Written by Jake Fuller
If you don’t know anything else, you probably already know that hip hop has the beat that makes you want to get up and dance. But what do you really know about hip hop dance?
Did you know that this energetic dancing evolved with hip hop music and street jazz? It’s true. Today, hip hop has taken its place alongside ballet, tap, jazz and ballroom dancing; to name a few.
The first mention of hip hop dance dates back to the 70’s when some new moves were introduced to the dance world to accompany the funky sounds of hip hop music that was also being discovered. Most popular among African Americans and Latin Americans at first, there are many races who now lay claim to defining this diverse dance phenomenon.
Across the United States from the ‘Boogie Down’ Bronx, New York to the ‘Beat Street’ corners of Compton, California, young people everywhere took to this new style of dancing that included such feats as breaking, popping, locking, gliding, ticking, vibrating and krumping. In the earlier days, some hip hop dance moves such as the Humpty Dance were made popular by hip hop artists who had created the songs from which these dances were derived.
Early on, dance competitions on sidewalks included beat boxing, a form of music-making that included raps and special sound effects made with the hands and mouth. Artists like The Fat Boys rose to fame and fortune with Buffy’s beat boxing talents.
After the outbreak of interest in hip hop dance, there were even several movies highlighting this new form of dancing that combined beats, sounds, and gravity-defying moves. Crush Groove and other movies saw their day in the spotlight as hip hop dance continued to expand to different cultures and races and locations around the globe.
From freestyle forms that were often the spotlight of informal battles both indoors and outdoors to formally trained dancers who began to incorporate hip hop dance as a means of dance and physical exercise, hip hop dance has continued to evolve. Today, hip hop dance has earned a recognized place in dance studios and is practiced as regularly as other styles.
Whether hip hop dance was the brain child of some who were simply looking for another form of expression or the intentional genius of creative souls who were looking to put another dance expression into the mix of music is not clear. What is clear is that hip hop music has survived challenge and change and fought its way into the dance scene around the world.
In 2005, the popular television show “So You Think You Can Dance” presented yet another platform for hip hop dance artists to display their talents while competing for fame and fortune against other recognized dance forms such as ballet, tap, jazz and ballroom.
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