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Phunk Phenomenon promotes positives of Hip-Hop dance

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Talented crew head to International competition in Arizona

For the past 15 years, Reia Briggs-Connor and her husband Rick have been teaching students as young as three years old the art of hip hop dance.

In addition to dancing hip-hop since she was three years old herself, Briggs-Connor also spent three years as a cheerleader for the New England Patriots.

In 2002, she and Rick opened their first Phunk Phenomenon studio at 1760 Revere Beach Parkway in Everett. The opening of their Peabody studio, located at 201 Andover St., followed in 2012.

Some of the classes offered include Baby Hip Hop and Breaking, Advanced Breaking and Tricking, Ballet and Contemporary Dance as well as Salsa.

Briggs-Connor said that on Aug. 5, she and six groups of dancers between the ages of six and 30 will be travelling to Phoenix for 11 days for this year’s International Hip-Hop Competition.

“It’s the Olympics of hip-hop dance,” she said, adding that they have participated in the competition in prior years.

Emphasizing the positive aspects of hip-hop, Briggs-Connor said Phunk Phenomenon aims to dispel the negative stigma that is often associated with this style of street dancing.

Briggs-Connor also said that she and Rick established Hip-Hop for Hope after learning that their son, Jared, who was two at the time, had been diagnosed with a rare genetic disease called Sanfilippo Syndrome.

Briggs-Connor said not many people are aware of the disease and those who have heard of it assume that it is some form of Autism.

“It’s worse than Autism,” she said.

However, Hip-Hop for Hope continually strives to make an impact.

“All the dancers are philanthropists,” said Briggs-Connor. “I decided to use what we had as a tool, we always make it a point to talk about the disease.”

Briggs-Connor said anyone who walks into Phunk Phenomenon will find that it does not share many parallels with conventional dance studios.

“It’s not as structured as the traditional dance studio,” she said, adding that her students are free to come to class wearing sneakers and sweatpants. “The type of dancing we do is realty energetic, it’s aggressive.”

In addition, Phunk Phenomenon is the home of Lil Phunk, the official Junior Dance Team for the Boston Celtics.

Established in 2004, Lil Phunk has done performances for KISS 108, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Puma, Disney and Hasbro Toys.

In addition, the Lilphunk Boyz were ranked number one in the world at the Hip-Hop International World Championships in 2009. In 2010, the Lilphunk Boyz were ranked first in the country while the Lilphunk Girlz were ranked third in the country at the Hip-Hop International Championships.

For additional information, Phunk Phenomenon can be reached at Lilphunk2@aol.com.

The studio will also be hosting a sign-up session on Aug. 20 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for anyone who would like to be a part of Hip-Hop for Hope. There will also be an online sign-up session on Aug. 10, which can be accessed at http://teamsanfilippo.org.

By Christopher Roberson

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