Last updated

Birth name Hassan El Hajjami
Born (1977-08-01) 1 August 1977 (age 41)
Lyon, France
Origin France, Moroccan descent
Genres Hip hop
Occupation(s) Stage director, choreographer, dancer, and actor
Years active 2001–present
Website www.haspop.com

Hassan El Hajjami (born 1 August 1977), also known as Haspop, is a French stage director, choreographer and dancer.


In solo performance and as a former member of the dancing group Pockemon Crew, he has won several contests, including standing as individual Champion in France and Europe for Popping (2003 and 2004, respectively) and, in 2004, World Champion with the group. Hassan toured Latin America and Asia as a soloist dancer with Käfig Company.

In 2005, relocating to Las Vegas, USA, he performed 1400 shows with the Cirque Du Soleil in the Beatles LOVE show in the lead role of the "Walrus". In 2007, Hassan was the second runner-up duo at the hip hop competition "Juste Debout". In 2009 he stopped dancing for the show LOVE but continued working for Cirque du Soleil as an artist he toured Europe and as artistic director for special events such as the opening of "Viva Elvis", opening of "Zarkana", opening of MJ "ONE", and the One Drop foundation in L.A and Hong Kong. In Hollywood he began to be cast in Commercials and Music videos such as Reebok, David Guetta, and many more. Also for "The Giant Mechanical Man" a NYC Tribeca Festival movie as a choreographer and dance stunt. In 2010, he became more widely known to American audiences when he was selected as one of the semi-finalists for the fifth season of the NBC television program America's Got Talent. He is also one of the finalists for the 5th season of the French television program "La France a un Incroyable talent" airing on M6. In 2011 and 2012 Haspop appeared on many Tv shows around the world such as "Beat the Best", " Arabs Got Talent", "La Meilleure Danse", "Istanbul Cabaret Show" In 2012 Haspop started the 9th season of the French tv show Star Academy as the choreographer. Star Academy is a three-month competition in which Haspop had a pivotal role as a judge and teacher counselor. In early 2013 Haspop began the creation of the new Cirque Du Soleil Las Vegas project called "LIGHT", as the Artistic director and choreographer. Until early 2015 Haspop worked with a cast of 20 dancers and aerialists creating new shows every other season, with the groundbreaking technology of 3D Mapping Led screens and interactive video, at LIGHT he worked closely with DJs such as Alesso, Nicky Romero, Disclosure & Skrillex, former members of Swedish House Mafia: Axwell & Ingrosso, video content producers Moment Factory. Producing events for Iheart Radio, Beats by DRE, Dreamworks, Baauer Studio B. In 2015 until March 2016 took a vital role in addressing one of the world’s most important causes—safe and sustainable water access—by assuming the position of Conceptor and Creator for the 4th annual show One Night for ONE DROP imagined by Cirque du Soleil. The show "Amanzi" was based on his own personal story and was performed for 2 preview performances and one night only Gala on March 18th 2016 at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts in Las Vegas. With more than 7000 spectators and more than 100 performing artists volunteering their time and artistry, the show event was a success, as US$ 6.5 million were raised for the One Drop organization.

Early life

He was born Hassan El Hajjami on August 1, 1977, in Lyon, France, to a family of modest means. [1] From the ages of ten to twenty, he pursued the career of boxing, while at the same time earning a Certificat d'aptitude professionnelle in plastering and masonry. After asking a friend who was a street dancer to teach him some dance moves, Haspop turned his attention to dance. In 1999, he founded the hip-hop dance group, the Pockemon Crew, and went on to win a series of competitions, both on his own and with his group. In 2003, he was the individual champion in France for Popping, and then in 2004, he won the European title. In 2003 and 2004, the Pockemon Crew won French, world and European championships in hip-hop, [2] including first place at Battle of the Year 2003.

France Republic with mainland in Europe and numerous oversea territories

France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.

Boxing combat sport

Boxing is a combat sport in which two people, usually wearing protective gloves, throw punches at each other for a predetermined amount of time in a boxing ring.

