Basics of Hip Hop Dance Styles

12:11 PM

Hip-hop Dance Styles: BASIC KNOWLEDGE

During my time posting here on, I have tried to make a difference in regards to how people view hip-hop on the hip-hop forum. Many come in with MAJOR misconceptions regarding hip-hop dancing. It's rather insulting. It's like someone coming to the ballet section saying ballet is only for little white girls in tights and pink tutus, and its not a real dance.

So why am I posting this? The answer is simple: to educate ALL dancers about the dance I love. And I encourage people from all section to make such posts, even in other sections! So, here's some basics on REAL hip-hop, terms and corrections of media wrong-doing.

Hip-hop (studio)- Studio hip-hop, is NOT considered (among true hip-hop heads) real hip-hop. Hip-hop, in its early years, was rather sexist and homophobic. So, the ballet dancers that could not make it in ballet that tried hip-hop and were shunned there, came together and created their own style of dance that they could pawn off to the dance world as hip-hop. When the video era came about, it was THESE dancers that were making it into videos (by means of producers that knew NOTHING about hip-hop).

The end result of all this, is what you see as MOST dancing in music videos: pirrouettes, pencil turns, fluid/languid arm movements, borrowed names for movements and no different styles, and the requirement of ballet as a background (due to much ballet influence).

Hip-hop (party dancing)- It's just that: how people dance at parties!!! This includes mainly MOVES such as the Harlem Shake, the Crip Walk (also C-Walk...this is a GANG dance and should not be done), krumping, 2-stepping and grinding/freakdancing/booty popping, etc.

The THREE ORIGINAL HIP-HOP DANCES (bboying/locking/popping)- Bboying is really the only TRUE hip-hop dance. (PLEASE do not call it BREAKDANCING. That is a media term that hip-hop heads HATE. There is no such thing as a breakdancer or breakdancing. It would be like us calling ballet "TuTu Dancing". It would get on your nerves!!!) Locking and Popping (TWO separate dances... its like saying Ballet and Jazz) both come out of FUNK music dance styles (hence the nickname, the funkstyles). Bboying developed along with the newly budding style of hip-hop (before it was named as such) in 1972.

If you ask any hip-hop head that knows their history, and not what MTV or BET shows them, then they will tell you, "the TRUE hip-hop dance styles are where it is at!!!" Bboying consists of 4 different styles that are their own dances. Locking is its own dance style. (There is no such thing as poplocking or pop-n-lock.) And the umbrella style of popping (which is why we say funkstyles) has over 26 separate styles of dance. When I say style, I am not talking about "flavor," meaning a different look to the same dance techniques, I mean 26 individual FORMS of dance with their own separate and special techniques.

When you look at hip-hop from this perspective, there is no such thing as "Jazz-funk", there is no such thing as "Street"/"Disco Street", there is no such thing as hip-hop in a studio (there are exceptions...). Why? In the eyes of someone who is IN LOVE with this CULTURE, someone that lives it every second of their life, the rest is all fake.

"Accept no substitues!!!" Always go for the real deal. Hip-hop dancers don't follow 8-counts, we make up our own movements based on techniques for the individual dance styles. Any good hip-hop dancer can dance (bust) to any song, anywhere, anytime, and not repeat a move for several hours. Keep that in mind when you think about hip-hop dancing.

Peace and Respect to ALL dancers,
Funkacidal Maniacs Crew

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