Some music and dance forms define an era. The disco craze was the epitome of the 70s, while the 80s had the synth-pop phase.

However, if there's one dance form, or subculture rather, that has stood the test of time, it has to be hip hop!

Hip hop music and dance made its debut in the late 1970s, but it quickly fell behind rock culture. However, it has once again become the most favored music genre and dance genre.

Are you looking to sign you or your child up for hip hop dance lessons? Many parents tend to go for traditional forms of dance, such as tap or ballet. But hip hop is more relatable to the youth, thanks to pop culture.

If you find your child watching hip hop videos, learning "Fortnite dances," and trying to teach themselves the floss, it's time you consider signing them up for a dance class where they can harness their talent.

If you are in the USA, you can sign up with Superprof and start learning hip hop with the best dance instructors.

A male hip hop dancer in green sweatpants and white shirt, freezing in-place while a spotlight shines on him.
Hip hop can be a way to be seen as "cool" for many urban kids. Joining hip hop dance classes can help them engage with the subculture, make new friends, and find a way to express themselves in more constructive ways. (Source: Pixabay)

Before signing up, it's worthwhile to know a little bit about hip hop's history and where it stems from:

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History Of Hip Hop Dancing

The hip hop dancing style stems from African American communities living in the Bronx, New York City, somewhere in the late 1970s.

This dance form became widely known after professional dance crews gained notoriety and became known to the public as Rock Steady Crew, New York City Breakers, and The Lockers.

Styles and moves evolved through the decades. This change gave birth to the funky styles of the 1990s: the Running Man, the Worm, and the Cabbage Patch to the Cha Cha Slide in the 2000s.

Though hip hop took on divergent forms in different areas, it comes in two broad-based styles: East Coast and West Coast.

Back in the day, rap and hip hop was East Coast-based since most of the pioneering hip hop artists were from NYC. However, it has since been imported to the west with a large degree of success.

East Coast hip hop has a strong focus on lyricism, hence the intertwined relation with rap. Hip hop artists focused on creating complex lyrics rather than emphasizing beats or an intense musicality.

Artists such as Grandmaster Flash and Sugarhill Gang were influential in developing the hip hop music genre's foundations.

The East Coast hip hop scene wasn't considered uniform until the mid-1980s when artists started incorporating aggressive beats and adding the attitude we associate with modern hip hop music.

The West Coast hip hop scene, such as in LA, did borrow from the East Coast hip hop scene but provided a unique flair.

Strong beats characterize the West coast, often adding a touch of electronic music and robotic moves. For West Coast hip hop, LA seems to be the hub of all activity.

The dance moves in this style mimic artificial life, and here is where the terms "popping" and "locking" originate from.

The two pioneers responsible for these famous moves were Boogaloo Sam and Don Campbellock.

Most hip hop dance classes introduce students to both styles, along with other native variations. You can discuss what kind of hip hop you want to master and any specific sub-genres of the dance form you would like to focus on with your dance instructor.

A man taking part in a breakdance battle with an audience wearing hip hop attire watching behind him.
Breakdance battles are the hip hop equivalent of a championship where different teams and individuals compete to win the most coveted prizes. Take up hip hop dance classes at Superprof to get a chance to learn breakdancing. (Source: Pixabay)

What Are The Main Elements Of Hip Hop Dancing?

To define hip hop as just music or dance is restrictive. The hip hop subculture encompasses music, dance, fashion, lifestyle, language, and even street entrepreneurship.

If you're from a city like Atlanta, you would be well acquainted with the hip hop scene in the urban South.

Dancers of all ages enjoy hip hop because of its universal appeal. As opposed to classical dance forms, which require a specific level of agility and body type, everyone can learn hip hop.

If you're not up for gravity-defying moves, you can learn some simple movements to groove to at a party. At Superprof, we design our hip hop dance classes to be accessible for all.

Hip hop dance is incredibly versatile, and you have probably come across some variation of this either in real life or on television.

As all iterations are considerably high-energy, they are fun to watch and enjoy. It involves a mixture of sharp and fluid movements:

And popping, locking, breaking, and boogaloo are some of the routine movements in hip hop dances.

Popping was conjured in California and first performed by the Electric Dance Crew. This dance move consists of quickly contracting and relaxing your muscles, known as pops. This move is quintessentially hip hop as it coincides with the beat of the music.

