Pop dance is a funk and street dance style characterized by sudden tensing and relaxing of muscles (often referred to as “hitting”) in rhythm with beats in music. It’s closely related to hip hop dance and is often performed in dance battles where the goal is to outperform competitors. A dancer who performs popping is called a “popper.”
While the origins of popping are disputed, most OG’s agree that it started among teenage friends in deindustrializing neighborhoods of Fresno and Long Beach, California. They would come up with moves, practice them, and then show them off at clubs or dance battles. The style gained national recognition in the 1980’s when one of its practitioners, a b-boy named Sam Solomon, created what became known as the Electric Boogaloo Lockers. They were the first dancers to showcase popping techniques on live television and proved that young people could achieve fame and success through their talents.
A variety of different illusory dance styles and techniques are frequently mixed with popping to enhance the dancer’s performance and create a more varied show, including robot dancing, waveing, tutting, and strutting. Some of these are also standalone styles that are used in isolation, such as the dime stop heavily utilized by robot dancers.
Adding a best pop dance category was a major victory for the electronic world, which has struggled to have its work represented at the Grammys due to the lack of an official nomination review committee and a separate category for dance/electronic music. The addition of this new category ensures that the entire genre, from radio-friendly EDM to underground drum ‘n’ bass, gets the recognition it deserves.