Masonry The building of structures from individual units of stone, brick, or block

Masonry is the building of structures from individual units, which are often laid in and bound together by mortar; the term masonry can also refer to the units themselves. The common materials of masonry construction are brick, building stone such as marble, granite, and limestone, cast stone, concrete block, glass block, and adobe. Masonry is generally a highly durable form of construction. However, the materials used, the quality of the mortar and workmanship, and the pattern in which the units are assembled can substantially affect the durability of the overall masonry construction. A person who constructs masonry is called a mason or bricklayer. These are both classified as construction trades.

In 2005, he was invited by Cirque du Soleil to audition and was accepted. [3] [4] Unable to bring his two children (whom as of 2010 he visited routinely), he performed in the United States for Cirque du Soleil from 2005 to 2009 in the Love show in Las Vegas in the role of the "Walrus." [1] In 2009, he decided to leave the Cirque, but with the challenges of the economic recession returned to street performance, [1] residing in Santa Monica, [3] until, in June 2010, he began his participation in America's Got Talent .

Cirque du Soleil Canadian entertainment company

Cirque du Soleil is a Canadian entertainment company and the largest theatrical producer in the world. Based in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and located in the inner-city area of Saint-Michel, it was founded in Baie-Saint-Paul on 7 July 1984, by two former street performers, Guy Laliberté and Gilles Ste-Croix.

<i>Love</i> (Cirque du Soleil) 2006 theatrical production by Cirque du Soleil

Love is a 2006 theatrical production by Cirque du Soleil which combines the re-produced and re-imagined music of the Beatles with an interpretive, circus-based artistic and athletic stage performance. The show plays at a specially built theatre at the Mirage in Las Vegas.

America's Got Talent is a televised American talent show competition, and is part of the global Got Talent franchise created by Simon Cowell. The program is produced by Fremantle USA and Syco Entertainment, distributed by the former, and broadcast on the NBC television network, premiering on June 21, 2006, after plans for a British edition in 2005 were suspended following a dispute within the British broadcaster ITV; production would later resume in 2007. Each season is mainly run during the network's summer schedule, and has featured various hosts over the course of the program's history - its current host is Terry Crews.


Hassan began to box at a young age at his father's request. He quickly excelled at the sport, going on to become an inter-club champion in France. One lazy afternoon he went to see a friend of his, a hip hop dancer who had performed in the town square in Lyon. Hassan became intrigued by the wild style of hip hop dancing. He was immediately addicted. His parents are devout Muslims and dancing is frowned upon in his culture, but it was something Hassan couldn't ignore. He began to learn from his friends and was a natural, quickly becoming a popping sensation. He became the Popping Champion of France, then Europe, then the World, as he created his own self-taught style he called Has-Pop Style. One day at work, a colleague brought his father a newspaper stating that Hassan was Champion of France. Hassan's father immediately thought it was for boxing, until his colleague corrected him. It was for dancing. Hassan's father was less than thrilled until he spoke to his son and learned that Hassan was making a very nice living from dance, while helping to support his parents and three brothers.

Hip hop subculture including music, dance and graffiti

Hip hop or hip-hop, is a culture and art movement that began in the Bronx in New York City during the early 1970s. The origin of the word is often disputed. It is also argued as to whether hip hop started in the South or West Bronx. While the term hip hop is often used to refer exclusively to hip hop music, hip hop is characterized by nine elements, of which only four elements are considered essential to understand hip hop musically. The main elements of hip hop consist of four main pillars. Afrika Bambaataa of the hip hop collective Zulu Nation outlined the pillars of hip hop culture, coining the terms: "rapping", a rhythmic vocal rhyming style (orality); DJing, which is making music with record players and DJ mixers ; b-boying/b-girling/breakdancing (movement/dance); and graffiti. Other elements of hip hop subculture and arts movements beyond the main four are: hip hop culture and historical knowledge of the movement (intellectual/philosophical); beatboxing, a percussive vocal style; street entrepreneurship; hip hop language; and hip hop fashion and style, among others. The fifth element, although debated, is commonly considered either street knowledge, hip hop fashion, or beatboxing.

Town square open public space

A town square is an open public space commonly found in the heart of a traditional town used for community gatherings. Other names for town square are civic center, city square, urban square, market square, public square, piazza, plaza, and town green.

