Hip hop dance is a broad term that covers several different styles of dancing. These include breaking, krumping and popping as well as freestyle and participating in cyphers. The different styles are linked together to create a complete hip-hop performance that is often inspired by the music and beats. Dancers can also be free to improvise and add twists, spins and acrobatic moves into the mix, as long as they remain within the context of hip-hop.
Hip-hop dancers can be seen performing in music videos, in television shows and on stage with other performing arts groups such as ballet and modern dance. It has even influenced other forms of dance including rock and roll with the Charleston and Chubby Checker’s Twist, and several 1970’s fad dances such as the James Brown shuffle. Many schools offer hip hop alongside other dance styles like tap, jazz or ballet for their students to gain a range of skills before they specialise in one genre.
The 1990’s saw the formation of professional street dance crews who competed in cyphers and battles and performed on large stages with great audiences. Some of these crews became very famous such as the Jabbawockeez, Quick Crew and Mos Wanted Crew. These dancers have been influential in spreading the popularity of hip hop to the wider world and helping it develop into its own distinctive form.
To become a good hip-hop dancer it is important to have a strong understanding of body awareness and the ability to move with the rhythm of the music. In addition, hip-hop dancers need to be able to improvise and add their own style to the dance depending on the music and the mood. This freedom of expression is the essence of hip-hop and it is what makes this dance genre unique.