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the cypher

I’m a hip hop dancer and instructor.  Let me invite you into a hip hop world for a moment….


A cypher: one of my favorite things in hip hop culture.   It involves a circle of people with one person who goes into the middle to freestyle – show off their moves.    Its a chance for the person free-styling to just groove their own style and even add moves they’ve learned recently.

– (that’s NOT me haha)

There are various types of people who make up the cypher:  People perhaps just walking by coming to see what’s going on, people who love the hip hop scene who’ve come out to support, haters who judge the moves of the person thinking they can do better, and friends of the freestyler there to cheer him on.


In the hip hop classes I teach, the cypher is about celebration – celebrating the person in the middle.  I’ll never forget my first cypher.  One of my friends who’s a killer dancer pushed me out into the middle of the circle.   I was scared out of my mind, but in the background beyond all the thoughts of fear, was the voice of my friends cheering me on.


There’s something I strongly believe in: celebrating and promoting others.  It reminds me of a cypher:


First, you gotta get out of the comfort of the crowd who make the circle to being the one IN the circle.  Once you realize you’re all alone out there in the middle, its your time to get that groove on.  If you stand there, no one knows what you got.   And even further, YOU don’t know what you got until that beat moves you.   You find you shock yourself once you get going.


When people see what you got it’s time to celebrate – time to cheer!   Imagine what this does to that person in the middle of the circle?!  They dance harder, stronger…

Its tempting to be a hater; someone who stands with arms crossed, judging every move.   Comparing themselves with the dancer in the middle giving their best (am I worse or better than them?).   And even if the dancer is slightly impressive, haters don’t promote others; only themselves.   They don’t give props – they critique or stand still, passive to encourage.


I find many don’t celebrate others because: they either don’t think about it, it threatens them, they’re worried their ambitions will then go unnoticed, they are too busy with their own endeavors, they’re afraid someone may appear “better”…..


Today in the centre of my cypher is my hubby.   No, not to dance (to his relief) but to be celebrated.   The day I wrote about my journey of death to self and being ok with my dreams being passed by, Reuben’s first worship CD’s arrives in the mail.


Yes, the realist (a.k.a. pessimist), has come out of the comfortable into the land of the unknown.  Who would have thought!  Ten years ago, Reuben had a passion to write songs and make a CD.  After years of letting that passion repress, the CD is here.  Words can’t express how proud I am of him.  For him to come to this point in his life is a big deal.


It takes a lot of guts to go from dreams of what we’d love to see happen to actually stepping out in God’s time to DO them.  Its not only about doing it.  No, something harder comes after that….. telling people about it.   I mean, without telling people about it you end up with a bunch of CD’s to yourself!


Have you ever stepped out and done something that was a passion in your heart?  Its hard to tell others what you’ve done isn’t it?It’s hard to know how to do it without feeling like you’re self absorbed.  I believe this is why God ordained the body of Christ to be one another’s cheerleaders!


“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor” (Romans 12:10)

or as re-written in The Message: “Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.”


So today, celebrate someone in the “cypher”.   Choose to put yourself aside and brag on someone else.   Press “Like” on facebook for a  business starting up, invite people to an event your friend is hosting, show up to a small group someone finally had the guts to start, sell some books a friend just wrote….. the list can go on!    And here’s the ultimate challenge: do it – even at your expense.


If you do, when YOU’RE the one in the circle, there will never be a shortage of fans cheering for you.


*a big shout out to the following who now get their time in the cypher!

– Darryl Swart for producing the CD!  If you want to produce a CD, HE is your guy.

– Leon Leontaridis for amazing vocals.  If you ever need vocal training, he’s the only guy I know who can sing every part and sound amazing…

– Lee Primeau for actually convincing Reuben to do this.  What’s your secret?!  Thanks for cheering Reuben on.   Best pastor award goes to….

  • Darryl & Kristy-Anne Swart from Up and Away Studios for the photos.  If you need pictures done for family or anything, look no further!
  • Dorte Meyer for designing the CD cover.   Get her, she’s great!
  • Trent Funk for his originality on “From Everlasting” .   If your school needs a funky vocal group, he’s got the best show!
  • and then the AMAZING musicians: Darryl Swart, Justin Kudding, Chris Byrne, Graham Sharkey, Brendan Waters, Chris Zielke


Categories: relationships
  1. Wendy Nilsen
    January 19, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    That’s great! Hey, when I we buy one?!

  2. January 19, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    You can buy one anytime I guess! They’re $10. We’ll be having a CD release party to so we’ll be sure to let you know when that is 🙂

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