Lyon Prefecture and commune in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France

Lyon is the third-largest city and second-largest urban area of France. It is located in the country's east-central part at the confluence of the rivers Rhône and Saône, about 470 km (292 mi) south from Paris, 320 km (199 mi) north from Marseille and 56 km (35 mi) northeast from Saint-Étienne. Inhabitants of the city are called Lyonnais.

A friend who had auditioned for Cirque du Soleil in Paris was asked if he knew anyone that specialized in popping. Hassan was summoned, completely baffled as to why a circus would want a popping dancer to perform among their animals. After the audition, he went back to France to be with his wife, who was giving birth to his daughter. While she was in labor, he received a call from Cirque. The doctor went ballistic, but Hassan knew it was the call he'd been waiting for. He was cast as The Walrus, the lead dancer and principal character for "Love." The birth of his daughter Ines and his career happened at the same time. Hassan and family moved to Montreal to prep the show, and then to Las Vegas, where he became the star of "Love."

Paris Capital of France

Paris is the capital and most populous city of France, with an area of 105 square kilometres and an official estimated population of 2,140,526 residents as of 1 January 2019. Since the 17th century, Paris is one of Europe's major centres of finance, diplomacy, commerce, fashion, science, and the arts.


Popping is a street dance and one of the original funk styles that came from Fresno, California during the early 1970s. The dance is based on the technique of quickly contracting and relaxing muscles to cause a jerk in the dancer's body, referred to as a pop or a hit. This is done continuously to the rhythm of a song in combination with various movements and poses.

Circus commonly a travelling company of performers

A circus is a company of performers who put on diverse entertainment shows that may include clowns, acrobats, trained animals, trapeze acts, musicians, dancers, hoopers, tightrope walkers, jugglers, magicians, unicyclists, as well as other object manipulation and stunt-oriented artists. The term circus also describes the performance which has followed various formats through its 250-year modern history. Philip Astley is credited with being the father of the modern circus when he opened the first circus in 1768 in England. A skilled equestrian, Astley demonstrated trick riding, riding in a circle rather than a straight line as his rivals did, and thus chanced on the format which was later named a "circus". In 1770 he hired acrobats, tightrope walkers, jugglers and a clown to fill in the pauses between acts. Performances developed significantly through the next fifty years, with large-scale theatrical battle reenactments becoming a significant feature. The traditional format, whereby a ringmaster introduces a varied selection of acts that mostly perform choreographed acts to traditional music, developed in the latter part of the 19th century and continued almost universally to be the main style of circus up until the 1970s.

Hassan infuses his dance style with a signature undercurrent of comedy and playfulness, which not only wows audiences but entertains in a way that straight dancing rarely does. Whether performing across the globe for Cirque Du Soleil or busking on Santa Monica's Third Street Promenade, Hassan has never forgotten his humble beginning, his simple roots, nor his passion for hip hop dancing.

Comedy genre of dramatic works intended to be humorous

In a modern sense, comedy refers to any discourse or work generally intended to be humorous or amusing by inducing laughter, especially in theatre, television, film, stand-up comedy, or any other medium of entertainment. The origins of the term are found in Ancient Greece. In the Athenian democracy, the public opinion of voters was influenced by the political satire performed by the comic poets at the theaters. The theatrical genre of Greek comedy can be described as a dramatic performance which pits two groups or societies against each other in an amusing agon or conflict. Northrop Frye depicted these two opposing sides as a "Society of Youth" and a "Society of the Old." A revised view characterizes the essential agon of comedy as a struggle between a relatively powerless youth and the societal conventions that pose obstacles to his hopes. In this struggle, the youth is understood to be constrained by his lack of social authority, and is left with little choice but to take recourse in ruses which engender very dramatic irony which provokes laughter.

America's Got Talent

Haspop auditioned for the fifth season of America's Got Talent in Los Angeles, which aired on June 1, 2010. The three judges, Howie Mandel, Piers Morgan, and Sharon Osbourne, unanimously voted him forward to the next round in Las Vegas. Once he reached Las Vegas, the judges selected him as among the 10 acts to move directly to the quarterfinals in Hollywood without having to compete in another round of eliminations. A total of 48 acts were ultimately selected for the quarterfinals in Hollywood. In Hollywood, he was in the third batch of 12 quarter finalists who performed live on July 27, 2010. The judges gave him positive reviews, with Howie Mandel commenting that "That is what I'm talking about. That is wow! It really is wow, Haspop!" Piers Morgan added that he thought Haspop's was "the performance of the night, so far." Sharon Osbourne agreed with the other two judges, stating that the performance was "spectacular, absolutely spectacular." On July 28, 2010, Haspop was voted by the viewers to move to the semifinals.

