Hip hop dance is one of the most popular forms of dance today. It has become a part of mainstream culture thanks to movies, music videos and dance competition shows like So You Think You Can Dance. However, hip hop dance is much more than just a popular form of entertainment. It is a cultural movement that has touched on major social, political and racial issues that require emotional depth to fully grasp.
During the late 1960s and early 1970s, urban communities struggled with inclusion, institutional oppression and economic violence. In these neighborhoods, individuals without formal dance training brought dancing to the streets by adopting the beat-based rhythms of funk and rock music. They developed moves at block parties, park jams and skating rinks, settling disagreements between crews in cyphers and establishing themselves as a community of street dancers.
The first professional street dance crews were formed in the Bronx and Harlem, including Rock Steady Crew, the New York City Breakers and the Electric Boogaloos. The popularity of these crews spurred the creation of a style that could be performed in clubs and became known as club or party dancing. This style is less structured than breaking and allows dancers to add their own personal expression to the music.
In addition to club or party dancing, there are three original and well-known styles of hip hop dance: breaking, popping and locking. Each of these techniques has its own unique movements that can play off of each other and are often used together in a single hip hop routine.