The Hawks Method Digital System is an application, as well as an online platform (currently under development), specifically designed for the evaluation, training and certification of urban dancers. Massangila “Yugson” Lumengo, world-class choreographer, teacher, and competitor of hip-hop and house dance, has been developing the Hawks Method Digital System from 2015, by reflecting on his own experience, discussing with international pioneers of urban dance, and doing extensive research. It has thus far been exploited in different contexts of dance education and competition, from exclusive workshops to specialized schools (Flow dance academy, Académie Internationale de Danse, DNA Dance Academy, etc.) to large-scale world-class dance events (Summer Dance Forever, Pay the Cost, Free Spirit Festival, etc.).
The application presents as a digital interface where dance educators and competition judges record their evaluation of students and contestants according to a structured evaluation grid. The application automatically saves and compiles valuable data on individual dance performance and virtuosity and calculates relations between different variables. The results and rankings which Hawks Method event organizers wish to render public are retransmitted in real-time on a screen visible by participants and spectators. Other types of data can be kept private and serve to build-up statistical data sets on the urban dance community.
The Hawks Method evaluation grid is a twenty-point journey divided in 4 categories: foundations, technique, musicality and creativity. Each of these categories corresponds to five prompts, the answer of which is evaluated from 1 to 5. These prompts are flexible and adapted to the discipline, context, public and level. In every case, the prompts consist of “constraints” whose objective is to push the dancers to go beyond their limits. The hypothetical “perfect dancer” gets a result of 100% (4x5x5). The capacity of dancers to respond to these prompts is evaluated in a freestyle format, historically characteristic of urban dances.
The ranking system, inspired by the medal system, encourages dancers to strive towards “perfection”, by measuring themselves to their own selves, but also to others: Rookie: 0-50%, Bronze: 51-65%, Silver: 66-80%, Gold: 81-90%, Platinum: 91-100%. At the end of every hawks Method event, dancers are attributed a virtual medal, based on their overall score of points. In addition, one of the formats of the Hawks Method, the Platinum format, which certifies confirmed dancers, distributes belts, inspired by martial arts.
Individual scores and rankings are systematically compiled and updated if a participant reiterates the Hawks Method. A participant thus has a temporary ranking until their next participation, when new “points” may be earned. Individual scores and rankings will be made available to each Hawks Method participant via a personal access both to the application and the online platform currently under development. In those digital spaces, participants will be encouraged to take up challenges and carry out activities that stimulates their artistic growth and development, such as participate to an exclusive workshop or go to a legendary club night, for example. This will give them the possibility to boost their number of points and elevate their ranking.
To sum up, the Hawks Method Digital System aims to make the evaluation and development of the urban dancer constructive and intelligible, while being based on culturally and structurally relevant elements and deploying the latest technological advances. It resonates with diverse audiences with its embeddedness in urban dances culture on the one hand, and its structured and systematic approach to dance practice on the other.