Professional / Music Essay


History of Hip Hop Dance

The hip-pop music started a relatively long time ago from a diverse community of economically and socially repressed people that saw the need to consciously express their styles and attitudes to the world. This music has evolved over the years to become a widely accepted contemporary culture in the music industry. Its instrumentals, styles, dance, and forms have been successfully incorporated into society, and are now generally considered all over the world as the "real deal" of musical arrangements and sounds.

Since its inception in the South Bronx, New York, in the early 1970s, hip-pop has been one of the far-reaching musical genres that continue to spark critical thinking and also stimulate how we transfer ideas and opinions on socio-cultural estates and norms.

It does this through its lyrics and dance forms, which spread all around and connect people from different regions all over the world.

The dance forms that have been generated by hip-pop composers and producers worldwide have been one of the ways through which truths about the communities we live in have been expressed and shared. And, in this article, that will be our focus. We'll be discussing what the social and historical implications of the genre are through its different dance forms.

Although hip-pop is widely known for its lyrics (which is delivered through a style that's commonly identified as rapping, MCing or rhyming), it is, in the real sense, also made up of other elements that blend to form a wholly unique style of rhythms as well as beats. These other elements are, turntabling or deejaying, graffiti (also known as graf and writing) and B-boying, which covers the dance, body movements, attitudes and styles of all the performers of the genre.

The hip-pop dance originated from the black American society where people of African, Caribbean, and Latino heritage live together in harmony. In the cities of California and New York were styles such as breakdancing, which was the rave of the 80s and 90s among youths, roboting, locking, popping, boogaloo, and uprock created. They were all created as a backup for this unique genre.

Every one of these dance styles aforementioned was usually created by street dancers on the spot, especially during performances, and are made up of unusual but fascinating dance steps that will eventually develop, over time, to become different unique dance forms that we all presently associate with.

All these dance practices form a way through which the expression of opinions and activities of the people in the community where the music originally from are presented to the wider audience who care to listen. And how have these dance forms affected our social lives? Quite heavily, I must say.

After many years of direct criticisms by the government and other people in power, there came a widespread acceptance of the hip-pop culture by many people from different regions of the world in the early 1990s. People from different heritages with diverse cultural beliefs and affiliations began to assent this culture and integrate it into their social lives.

Television shows like Soul Train and some popular movies in the 1980s gave hip-pop dance the wide publicity and made some dance groups famous. Dance styles which were drawn from a popular style in the US at that time, the “jazz”, were also introduced and perform publicly, on streets where people were able to watch and master.

The dance especially, which as I’ve mentioned before, was a form of non-verbal expression and reflection of the life and community of people that created it, actually showcased a lot of the repression, exploitation, segregation, despair, and hopelessness of the urban community. The chains over large shirts and baggy jeans were symbolic. All the moves that also characterized each of the dance styles mentioned above, represent all the prevalent themes of the urban community.

The commercialization of the hip-pop dance forms came later and led to the production of movies like America’s Best Dance Crew, Step Up and so on which further increased the universal acceptance of the genre.

Another thing which makes this dance forms quite interesting is the “freestyle” feature that they seem to be operated upon. Dancers organized dance battles, standoffs or competitions to showcase different fascinating dance moves and turns.

Gradually, the dance forms of hip-pop began to go big in the popular culture and everywhere you turn, you see a performance of breakdancing or popping going on and catching people’s attention. Invariably, the forms began to develop, new moves were introduced and a fusion of steps from other genres was brought in.

Now, the dance has evolved, becoming the most accepted dance style in the worldHistory of Hip Hop Dance, with new forms being generated every now and then by individuals. Schools are now being set up to teach dance moves and steps to students. Dressing styles of hip-pop dancers and performers have now become the normal dressing forms of people around who associate with the urban culture. There are also international competitions set up to further showcase this art to the general public.

What initially started as a form of expression among a particular group of people has now developed over time to become a unique and generally accepted art in the popular culture of today. 

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