Los Angeles City in California

Los Angeles, officially the City of Los Angeles and often known by its initials L.A., is the most populous city in California, the second most populous city in the United States, after New York City, and the third most populous city in North America. With an estimated population of four million, Los Angeles is the cultural, financial, and commercial center of Southern California. The city is known for its Mediterranean climate, ethnic diversity, Hollywood and the entertainment industry, and its sprawling metropolis. Los Angeles is the largest city on the West Coast of North America.

Howie Mandel Canadian stand-up comedian, television host and actor

Howard Michael Mandel is a Canadian comedian, actor and television host. He hosts the CNBC game show Deal or No Deal, as well as the show's daytime and Canadian-English counterparts. In 1987, Mandel starred alongside Amy Steel in the comedy film Walk Like a Man. From 1982 to 1988 Mandel played rowdy ER intern Dr. Wayne Fiscus on the NBC medical drama St. Elsewhere. He also created and starred in the children's cartoon Bobby's World, and judges on NBC's America's Got Talent.

Piers Morgan English journalist and television host

Piers Stefan Pughe-Morgan is an English broadcaster, journalist, writer, and television personality. He is currently working on the ITV Breakfast programme Good Morning Britain.

Related Research Articles

Franco Dragone is a Belgian theatre director. He is the founder and artistic director of Dragone, and is also known for his work with Cirque du Soleil and Celine Dion.

<i>Kà</i> Cirque de Soleil show

is a show by Cirque du Soleil at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. describes the story as "the coming of age of a young man and a young woman through their encounters with love, conflict and the duality of , the fire that can unite or separate, destroy or illuminate."

<i>O</i> (Cirque du Soleil) Cirque du Soleil act

O is a water-themed stage production by Cirque du Soleil, a Canadian circus and entertainment company. The show has been in permanent residence at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States, since October 1998. O, whose name is pronounced the same way as eau, the French word for "water", takes place in, around and above a 1.5-million-US-gallon (5,700 m3) pool of water, featuring water acts such as synchronized swimming as well as aerial and ground acts. The O theatre, which is designed to resemble a 14th-century European opera house, has 1,800 seats, thus allowing the performance to be watched by 3,600 people a night since the performance usually plays twice in a given day, also designed to meet the special demands of the show.

Benoît Jutras, is a Canadian composer. Jutras is best known for his work with the Canadian entertainment company Cirque du Soleil, first as music director and later as composer for several of the company's contemporary circus shows. Jutras' music often blends eclectic influences, including world beat, classical, rock, trip hop, and electronica. His scores for Cirque du Soleil shows include O, Mystère, Quidam, and La Nouba. His work outside of Cirque du Soleil has included original soundtracks for Le Rêve, the Glow in the Park Parade, and The House of Dancing Water. He has also composed for film and television.

Jamie King is an American creative director, choreographer, and producer whose work directing concert tours for pop stars has grossed over two billion dollars.

So You Think You Can Dance is a United States television reality program and dance competition airing on the Fox Broadcasting Company network. Season four premiered on May 22, 2008, with Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy returning as permanent judges and Cat Deeley returning to host. Joshua Allen was announced as the winner on August 7, 2008, the first hip-hop dancer to win the title.

Criss Angel Believe was the sixth Cirque du Soleil show in Las Vegas, which premiered at the 1,600-capacity Believe Theatre inside the Luxor hotel in Las Vegas in 2008. It is a theatrical production created in partnership of Cirque du Soleil and magician Criss Angel, who was billed as the "co-writer, illusions creator and designer, original concept creator and star" of the show. The show had its final performance on April 17, 2016, being replaced by Criss Angel Mindfreak Live on May 11 of the same year.

So You Think You Can Dance is a United States television reality program and dance competition airing on the Fox Broadcasting Company network. Season five premiered on May 21, 2009, with Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy returning as permanent judges and Cat Deeley returning to host. Jeanine Mason was crowned America's Favorite Dancer on August 6, 2009, making her the second female to win the show. For the first time, the show moved to a new stage, but it turned out to be the last season at CBS Studios.

