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Hip Hop and street dance was created in the 1970s by some of New York’s most underrepresented voices and has continuously evolved to reflect the ever-changing fabric of our society.

“Hip Hop dance culture talks to the youth of now – it’s forever adapting to what’s going on,” says Jacinda Richards CEO & Artistic Director of L2R Dance. 

“The one thing that we have in common is our body and we can all communicate through that freedom of expression, especially in environments where English is a second language. It's all about moving, dancing and getting out of your head and into your body.”

It is an ethos at the heart of not-for-profit L2R, which has been using Hip Hop and street dance classes to create broader social and cultural change since 2009. 

The program began at the Western English Language School (WELS) and today extends across several councils and youth service organisations where eight free weekly dance classes are on offer. It mobilises an authentic art for young people who are under-represented or absent from mainstream culture.

“L2R is really big on peer-to-peer mentoring,” she says. “If you can't see it, you can't be it, so we strive to put young people of colour and those who are underrepresented in incredible places to be really strong voices and advocates.”

Many of the original L2R participants have become professional and emerging artists who are still involved with the group today as teachers and artists. 

“They're bilingual and can empathise with that experience of arriving in Australia. They're such incredible role models for the next generation.”

Social enterprise meets rising demand for Hip Hop and street dance talent

L2R’s charitable work remains its core focus. Its work was recognised by VicHealth, which recently partnered with the organisation on its JumpStart! Initiative to create a range of youth-focused community-led initiatives.

However, there is also rising commercial interest in its street dancers, prompting L2R to launch a social enterprise division. 

The fee-for-service model is growing quickly. Revenue has doubled in the past two years after 45 gigs last year, delivering about one-fifth of the organisation’s total business revenue.

“The proceeds of that social enterprise go back to the charity dance classes so it's a sustainable revenue stream.”

L2R dancers have already worked on campaigns for a MECCA line of eyeshadow, Platypus shoes, and Bonds ‘Move Your Way’ campaign.

The social enterprise has huge potential and the team is currently considering ways to continue its growth. More philanthropic support could be used to help market the social enterprise, add new dance programs, or fund a three-day intensive training and development dance camp for L2R’s 25 core artists.

“Dance doesn't discriminate – it doesn’t care where you come from. It champions healthier, more connected communities, and I think that is really powerful.”

In partnership with VicHealth, youth publications Beat & Forte – ‘Reality Check’ Campaign video featuring L2R Dance and the importance of accessible places for young people to connect –

To support L2R Dance please contact Jacinda directly at or to learn more go to

L2R Dance has received support from Equity Trustees managed trusts.