There are many iconic dance styles that suit each decade, but hip hop has continued to evolve and stay relevant since its beginning. If you’re considering signing up your child for dance lessons, it’s important to consider hip hop as an option because of its cultural significance, versatility, and enjoyable nature. Here’s what you need to know about how hip hop culture came to be, and why so many dancers, young and old, continue to choose it as their favourite.

The History of Hip Hop

The hip hop dance style originated in the Bronx, New York City during the late 1970s. The influence of the music genre, fashion style, and dance took longer to develop compared to the rock music scene in Canada. Although there was a temporary rise in popularity of the genre between 1989 to 1991, it remained an underground phenomenon in Canada until the early 2000s.

It became widely known after the first professional street dance crews formed, including Rock Steady Crew, The Lockers, New York City Breakers, and The Electric Boogaloos. Much of hip hop dancing came from the 1990s’ adaptation of funk styles such as the Running Man, the Worm, and the Cabbage Patch. The 2000s brought forth dances like the Cha Cha Slide, and the Dougie.

Although the term “hip hop” generally refers to a style of music, there are several important elements that define it. The main elements of hip hop culture include rapping, DJing, breakdancing, and graffiti art. It can also include beatboxing, street entrepreneurship, hip hop language, fashion and style, and more. Thanks to the rise of new media platforms in the 2000s, hip hop spread around the world through social networking sites like MySpace, YouTube, SoundCloud, Worldstarhiphop, and Spotify. These platforms spread the influence of the catchy culture and has since been adapted by artists around the world to develop new sounds and styles.

East Coast Roots

Hip hop may have developed in New York, but artists of the city invented a style and dance culture that blew up decades before the rise of the Internet. Before it was dubbed “hip hop” the art form developed in the East Coast by DJ Herc, who moved to Brooklyn at the age of 12 from Jamaica. As one of the pioneers of the genre, he began an informal performance career and became one of the most popular DJs in NYC. He made unique music using two record machines with the same record on each and created one of the most significant founding elements of the genre. He also extended the dance section of his songs to allow dancers to perform longer, as they were a significant part of the foundation of hip hop.

West Coast Hip Hop

The West Coast may have borrowed from the Bronx, but they developed their own style of hip hop. Thanks to the Jackson Five’s music of the 60s and 70s, robotic moves entered the dance culture. West Coast hip hop dancers began creating dance moves that replicated movements of artificial life, shaping hip hop on their side. Two huge pioneers of the rise of hip hop in the West Coast included Boogaloo Sam who created “popping,” and Don Campbellock, who invented “locking.” Both iconic dance moves shaped the scene of hip hop.

Why Hip Hop Remains the Most Popular Dance Style

Many dancers, old and new, enjoy hip hop even though the dance begun decades ago. The reason for this is because hip hop appeals to everyone. Unlike classical dance that is limited to age and body type, hip hop can be performed by anyone who wants to learn. The dance is also so versatile that it can be enjoyed on stage for a grand performance or in a club with friends. Today, almost everyone has seen some form of hip hop dance, whether it be in real life or on television. The dance’s use of music makes it fun to watch and perform as it can captivate audiences with its mixture of sharp and fluid movements. These reasons have led it to be the most popular dance form that exists today.

FAQ on the Hip Hop Dance Style

What is hip hop mostly about?

As with any art form, hip hop carries different meanings for each person. One of the early hip hop influencers, MC Kid Lucky, mentioned that breakdancing, a popular aspect of hip hop, was used to combat each other without fighting. Afrika Bambaataa, a man inspired by DJ Kool Herc, used hip hop in his organization to help teenagers get out of a lifestyle of gangs, drugs, and violence, and use the culture to create art.

What kind of shoes do you wear for hip hop dance?

Most dancers tend to wear comfortable shoes such as sneakers or skate shoes.

What clothes to wear for hip hop dancing?

Hip hop requires a lot of different moves, just like ballet, however, hip hop carries a culture with it. That’s why many dancers choose to wear baggy pants instead of spandex pants. Shows like So You Think You Can Dance are a great place to find out what professional hip hop dancers wear, and it can help get your child inspired to dance.

What was the first hip hop song ever made?

The first song that popularized hip hop around the world was a 1979 single by The Sugarhill Gang called “Rapper’s Delight.”

What are the main instruments used in hip hop music?

Original hip hop from the 1970s used instruments like turntables and a DJ mixer. Later on, technology allowed for instruments like digital samplers, sequencers, drum machines, and sound synthetizes to be implemented. Sometimes hip hop producers would bring in traditional instruments such as electric guitars and bass.

Our Hip Hop Dance Classes in Toronto and Vaughan

During Performing Dance Artship hop dance lessons for kids, we teach the foundational hip hop elements that make it the much-loved dance we know today. We also educate our students on cohesive choreography while still respecting their experiences as young dancers. Our hip hop dance lessons are fun and filled with high-intensity, high-energy music across all urban genres, including R&B and dance music. If you’re considering hip hop dance classes for your child, contact us and we will help you find the right place for your child.