NEW YORK - It's the kind of dance most often seen on the streets or the subway.

But on a recent night, a brand of hip-hop dancing turned up in the Arms and Armor Court at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where dancers dressed in medieval warfare gear moved to the sounds of the 21st Century.

"You're putting on what feels like another persona," said Rhea 'Wiildkard' Nance, a dancer with It's Showtime NYC. "And you're adding that to your movements."

It is called "Battle Hip-Hop in Armor," a collaboration between the Met and "It's Showtime NYC," a dance troupe featuring former subway performers like Nance.

Met curator Pierre Terjanian told us the idea is to bring to life artifacts that now sit behind glass.

"I have feeling that a lot of the objects can be studied, can be enjoyed, almost like still lifes," Terjanian said. "But in reality, it's not about study, it's also about enjoyment. I think the dancers bring a completely different feel to the objects as they are in movement."

The dancers don't perform in the original armor, but replicas, like these gauntlets and chain-mail shirts, some of which weigh 20 pounds and affect how the body moves.

"We were very carefully trying on some of them, feeling their weight and some of the replicas as well, and just feeling, 'we can dance in this,'" Nance told us.

Part of what fascinated the dancers was learning the history of the armor.

With that knowledge, they choreographed elaborate routines that were fine-tuned during rehearsals and then performed in front of an audience.

In many ways, the collaboration makes perfect sense: hip-hop dancing is a competition, an often fierce battle to be the best.

"There is a tradition in hip-hop of the taunting and the confronting, which to me brought to mind some parallels with the periods that the objects in these galleries represent," Terjanian said.

"What we were realizing as we heard Pierre is that a lot of the stuff we already did in the battle world and the dance world, period, related to what they were doing out in the field," Nance told us.

For the dancers, the chance to perform at the Met is a victory, an affirmation of their talent.

"It has been exciting, actually," said dancer Marlon 'Kweschun' Jones. "I would have never believed that I by myself would have been able to get to the Met."

Dancing at the Arms and Armor Court: a modern spectacle amid these relics of the past.

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