Hip hop dance is a popular youth-oriented street dance style that generally performs to its own genre of music. Although influenced by jazz, Indian and African dance, it is considered to be unique as a movement style because of its freestyle improvisational nature and competitive edge.
Unlike ballet, tap and jazz dance where specific choreography is rehearsed and performed with a group, hip hop is freestyle based and allows the individual to express themselves through their own personal interpretation of the music and the beat. Despite this, there are many different styles that make up the genre of hip hop dancing, with Breaking, Popping and Locking being some of the most popular.
Breaking began in the late 1960s and early 1970s when individuals without formal dance training brought their innate gift for movement and complex rhythm to the streets. Dancers would often dance in groups, battling each other for recognition. It was at this point that Kool DJ Herc incorporated the concept of counts into the b-boying culture as well as extended the dance sections of songs to give dancers more time to showcase their moves.
This paved the way for more structured hip hop dance to be taught in the dance studios as well as on TV and music videos. While this has been great for promoting the hip hop dance genre and bringing it to more audiences, it is important that parents understand that the style of hip hop being taught in most dance schools today is a commercialized and streamlined version of what originally was a street styled form of hip hop.