Whether it’s for self-expression or simply enjoying the music, hip hop dance has become one of the most popular styles for street and club performances, competitions and even theater and film productions. It’s a dance style that can be done by almost anyone of any age or body type, and is known for its sharp movements and fluid combinations.
Originally born in poor neighborhoods in the 1970s, hip hop dance developed into a cultural phenomenon through the influence of gangs and other street-level gang activity. These gangs often provided a form of identity and community for young people in the area, as well as a chance to showcase their talents in battles or public displays such as street dance.
The original Hip Hop dance was called breaking or b-boying and was performed to funk and rock music “breaks,” with movements based on the rhythm of the song. In the mid-to late ’80s, breaking began to die out as the culture changed and the music evolved. Hip Hop Freestyle was the next step, which absorbed the previous style and became more in tune with the music and club or party environment.
Other dance forms that emerged include krumping, which takes its roots in African American culture and is characterized by powerful, energetic movements like chest bumping. Another popular movement in hip hop is popping, which involves quick contractions of muscles to create a “jerking” effect in the body, and locking, in which the dancer moves their body and then freezes it into different positions for longer periods of time than with popping.