Tuesday | December 08, 2020

INTERVIEW: RUDOLF OUEA, THE MAN BEHIND HIP-HOP CARDIO! DUBAIS DANCE FITNESS PHENOMENON.

The Hip Hop Cardio movement is bringing heat to the street and fitness culture of Dubai as DubaiNight sits down with the man behind it all: Rudolf Ouea, French-Cameroonian choreographer and dancer from Paris. From just a mere idea to working with Cove Beach Dubai, Rudolf’s success story of Hip Hop Cardio will inspire those with a dream.
 


The mobile dance class takes place all around Dubai promoting healthy cardio exercises infused with Hip Hop and Afro beats, which had proven to help you burn around a 1000 calories in an hour, helped increase your mobility and stamina as well as your confidence! How did it start? DubaiNight finds out with an in-depth interview.


The beginning of it all.
 
It all started in 2017.
 
Rudolf Ouea has stepped up to create a wave in Dubai’s fitness scene. Through a conversation with a friend three years ago, the idea of perfectly merging together intense cardiovascular exercise through hip hop choreography was born. After moving to Dubai in 2016, he noticed that the busy brigade of the city usually found the monotonous trip to the gym quite weary. As a dancer himself, he decided on trekking on an entrepreneurial venture of making the idea of working out fun and accessible for everyone in the city-using dance as a medium. Dance is an enjoyable, ritualistic practice with many healthy benefits; has taken it upon himself to inject the worldwide practice into an hour of our life to make us healthier, and happier…. And that’s exactly what he did.



“As a dancer, I know the effort it takes to dance, the calories it burns and how it keeps you fit.
 
Hip Hop Cardio held its first session in a small dance studio in Business Bay. In its early years, Hip Hop Cardio targeted experienced dancers to increase their dance level; with the current dance fitness movement, Rudolf aims to “target the beginner dancer, the shy and hesitant individual at the back that is too daunted to dance, that finds it complicated. This is for them.”
 
Rudolf noticed the positive reaction of his clients immediately after joining his sessions. The connection of old school Hip-hop and Afro beats that binds the class to exercise. “Oh wow, it’s so fun, I have to try this!” was the reaction from all that experienced the session. He reminds the first timers that Hip Hop Cardio is not ‘a dance class’. He leads the class with basic hip hop inspired moves designed into a cardio workout, to get your heart pumping to the beat as you burn those calories while sweating, smiling and having fun!
 
I noticed in Dubai, a lot of people workout at different levels, but in hip hop cardio, everybody is the same. All of us are at the same level. If I’m the instructor, I’m the same as you! I’m not higher than you.”


 
A 1-hour session of high energy. That’s what Hip Hop Cardio is all about.
 
Rudolf continues to say, “I didn’t realise the impact I can bring with this activity.  A lot of people come home from work after a bad day and as soon as they participate in a Hip Hop Cardio session, they forget everything for one hour, they are happy.”

 
How he used the transformative power of Hip Hop in his own life, the beginning of his dance journey started almost two decades ago.
 

As a curious child, Rudolf always loved to dance. He watched the greats such as Michael Jackson stun audiences worldwide with the infamous moonwalk. His parent’s living room was his stage as he tried to emulate what excited him in front of his family. It was only when he flew from Paris where was born and raised, all the way to the artistic hub of New York City that his fire of dance ignited.



 
“I started 17 years ago, I went to New York to learn its dance culture. When I start to learn something, I really want to know where it comes from.”
 
His trip to NYC paved the way to his dancing career. He met with different dancers of the Hip Hop scene and researched into different dance styles. Being the artisan and entrepreneur that he is, he used this time to “structure” his mind, to understand how to think like a dancer. New York’s dance scene taught him how to integrate himself into an international dance culture and environment. NYC has challenged him to develop his dance style and perspective, further strengthening his belief in himself as a dancer.


 
After the educational journey abroad, he travelled back to Paris with all that he had learnt… it was then that he truly started to be himself. With the strong influence of dancers Bruce Ykanji, Akeem, Barou, Thy, Keny Ken and Joseph Go, Rudolf pushed himself further to compete against some of the best dance battles in the Parisian dance scene especially the ‘Juste Debout Dance Competition’. The dance battle ‘The Cercle Underground’ has also made him rise to fame on YouTube. He has managed to simultaneously work in Finance for 6 years and give Hip hop master classes in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. He has also joined and won several other dance battles in different other countries. He also mentions how important his dance crew ‘Blackalicious’ was and the impact it had on him. He also mentioned the dance crew he started called ‘9-1pact’ in Evry, a place where he was raised.
 
Dance is in his veins.
 

Stepping into Dubai’s dance scene.
 
 “I came to Dubai to start my own thing, to become an entrepreneur.”
 
Landing in Dubai four years ago, Rudolf dipped his toes into the fitness and dance scene of the city, working as an dance instructor in events all over Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
 



“Dubai is completely different from Paris in terms of their dance community”, Rudolf says. “People in Dubai have a different mentality. They are busy. They have so many options. They were willing to have a good experience and have fun. It got me thinking.”
 
