A Few Things You Should Know About Hip-Hop Dancing

A History of Hip-Hop

Breakdancing on city sidewalk
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Hip-hop is a dance style, usually danced to hip-hop music, that evolved from the hip-hop culture. The first dance associated with hip-hop was break dancing. While breakdancing consists primarily of moves executed close to the ground, the majority of hip-hop moves are performed standing up. What is hip-hop dance, exactly? Let's begin by learning about the roots of this form of dance.

Hip-Hop Culture

Hip-hop developed from several cultures including jazz, rock, tap, and American and Latino cultures. Hip-hop is a very energetic form of dancing. It is unique in that it allows its dancers to perform with freedom of movement, adding in their own personalities. The hip-hop culture is influenced by the following four elements: disc jockeys, graffiti (art), MCs (rappers), and B-boys and B-girls.

Get Moving with Hip-Hop Dance 

Hip-hop dance steps require skill and experience to perfect. Hip-hop dancers practice a lot in order to master basic steps and movements that appear simple when performed. Dancers with a good sense of rhythm find it easier to learn hip-hop steps.


Breakdancing is a form of hip-hop that many people enjoy watching, as it has cool moves and quick spins. Breakdancing moves take a lot of time and practice to master, particularly the ones performed near the ground, called "down rock" moves. "Uprock" moves, which are performed standing up, give breakdancers a chance to incorporate their own styles. The roots of this dance form began in the 1970s in New York City -- the South Bronx to be exact.

Keith "Cowboy" Wiggins, who belonged to Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five is said to have come up with the term in 1978. Learn more about the history of breakdancing.

Learning Hip-Hop

Hip-hop classes have popped up in dance studios around the country. In fact, most offer hip-hop dancing along with ballet, tap, jazz, and modern dancing. Teens are particularly interested in learning how to dance like dancers they see on MTV and in music videos. Dance teachers have capitalized on this interest and have started incorporating hip-hop and breakdancing classes into their curriculums. Many people with roots in hip-hop culture feel that hip-hop dancing should not be formally "taught." They feel that teaching specific moves takes away from the originality factor that hip-hop possesses. Still, it may help you get comfortable if you learn some popular moves like the Running Man or the Charlie Brown.