Salah "Entertainer" Benlemqawanssa, also known as Spider Salah, is an award-winning competitive hip-hop dancer from France who won the inaugural season of La France a un incroyable talent, the fourth season of Arabs Got Talent and the fourth season of Tú Sí Que Vales (Italy). He was born in the Paris suburb Saint-Denis and is of Moroccan (Father) and Algerian (Mother) ancestry. He calls his personal dance style P.A.B.E. which stands for Popping, Animation, Boogaloo, and Effects. Although Salah is best known for popping, he is also skilled in b-boying.

<i>Viva Elvis</i> Cirque de Soleil show

Viva Elvis was the seventh resident Cirque du Soleil show on the Las Vegas Strip. It resided at the Aria Resort & Casino and premiered on February 19, 2010. The show closed on August 31, 2012. Cirque du Soleil partnered with Elvis Presley Enterprises to produce this show, similar to how they partnered with The Beatles' Apple Corps Ltd to produce the resident show Love at the Mirage.

Felix Cane is an Australian professional pole dancer, pole instructor and international champion pole dancer.

New or Contemporary Circus, also known as nouveau cirque or cirque contemporain in French-speaking countries, is a genre of performing arts developed in the late 20th century in which a story or theme is conveyed through traditional circus skills.

ReQuest Dance Crew are an all-female hip-hop dance crew from Auckland, New Zealand. ReQuest were formed in 2007, with originally five members. They are based out of The Palace Dance Studio in Penrose and are one of six crews alongside The Royal Family (MegaCrew), Royal Family Varsity (MegaCrew), Kingsmen (Adults), Sorority (Varsity), and Bubblegum (Junior).

Jacques Heim is a French-born dance choreographer who founded Diavolo Dance Theater in 1992 after graduating from California Institute of the Arts. He was born and raised in Paris, France. As a young man, Heim moved to New York City, and shortly thereafter received his BFA in Theater, Dance, and Film at Middlebury College in Vermont. He then moved to England and received his Certificate for Analysis and Criticism of Dance from University of Surrey. After his stay in England he came back to America, only this time to California, where he would receive his MFA in Choreography from the California Institute of the Arts.

Tabitha and Napoleon Dumo American husband-and-wife choreographer and creative director duo

Tabitha A. D'umo and Napoleon Buddy D'umo, known together as Nappytabs, are Emmy Award-winning married choreographers who are often credited with developing lyrical hip-hop. They are best known for their choreography on the television show So You Think You Can Dance and for being supervising choreographers and executive producers of America's Best Dance Crew. Since being with the former, their choreography has received both praise and criticism. They own Nappytabs urban dancewear and have been working in the dance industry since 1996.

Mathieu Laplante is a producer, director, choreographer, and former circus performer. He was a world-renowned gymnast from the age of 8 through 15 before joining Cirque du Soleil. He has worked on stage with artists such as Michael Jackson, Peter Gabriel, and Janet Jackson. He is best known for his work with Cirque-style shows. He began performing with Cirque du Soleil at the age of 16 and directed his first Cirque-style show at the age of 26.

Wellington Lima (Palhaçada)

Wellington Lima is a Brazilian artistic acrobat and performer who currently works as a performer in the Michael Jackson ONE show at Cirque du Soleil.

Yanis Marshall is a French dancer and choreographer. He was born on November 11, 1989 in Grasse, France. He specializes in a stye of dance choreography in which dancers of all genders wear high-heeled shoes.


  1. 1 2 3 Rivet-Paturel, Michel (27 July 2010). "Natif de Bron, Haspop envoûte l'Amérique de son incroyable talent". Le Progrès . Retrieved 2 August 2010.
  2. Rockwell, John (9 December 2006). "A Glorious Rush Hour: 28 Cities Converge to Dance". New York Times . Retrieved 2 August 2010.
  3. 1 2 Frex, Aurélie (9 June 2010). "Un danseur frenchy épate les Américains". Europe1 . Retrieved 2 August 2010.
  4. "Hassan El Hajjami". Cirque du Soleil. Retrieved 2 August 2010.