Hip Hop Birth, Styles, Dancers, Music & Competitions Hip Hop Birth, Styles, Dancers, Music & Competitions

Hip Hop Birth, Styles, Dancers, Music & Competitions

story by Danceus Staff for DanceUs.org

The Birth of Hip Hop

Hip Hop began during the 1970s in the streets as a kind of toprock, freestyle dance. Over time, it has evolved into a dance style that is lower to the floor due mainly to gymnastics and martial arts influences. The spread of Hip Hop can initially be attributed to a little show known as Soul Train. It was on this platform that Don Campbell and Sam Solomon perpetuated their signature styles, popping and locking. Their crews went under the names of "The Lockers" and "Electric Boogaloos."

Afrika Bambaataa, a Hip Hop activist

Afrika Bambaataa, who was a Hip Hop activist, is given credit for coining the phrase Hip Hop during a magazine interview in 1982. The improvisational phenomenon continued to grow through the 1980s and 1990s on both a commercial and local level. The extremely popular Cabbage Patch and Roger Rabbit are movements of the 1980s. The 1990s saw The Running Man come to life. More recently, the Cha Cha Slide has been seen across this nation as a club favorite.

Variety of Styles within the Hip Hop Genre

Hip Hop did not actually begin as one dance movement. The streets of New York and the streets of California were both experiencing their own kinds of dance history simultaneously. Jazz-funk was birthed on the West Coast while popping and locking were created on the East. They were simply lumped together into one category, and have remained that way ever since. Shortly after these styles became popular, studios began delivering a more commercial brand of Hip Hop known as New Style. Breaking, locking and popping are still widely used even though they first came into play in the 1970s. However, the Hip Hop arsenal has added more modern krumping, turfing and jerkin' to its repertoire.

Hip Hop Dancers of Note

Daniel Karaty, a Hip Hop dancer

Hip Hop allows for such an amazing amount of self-expression and improvisation that many of the younger generation are drawn to it. For example, Dan Karaty is not only well-known for his dance ability, but also for his expertise in choreography. He is a frequent choreographer for So You Think You Can Dance, as well as a judge. He is an adjudicator for Americas Got Talent, as well. He has prepared numbers for the likes of Kylie Minogue and Jessica Simpson. Dan has even been featured on Broadway in Footloose.

Wade Robson, a Hip Hop star

Another hugely sought after Hip Hop star is Wade Robson. Although an Australian native, Wade and his family moved to America when he was only 9 years old so that he could pursue his dancing obsession. Not only did he pursue it, but he caught it as he was teaching Hip Hop by the time he was twelve. Most kids today have not even gotten their drivers license by the age that he was choreographing serious dance numbers for Britney Spears. Wade created pieces for her videos, tour and even her HBO special. Britney is not the only star he has choreographed for, either. NSYNC has also borrowed from his talents. Most recently, Wade is seen working with So You Think You Can Dance as a choreographer, and even won an Emmy in 2007 for his work on that show. 

The Music 

There are too many Hip Hop musicians to count these days. A few popular favorites of the present time include Jay-Z, Naughty by Nature, Queen Latifah and Run-D.M.C. 

Jay-Z, popular Hip Hop musician


Hip Hop Competitions

America may be the birth place of Hip Hop, but many of its largest competitions are located outside of the United States. Juste Debout and Battle of the Year are two huge breaking competitions in France. The UK B-Boy Championship and World Street Dance Championships are in the United Kingdom.

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