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 nearly 25-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 educates 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, managing director of Mint Dance Company, and the Hip Hop History Mentor for Danyel Moulton's D-Con 4 program. Currently, she teaches Beginner Hip Hop choreography and foundations at Modega in Long Island City, Mark Morris Dance Center in Brooklyn, and NXGN West New York in New Jersey. Jillian's curriculum highlights the technique and performance of groove in hip hop and other Afrodiasporic dance fundamentals.
Jillian’s choreography credits include "By Summer," "Didn't I," "Melt" and "Human Nature" by Garth, "Do It For Corn Pop," "Creeper, Aw Man", and "OBAMA OUT" by The Gregory Brothers, "Secret" by Tropic, 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. Through Freedom Movement, Jillian's antiracism work reaches students across the United States, Canada, Europe, and beyond. Jillian’s core messages connect hip hop dance culture and technique to the African Diaspora, highlight the impact of Afrodiasporic influences on global popular culture, and empower 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 Education (1-6), Special Education (1-6) and Dance (K-12).
3 Lafayette Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217
This class introduces students to grooves, rhythms, textures, pathways, and movement vocabulary in Hip Hop, street styles, and club styles o...
3 Lafayette Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217
6020 Bergenline Avenue, 2nd Floor, West New York, NJ 07093
Basic Hip Hop -- This class will introduce you to the grooves you will need in order to pick up the steps in the more advanced Hip Hop class...
6020 Bergenline Avenue, 2nd Floor, West New York, NJ 07093
11-05 44th Ave, Queens, NY 11101
A nod to a golden era of music, fashion, and culture, 90s & 2000s Hip Hop Grooves is a Beginner to Advanced Beginner class designed to faci...
11-05 44th Ave, Queens, NY 11101
Virtual Winter Arts Festival 2022 streaming on YouTube Live & Facebook Live at 5:30pm!
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.
Teaching with integrity and purpose requires an unwavering sense of principle. Considering the social injustices that plague marginalized people inside and outside the dance studio, teachers have a responsibility to evaluate how they create learning spaces that foster growth and transformation. This lecture will walk participants through the process of aligning teaching and learning practices with the core values that form an individual’s outlook on humanity. An antiracist lens will be applied to this dance pedagogy, with an emphasis on connecting individual core values with teaching techniques that honor Afrodiasporic tradition.
"Afrika Bambaataa said hip hop is a culture about peace, love, unity, and having fun.
But when that peace, love, unity, and fun excludes black people, silences black voices, and undermines the black experience, it is NO LONGER accessible to you.
Black lives HAVE to matter, or else hip hop is NOT for you."
I teach dance to grades K-5 at PS 532 New Bridges Elementary School in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. My students learn technique and choreography in hip hop, step, jazz, and modern dance and perform in two Arts Festivals each year. My students learn to celebrate their culture, to respect the cultures of others, and to operate free of judgment and bias as creative people in our society. An antiracist and antibias lens is applied to all of my work, even with my youngest students.
I frequently collaborate with our music teacher, Alice Tsui, on projects combining dance with vocal and instrumental music in creative ways. Most recently, I have also collaborated with Camille A. Brown & Dancers' Every Body Move and Black Girl Spectrum programs to provide supplemental after school dance programming for students from 1st to 5th grades.
My class focuses on grooves, the essential connecting factor and heartbeat of hip hop dance.
From 2017-2020, I taught weekly Beginner Hip Hop Foundations classes at House of Movement. 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 2021, I began teaching open level Street Styles Choreography at Modega, incorporating hip hop, popping, house, and litefeet techniques into my routines. I began my 90s and 2000s Hip Hop Grooves class in March 2022, and since then the class has become one of the studios most successful yet. The class alternates between a Beginner and Advanced Beginner Level, using the same piece of choreography both weeks but taught according to the appropriate level.
In 2022, I began teaching at NXGN West New York, the newest studio run by Cebo and Shinobou Carr. My Basics class runs like a personalized training session for all students, including drills, specialized tips, and skill building, while my Beginner Hip Hop Choreography class gives students a chance to practice those skills with essential hip hop vocabulary, fluid transitions, and musicality.
Finally, I began teaching at Mark Morris Dance Center in September 2022. This class introduces students to grooves, rhythms, textures, pathways, and movement vocabulary in Hip Hop, street styles, and club styles of Afrodiasporic dance. Steps from the 80's, 90's, and 00's are infused with popular music and movement into a routine that is taught two weeks in a row, allowing students to work on timing, retention, fluidity, and performance.
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, a one song set featuring Ballin Flossin by Chance The Rapper ft. Shawn Mendes, intermixed with the original song it samples, I Wanna Be Down by Brandy. Other awards have included 2nd Place at SAYAW Dance Competition at Stony Brook, 2nd Place at NGroove in Connecticut, and Best Theme at L.O.V.E. Dance Competition in Philadelphia.
In 2022, I judged my first competition, the BOOM Dance Comp at the College of Mount St. Vincent in the Bronx alongside Kelly Peters of GenX and BrickHouse..
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.
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."
"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
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 the fall of 2019, Jillian began studying at the Dance Education Laboratory at 92nd St Y to become a certified dance specialist, which she achieved in the spring of 2021.
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, Prelude NorCal, and L/a/y/e/r/s Study Hall. In 2021, she became the Hip Hop History Mentor for Danyel Moulton's D-Con 4 virtual dance program and a writer and advisor for Freedom Movement. Since joining the organization, Jillian has written content for the group's social media, spoken on panels, taught lectures, facilitated Q&As, and coached individuals on antiracist strategies within dance education. Jillian has also coached the professional dance team The Company and students from Northeastern University, University of Colorado Boulder, UC Riverside, and UC Berkeley to familiarize dancers with the language of Afrodiasporic dance and culture. Most recently in 2022, Jillian joined the staff of Modega and NXGN West New York to teach beginner hip hop grooves and choreography.
Jillian maintains a passion for incorporating heritage, history, and culture into dance education and embodying the lineage of Afrodiasporic dance. Jillian’s classes 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.