Hip-hop dance teacher Daniel “Kooy” Buie is in demand

A freestyle street component is a big part of Daniel Buie’s dance sessions
Dancer Daniel Buie
Daniel Buie
Photo by Patrick Stutz

Daniel “Kooy” Buie gleans happiness from hip-hop dance, and he’s passing that passion on to his students.

Buie has taught hip-hop classes at Synergy Dance Academy and Studio Dansu for three years. Most of his students range in age from 5 to 18, but Buie also oversees an adult session at Studio Dansu.

Since both dance studios closed due to COVID-19, Buie has been teaching online classes. He’s also sent his students videos of himself demonstrating choreography they can practice at home.

A freestyle street component is a big part of Buie’s dance sessions. Freestyle allows a dancer to express his or her individual style.

“They’ll be together and form a circle and one person will go in the middle and freestyle, and then somebody else would be in the middle,” says Buie, who participated with a local dance group on the MTV competition show “Made” in 2010.

“I wanted to bring that to the studio because a lot of studios don’t bring the street culture into the studio, they just bring some of the choreography aspects,” he says.

Buie didn’t get serious about dance until after he quit the basketball team and joined dance club during his senior year at Madison West High School.

Buie’s introduction to a formal dance studio came courtesy of his brother Cawi Buie, who taught salsa and Latin-inspired workshops at Kanopy Dance Inc. and Dance Fabulous. Once, when Cawi Buie had other obligations, Daniel Buie got the chance to fill in.

Daniel Buie assisted with instruction at Drum Power Summer Camps — events that focus on African culture — on the University of Wisconsin–Madison campus. Buie also worked at Monona-based A Step Above Dance & Music Academy.

He’s taken one ballet class and a few hip-hop and street workshops over the years, but teaching seminars has made an impact. “As a dancer, I feel learning is never finished,” Buie says.

Some of Buie’s professional goals are to attain a dancer slot on a musician’s national tour and to move to a metropolitan city to further his career. Several dancers who serve as inspiration are Chris Brown, Les Twins and Waydi.

Buie likely will return to teaching no matter what the future holds.

“The studio owners and staff have been so helpful and kind,” Buie says. “I love when anyone comes to me and wants to learn how to dance and really is there to learn and really tries.”

Tamira Madsen is a Fitchburg-based writer.