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Hip-hop 'til you drop

January 31, 2006|By By Michael Miller

A few pounds, that is. A Newport resident travels to Orange County schools to teach dancing as a fun form of exercise. When Hiba Shublak has spoken at physical education conferences over the last few years, trumpeting her theories of hip-hop dancing as exercise, audience members often asked her if she had a film for them to take home.

This year, Shublak will finally be able to say yes.

The Newport Beach resident, who has taught physical fitness since high school, recently finished production on her first DVD, "Active Learning: Hip Hop to Health." When Shublak speaks at the California Assn. for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance's annual symposium in March, the film will be on sale for the first time.

"It was costly, but it was worth it," said Shublak, 31, who financed the project on her own.

A native of Lebanon and a Southern California resident since age 8, Shublak last year became the first winner of the association's innovator of the year award, which she won for her methods of using hip-hop music as an exercise tool. Her classes, taught in more than a dozen school districts around Orange County, allow children and teens to work out to 50 Cent, Usher and other rap stars -- with Shublak keeping a close eye on the lyrical content.

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The release of the film comes at a heady time for Shublak, who joined the Orange County Health Care Agency's nutrition services division in July as a physical activities specialist. The first person to hold the job, Shublak travels around Orange County leading fitness seminars in low-income neighborhoods.

"She comes into the program with that experience and that enthusiasm to get people to move, and that's what we want to do," said Meredith Ibanez, the program manager for nutrition services. "We want people to be physically active, and she's able to get that message across."

With the pending release of her DVD, though, Shublak can fulfill a lifelong dream of appearing in multiple places at once.

The DVD covers two dance routines and a warmup exercise, with Shublak leading eight students from Garden Grove's Pacifica High School in the movements. Shublak created the dance steps shown in the film and commissioned the music from Focus 3 Media, a Los Angeles-based production company.

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