Locking involves a series of quick movements, punctuated with 'locking' into a position and holding onto it for a few seconds while transitioning. This move is reminiscent of funk and soul music and used for dramatic flair. The lower body is relatively relaxed while the arms and hand positions are very crisp and exact, coordinated with the beat.

The most stereotypical hip hop form must be 'breaking,' also known as b-boying. 

This movement evolved from a style of dance known as Uprock and can be broken down into a series of actions performed at different levels: Toprock, Downrock, power moves, and freeze moves. The dancers who perform this movement are called b-boys.

Boogaloo is a loose dance movement centered around the lower body: rolling the hips, knees, and legs. This movement portrays fluidity, as it gives the illusion that the dancer has no bones in their body. It is the style most closely related to popping.

At its base, hip hop has six foundational elements, right from the time it started. These consist of DJing, MCing, beatboxing, breakdancing, graffiti, and fashion.

All of these elements feature routinely in the hip hop dancing scene in one way or the other. Though new trends may come and go, these elements stay at the core of hip hop.

Additionally, DJing started in the 1970s, famous for its trademark breaks and isolated percussion in the beats.

This form of beat-making has melded with modern MCing to create new-age rap heroes like Kanye West — a Chicago based trailblazer in the hip hop world.

MCing, known more famously as rapping, derives from ancient African oral traditions. Rapping is different from other forms of singing through its rhythm, fast-paced wordplay, and urban lyrics.

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A young hip hop rapper wearing a black shirt singing into a microphone inside a recording studio.
Rapping forms an integral part of the hip hop subculture. It originates back to the 1970s and is routinely featured in hip hop music videos. Take a hip hop dance class today and get a chance to learn about the hip hop subculture. (Source: Pixabay)

Beatboxing, also a part of MCing, involves using your mouth to make different sounds, including percussive and vocal, to give beats alongside rap lyrics. In essence, it substitutes drums and cymbals with vocal sounds.

Breakdancing was a brainchild of dance groups like Shaka Zulu Kings and Rock Steady Group. This element combines acrobatics, gymnastics, martial arts, and little bits of other dances. Breakdancing has to be one of the more rigorous parts to master in the hip hop genre of dance.

To learn more about hip hop history, look for Superprof classes near you in Houston, LA, or anywhere else across the United States.

Prepping For Your Hip Hop Dance Classes

Have you considered why you want to join a hip hop class? Some might use it to channel their aggression; some might find it to be a creative outlet, while others may like it for just how upbeat it is.

But after you've signed up for your class, you might show that you belong to the broader subculture. Fashion is a large part of the hip-hop subculture, and it has changed a lot since the early days.

Hip hop attire used to be generally loose-fitting, comprising baggy pants, basketball jerseys, sneakers, and flashy accessories. Dancers would prefer to wear this clothing for ease of dancing, and more importantly, to show they belong to the hip hop scene and understand this genre's heritage.

Although the look has evolved to envelope newer fashion styles inspired by the times, it has recently made a comeback — albeit in a more contemporary form.

Though convention dictates a specific look, hip hop is all about creating your persona. Many famous artists have come up with unique fashion styles against the grain of hip hop fashion.

Hip hop dancing requires you to be flexible and quick on your toes. We would suggest wearing comfortable, sporty shoes for your beginner dance classes, such as sneakers or skate shoes. Like ballet, hip hop involves a lot of footwork, and your shoes must be comfortable enough to dance in.

While it may be tempting to wear form-fitting clothes, such as spandex leggings, we'd advise against them as they can be a bit of a faux pas in the hip hop scene.

Wear loose-fitting baggy clothes to your hip hop dance lessons for more effortless movement. Watch what professional hip hop dancers are wearing for inspiration!

And if you're anywhere near LA, San Francisco, or elsewhere in the States, look for Superprof's hip hop dance instructors to teach you how to dance, and maybe provide some outfit inspiration as well!

Hip Hop Dance Classes In Los Angeles

It's safe to say hip hop has become the most popular dance form in the United States, being ever so pervasive in pop culture and media.

If you're looking to learn hip hop, Los Angeles has a pretty active dancing scene. But some students shy away from the flashing lights of dance studios. If you're someone who prefers one-on-one dance lessons or maybe have a strict schedule, Superprof has got just the right fit for you!

By signing up with Superprof, you can choose from a vast range of hip hop dance instructors in the greater Los Angeles area and learn to lock, pop and breakdance the way you want to!

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