In this blog I want to cover a brief history of hip hop dance. I get asked about the history of hip hop alot being primarily a hip hop dancer myself, and it is important to understand the difference between hip hop “Culture” and the various styles of hip hop “Dance”.
Hip hop as a cultural movement started in the early 1970′s in the Bronx, a neighborhood in New York City. It started as a movement by the disenfranchised youth of the day. Kids who wanted an alternative outlet for their frustrations and energy other then drug use, or gang violence. A guy by the nick name of “Cool Herc” started throwing block parties where he would play music and people would come to socialize, and dance. He would play disco songs but instead of playing the whole song he would pick just the middle section called the dance “break”, and he would loop it so people could continue dancing to the beat. This is where the term “break dancing” actually came from.
At these block parties kids would make up new dance moves on the spot and try to one-up their friends in this kind of friendly competition. It was through this that B-Boys got their name (Break- Boy). Naturally as music changed so did the styles of dance that people where doing. As hip hop culture exploded in the 1980s so did the popularity of the various styles of hip hop dance which by then included: Breaking (New york), Popping (California), Locking (California), and House dancing ( Newyork, Chicago, Various other cities).
Over the years the different styles of hip hop dancing have evolved along with the changing landscape of hip hop culture, but the history of hip hop dance remains connected to the history of hip hop culture which encompasses several different elements: Emceeing ( The host of the block party talking over the music about current events A.K.A “rapping”), B-boying, Graffiti (Visual Art), and DJing ( scratching records to make sounds, and looping dance breaks).
Hip hop has a long history that is still evolving, but one thing is for sure. As long as music continues to progress and change, so will the styles of hip hop dance!