hip hop

When the style of hip hop was first created, it had six foundational elements: DJing (aural), MCing (oral), Beatboxing (vocal), Breakdancing (physical), Graffiti (visual), and Fashion. Today’s true hip hop legends continue to create using some or all these foundations. Even though artistic elements are bound to change with time, these six elements remain at the core of hip hop. Here’s what you need to know about hip hop and where your child can immerse themselves in hip hop dance classes in Toronto.


DJing started in the 1970s with its trademark innovative breaks and isolation of the percussive sounds. In these days, DJs like Kool DJ Herc, Kurtis Blow, and Grand Master Flash combined their sound with brilliant rhymes, gaining their prominence in the music world.


MCing is a form of poetic and verbal “acrobatics.” It was inspired by ancient African culture and oral tradition and was also known as “rapping.” Rapping differed from other popular singing forms because of its rapid-fire wordplay, freestyle rhymes, and lyrics that told stories about urban life as rappers of the time knew it.


Beatboxing was also a part of MCing, given that it had a vocal element. However, instead of a music track, different sounds were made using the mouth to create a beat and tune that served as the base upon which raps were spoken.


It all started with groups like Shaka Zulu Kings, Zulu Queens, and the Rock Steady Crew. These dancers gave rise to breakdancing, otherwise known as B-Boying or B-Girling. Also described as “poetry in motion,” breakdance combines acrobatics, gymnastics, Capoeira, martial arts, and other cultural dances.


Perhaps the most controversial of all the elements, graffiti has and continues to be considered “vandalism” to many. It is signified by “tags,” or creatively designed spray-painted signatures of graffiti artists, sprayed on walls, garbage cans, and other public surfaces. Today, in various parts of Toronto, Montreal, and other major cities, approved graffiti has evolved into enormous, beautiful, colourful illustrations that cover walls and even entire sides of buildings.


An element that has changed a lot over the years is the fashion aspect of hip hop. One’s image used to be extremely important in the early hip hop scene—baggy jeans, loose-fitting clothing, basketball jerseys, graphic tees, bandanas, sports shoes, and a hat. Fashion was a way to show that you belonged in the scene and that you understood or experienced the culture, urban heritage, and current issues. Nowadays, hip hop is no longer defined by appearance. Many of today’s hip hop artists have created their own look to show their individuality and uniqueness.

Choose Hip Hop Dance Classes at Performing Dance Arts

Is your child interested in hip hop culture and wants to learn how to dance? Performing Dance Arts offers trained and experienced teachers who can help your child learn more about the origins of hip hop, so they can fully immerse themselves in the genre. Contact us today to enroll your child or learn more about our hip hop dance classes in Etobicoke and Toronto.. If you want a firsthand idea of what our dance studios are like, pay us a visit!

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