Hip hop dance has been around for decades and continues to thrive in mainstream art and entertainment. It’s a style of dancing that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and body types. Whether it’s a flashy performance on a stage or simply dancing with friends in a club, hip hop is a style that can be shared by anyone.
As hip hop grew in popularity, the culture of hip hop began to influence more than just music and MCing. Other aspects of the culture, such as graffiti writing, bboying (breaking), and DJing have shaped hip hop dance. Hip hop dance itself, though, is a highly versatile style that can rock a nightclub or mesmerize a competition jury of dance experts.
During the 1980s, a number of famous rapper-dancers helped spread hip hop dancing to new audiences through movies and commercials. Breakdancing in particular was showcased in ads for Pepsi, Coke, Panasonic, and Burger King, bringing the movement more exposure. This helped hip hop dance retain its competitive battle culture, as people vied for the chance to be seen on the dance floor and duke it out with the best of them.
As the movement grew, it also began to influence other styles of dance, such as popping and locking. These other styles developed independently from breaking, but through cross-pollination and media misunderstanding, they came to be associated with hip hop dance. As the culture continued to grow, modern shows such as America’s Best Dance Crew and So You Think You Can Dance further popularized hip hop dance, while movies like Step Up and Save The Last Dance depicted underground cyphers in a way that appealed to mainstream audiences.