After instructing hip hop classes at big events such as the Dubai Fitness Challenge and Red Fest DXB, Rudolf wanted to do something new. Instead of putting on a dance show for the crowd, he encouraged the crowd of the music festival into getting up close to the stage to interact and participate with his performances. The positive reaction of the crowd inspired the idea of how dance brings a smile to all that bust a move.
 
He shortly then used the occurrence to transform the idea into a business. With the help of friends and Instagram, he began to advertise the fresh idea. The words spread like wildfire and different events wanted to be a part of the movement.
 



Combining hip-hop and cardio makes you a pioneer in Dubai. How does a Hip Hop Cardio sessions work?
 
In his hourly Hip Hop Cardio sessions, the first 45 minutes is filled with a structured intense dance cardio workout, the remaining is free movement with Afro beats. Afro music is in Rudolf’s blood as his father is Cameroonian and his mother from Reunion Island, it is also a large part of the African culture in France. His love for Afro music is strong. He even competed in an Afro dancing competition to prove his excellence in the genre that he so proudly shares in his sessions.
 
“I knew the vibe and energy that I can bring to people in Dubai. People knew I knew how to dance and I wanted to use this talent for dance for more than just a cool hangout. I wanted to do something else with it, something more. If you want to dance with me, come to my session. ”
 


Hip Hop Cardio holds special dance-cardio mixes with music from the infamous Michael Jackson, Usher, Justin Timberlake, and much more! Along with the six instructors specializing in different dance styles, Hip Hop Cardio brings around people of all races and ages who share one common love, music and fitness!
 
“When I’m dancing hip hop, I try to bring in different flavors from different genres like Afro. I grew up with different genres and influences. It’s a balance.”



 
The Hip Hop Cardio movement even seeped through the veins of the Internet during the COVID lockdown back in March. Via an Instagram Live session, instructors and people all over the world moved together through HHC’s platform. Who knew a global pandemic would connect South America, Africa, Asia and Arabia to dance together through a screen to stay fit? Positive messages came flooding in appreciating the session during the dreary lockdown
 
“Everyone in the same situation globally. It was important for me to help everyone in the lockdown. It is a part of Hip Hop Cardio to bring different cultures together. If I can help people by giving them positivity and happiness, I will do it.” 
 
Without realizing it, HHC has been put on the map.
 

THE H.H.C. struggles.
 
Rudolf admits that the HHC movement came with its share of struggles. Managing a business while staying creative was one of the biggest factors.
 


The sole entrepreneur admits, “Creativity is going to help you to develop your projects and make you different. Sometimes I forget to work on my creativity. I just didn’t have enough time.”
 

Another main struggle was Dubai’s large turnover. Clients travel back to their home countries often making it difficult to keep a long-term client base, which is why constant promoting is crucial for HHC. Renting studio spaces in one location for the sessions is tricky. Availability of time slots that meets the needs of his clients was top priority. Which led to HHC being held in different locations every session to cater to his wide audience’s convenience.

 
What’s the best part about HHC?
 
“Share my passion and see the reaction of people. Their happiness makes me ecstatic. Good energy and vibes to people. I like to make people feel happy. It’s a business that gives a positive impact for people in Dubai. Sometimes you feel tired, but I keep pushing for the people. It keeps the people going. I have to make people happy, sweating, smiling... and fit!”

 

Where will the Hip Hop Cardio movement be 5 years from now?
 
“A fitness activity that you can have fun, in different places.”
 
After putting some thought into it, Rudolf tell us how he plans of making the movement so successful that every gym in the region, so much so that every gym in the city has a hip hop class. Possibly even bring it to Europe and spread his love for dance and fitness to Paris.


 
Hip Hop Cardio has been held in Fitness First in Ibn Battuta Mall, Energy Fitness in Dubai Marina, in Fairmount Hotel in Sheikh Zayed Road and soon to come to Gymnation.
 
 
Rudolf’s friendly advice for new comers who want to join Hip Hop Cardio:
 
“Its not a proper dance class. You don’t have to have dance skills to join the session. I will teach you basic moves. For people who have not danced before, don’t be afraid of looking ridiculous. No one is going to judge you. Everyone is coming to have fun, for the positive vibes, positive energy.
You wont feel the effort of burning the calories, coz’ you’re having fun! If you like hip-hop, you wont feel the hour. It’s like a door that you open with a key. Hip Hop Cardio is great for your confidence. It’s a challenge.”

 


 
Rudolf’s last words to you.
 
 
“Stay positive. Follow your dreams. Everything gone will come back in a better way. If you want to dance with me, try my class. And don’t forget to share love with everyone around you.”
 
 
Find out more about Hip-Hip Cardio’s sessions and timings on:
 
The Official Website
Instagram
Facebook
YouTube

 
 
 
 





Article published on December 9th 2020

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