper, Aw Man", and "OBAMA OUT" by The Gregory Brothers, "Secret" by Tropic, "Didn't I," "Melt" and "Human Nature" by Garth, and live performances of Cristal Marie's "Anime Girl." She has taught workshops at Dartmouth College, Northeastern University, University of Colorado Boulder, UC Riverside, and San Francisco’s City Dance Studios, and spoken on virtual panels hosted by Cornell University, Prelude NorCal, and Billie about Afrodiasporic dance forms and anti-blackness in the global dance community. Jillian’s work connects hip hop dance history and technique to the African Diaspora, encourages dancers to consider the impact of Afrodiasporic influences on global popular culture, and empowers communities to participate in hip hop culture authentically and respectfully.
Jillian received her B.A. in Sociology & Psychology with Honors from Wesleyan University in 2015 and her M.S. in Early Childhood and Special Education in 2016 from Touro College. She holds NYS certificates in Early Childhood General & Special Education (1-6) and in Dance.
Beginner foundations drills and intermediate choreography tutorials available on a donation basis | Venmo @Jillz or Cashapp $JRobertsDance.
Personalized coaching in hip hop, street and club styles, and social dance. Services include beginner to intermediate choreography tutorials, fundamental drills & technique exercises, hip hop history lessons, and creative process & leadership coaching. 60- or 90-minute sessions available. DM or email firstname.lastname@example.org for inquiries & rates.
Choreography has been featured in r&b and pop music videos, viral comedic YouTube videos, flash mobs, wedding receptions, and much more.
"Antiracism and Empathy in Dance Education and Conversations" with Justine Wang
"Hip Hop In Motion" by Alyson Kong
"How Hip Hop Dance Groups Have Helped Asian Americans Find Belonging" by Eda Yu
I teach dance to Pre-K-5th Graders at PS 532 New Bridges Elementary School in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. My students learn technique and choreography in hip hop, ballet, modern, jazz, cultural and step dance, and perform in two Arts Festivals each year. I frequently collaborate with our music teacher, Alice Tsui, on projects combining dance with vocal and instrumental music in creative ways.
I freelance choreograph and creative direct music videos, events, and theater productions. Recent choreography credits include "Do It For Corn Pop," "Creeper, Aw Man", and "OBAMA OUT" by The Gregory Brothers, "Secret" by Tropic, "By Summer,""Didn't I," "Melt," and "Human Nature" by Garth, and live performances of Cristal Marie's "Anime Girl." In 2016, choreographed the off-Broadway production Bridget Bishop Presents: The Salem Bitch Trials featuring RuPaul's Drag Race alum Brita Filter, Miz Cracker, and Monét Xchange.
I am Managing Director & Choreographer for Mint Dance Company. Since joining the team in 2015, Mint has received a variety of awards in competitions across the East Coast under my direction. We most recently placed 2nd at Reign or Shine Dance Competition and 3rd at Prelude East Coast Urban Dance Competition with our set, I Wanna Be Ballin Flossin.
For 3 years, I taught weekly Beginner Hip Hop Foundations classes at HOM. My class focuses on grooves, the essential connecting factor and heartbeat of hip hop dance. The class operated on a 5-week rotation based on the basic grooves of hip hop: down groove, up groove, bounce groove, and the Jack, with Week 5 as a wildcard or texture study week.
In addition to Mint, I have performed with and choreographed for several exhibition teams in the NYC circuit, including Serendipity Dance Troupe, The Blacksons, and Turnstyles Dance. I have choreographed and performed in my own sets for The Jam Dance Showcase and RAW Artists NYC. I recently choreographed for Latina pop artist Cristal Marie's new single "Anime Girl" and performed for her at Into The Robot Live at the YouTube Space NY.
I take pride in creating video projects that pay homage to artists who inspire me or provide opportunities to dancers I respect. My two most recent projects include a collaboration with Boat & Bridge entitled "JANET" and a combined workshop plus concept video shoot I conducted featuring "Smile" by 808ink. I was also featured in a concept video by The Blacksons celebrating Black History Month entitled "For Us By Us."
Trained since age 3 in ballet, modern, tap, and jazz, Jillian fell in love with hip hop dance thanks to movies like You Got Served and Step Up. Middle School talent shows were the catalyst of her performance journey and were followed by bi-annual performances, musical theater, and directing her high school's dance company.
In college, Jillian trained under Clyde Evans and Moncell "illKozby" Durden, two renowned hip hop teachers from Philly who helped developed her foundation in hip hop, popping, locking, house, and social dance. Simultaneously, she studied Modern and American Dance History from Nicole Stanton and became a mentee of "urban contemporary" choreographer Abdul Latif Rasheed. Jillian danced and choreographed in hip hop, step and burlesque groups at Wesleyan, and taught workshops on and off campus to adults and children with a variety of dance experience. She also co-founded the dance organization Milk & Choreo, which introduced beginners on campus to hip hop dance, gave experienced dancers opportunities to choreograph and teach, and brought in professional artists from both East and West Coast dance communities to teach workshops on Wesleyan's campus.
After graduating, Jillian moved to New York City where she began training in choreography and street styles foundations at studios like Broadway Dance Center, Peridance Capezio Center, and EXPG. Her studies have deepened her understanding of dance as an embodied cultural practice and expanded her vocabulary in hip hop dance as well as street and club styles like house, popping, locking, and litefeet.
After moving to New York City in 2015, Jillian taught 1st grade, 3rd grade, and Dance at Success Academy Charter schools for 3 years and received her professional teaching certification. She simultaneously began substitute teaching at House of Movement in 2016 and joined faculty as a Beginner Hip Hop Foundations instructor from 2017 until 2020. In 2018, she began teaching Dance at New Bridges Elementary - PS 532, an arts integrated public school in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. In 2019, she became a recurring guest instructor at Dartmouth College's Street Soul workshop series, and she guest taught at City Dance Studios in San Francisco. During the summer of 2019, she worked with Dance United to provide dance instruction to low-income NYC youth. In 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic and Black Lives Matter resurgence, Jillian spoke on several panels about the importance of celebrating black identity within hip hop culture and the impact of anti-blackness in the global dance community, including for Cornell University, Work From Home Workshop Series, The Neighbors Dance Team, and Prelude NorCal. In 2021, she became the Hip Hop History Mentor for Danyel Moulton's D-Con 4 virtual dance program. This year, Jillian has also worked with students from Northeastern University, University of Colorado Boulder, and UC Berkeley to familiarize dancers with the language of Afrodiasporic dance and culture. She will be teaching workshops for L/a/y/e/r/s' Study Hall intensive and begin teaching intermediate hip hop choreography upon the opening of Cebo Carr's Next Generation (NXGN) Studios in New Jersey.
Jillian is currently studying at the Dance Education Laboratory at 92nd St Y to become a certified dance specialist. Jillian cites Moncell “illKozby” Durden, her college professor and mentor, as her biggest dance education inspiration. He instilled in her a passion for incorporating heritage, history, and culture into dance education and embodying the lineage of Afrodiasporic dance in particular. Jillian’s class includes important nuggets of historical and cultural context, as well as a variety of essential hip hop dance vocabulary and techniques that she hopes will ignite the students' curiosity to learn even more. She teaches her students of all ages through this same lens, while aligning her elementary instruction to NYC's Blueprint Standards for Arts Education and the DEL Model.