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What is Hip Hop? A Guide

JumpStart Dance Style Guide

A few weeks ago Curve Theatre in Leicester hosted Breakin’ Convention, an International Festival of Hip Hop Dance Theatre.  The video footage in this article was taken during the event.

The term Hip Hop usually refers to a range of art forms including dance, rapping, DJing and graffiti and it originated from New York in the USA during the late 1970s and early 1980s.  Hip Hop was developed by African-Americans and Latinos on the streets of the South Bronx.  Music was played through ghetto blasters (in the days before MP3 players and iPods!) and dancers often used cardboard or lino to dance on.  Gangs sometimes used Hip Hop dancing to battle over their territory without using fighting or violence.

The main styles of Hip Hop dance include:

  • Breaking – standing moves (top rock) and acrobatic floor work such as the windmill and the helicopter
  • Locking – a sudden pause in the movement where the dancer’s body is held in a position
  • Popping – tensing and relaxing the muscles in quick jerky movements that makes it look like the dancer’s body is popping

The dancers who perform Hip Hop are usually called B-boys (Break-boys) and B-girls (Break-girls)

Other styles used in Hip Hop Dance include

  • Tutting – small intricate movements with the hands and fingers to create geometric shapes
  • Krumping – fast, expressive and aggressive arms movements danced standing upright


Most Hip Hop dances are improvisational – rather than being choreographed with set counts, the dancers  freestyle their own moves.  Crews often hold battles where dancers compete against each other.


Hip Hop dance is performed to rapping, beatboxing and DJing as seen in the video below

Graffiti art is also a key part of Hip Hop
























free-video-text2Would you like to learn some key Hip Hop Dance moves?  Our free video shows you how to Top rock, Groove, Ripple, Point and Freeze. The moves can be used to create a dance with the children or added into a warm up to make your classes feel more ‘current’.

Click here to access the video.

Live in the East Midlands?  Invite your kids along to our Street Dance workshop on 2nd August 2017

Street Dance Workshop(1)

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