Dancing Hip Hop

Hip Hop Dancing 🕺✌️🎵

Hip Hop is not only a music style and cultural movement, but also a worldwide known way of dancing. However, Hip Hop dancing is understood to be a combination of several dance styles, rather than a precisely defined dance of its own. Another difference to many other dances is that Hip Hop is in many cases not only spontaneous and led by one person, but planned and choreographed

For this purpose, larger groups often get together, and Hip Hop is also often danced by single people alone or against each other in competitions.

Table of Contents

History of Hip Hop dancing

Hip Hop originated in the 70s in the USA and there mainly on the streets of big cities, such as New York and Los Angeles. There, Afro- and Latin-American dancers and musicians got together and transformed already existing music into their own style. Because hip hop originated primarily on the street, the dance is also often called street dance. When Hip Hop was shown on various television programs, the enthusiasm in America grew and more and more dancers formed larger Hip Hop groups.

Worldwide Spread

Due to its ever-increasing presence in the media, Hip Hop dancing eventually became known worldwide. Groups outside of America began to form and international competitions were held all over the world. The music also played a decisive role in this, as Hip Hop and especially rap became more and more famous and popular.

In the beginning, hip hop was not very popular with the upper class because of its street roots, but this changed in the mid-80s. Nowadays Hip Hop is danced and listened to all over the world and in every social class.


Like Hip Hop as a dance, Hip Hop as a music genre is very versatile and has its origins in the African-American slums. Precursors of the music were jazz, funk and soul, as well as reggae, from which mainly the chanting was adopted. The mix of the various musical styles and beats was made by DJs, who along with hip hop came into being in the first place. The music spilled over very quickly from America to the whole world, with well-known rappers in particular playing a decisive role. In purely musical terms, it can be said about hip hop that beats in different speeds meet rap, i.e. chanting. This creates a very rhythmic and fast music, to which it is excellent to dance.

Dance styles

As mentioned at the beginning of the text, hip hop is not really a dance of its own. Rather, it refers to a genre under which various dance styles can be summarized, which are danced primarily to hip hop music.


Breakdance is also called breaking and is danced by so-called B-boys or B-girls. It is a very athletic and acrobatic way of moving one’s body, since it is not only danced standing up, but also on the hands or even on the head. In fact, breakdancing contains many elements of freestyle from floor gymnastics and accordingly requires a lot of training. 

Classically, breakdancing consists of four different styles: Top Rocking, Footwork, Freezes & Power Moves. In Top Rocking, the standing dance, the breaker performs fast steps while standing and combines them with jumps in the air or on the floor. Once on the floor, footwork starts, i.e. dancing on the floor. 

The dancer supports himself or herself with hands or arms on the floor, stretches the legs away from the body and then rotates them around the body or even stretches them into the air. This creates the craziest figures, which are then in turn held and called freezes. If a B-Boy or B-Girl additionally does a headstand and rotates around his own body axis, this element is called a Power Move.


While breakdance moves are not very clearly defined, the elements of locking are relatively clearly prescribed. This style is danced standing up and consists mainly of gestures and movements with the arms. Very typical for Locking are fast, choppy but nevertheless fluid movements with the arms and the upper body, which are accompanied by fast steps, jumps or squats. The inventor of this dance style was Don Campbell, which is why the dance was also called Campbelllocking in the beginning.


Popping goes in a similar direction as locking. It is also danced standing up and with hands, arms, legs and upper body. However, the movements resemble pantomime performances because they are performed in a very mechanical and choppy way. On the one hand, the muscles in the body are first tensed and then relaxed, and the body is seemingly moved with the hands. 

This makes it seem as if the dancers are reacting to certain impulses like a robot. Popping itself has its own styles, such as roboting or strobing.


In jerking, one dances mainly on the spot and performs the movements mainly with the legs. The hands and the upper body play only a subordinate role. The feet are twisted, jumping in the air or squatting down and other demanding step combinations are performed. Jerking is a comparatively very new way of dancing, as it only came into being around 2008. However, it also originated in America and is mainly danced to rap music.


Krumping is another dance style that belongs to the hip hop genre. It incorporates elements from breakdancing in a similar way. Nevertheless, it is a completely different way of dancing and has its own components. The main components are steps, jumps or stomping with the legs, breakdance-like dancing on the floor, as well as jerky movements with the arms and the upper body.

Other styles

Hip Hop is gaining more and more popularity and so more and more dance styles are created that can be assigned to the genre. A complete list is almost impossible, because many styles have subcategories and there are now so many hip hop dances. However, the so-called Gangsta Walking, the Turfing, as well as the New Style and the Jazz Funk are to be mentioned in any case.

Description of Hip Hop dancing

Hip Hop tanzen

Hip Hop dancing is divided into different dance styles, which in turn all have their own steps and figures. Even though all these styles are different, it can be said about all of them that they are very rhythmic and modern. They express a lot and the dancers can give free rein to their feelings. At the same time, hip hop is sometimes very individual and improvised and sometimes planned out and choreographed.

Basic Steps

Since every dance style in Hip Hop has its own basic steps, it is not possible to define a universally valid step sequence for Hip Hop dance. Basic elements are dancing standing with movements of the arms, jumping, squatting and hopping, as well as dancing on the floor.

The positions of the arms are also simply numbered. In the first position the arms are tucked into the hips and in the second position they are extended straight out. For the third position, one arm is held up in the air in a semicircle with the other arm still extended outwards. The arm stretched upwards in a semi-circle remains in the fourth position, with the other arm now again braced at the hip. In the last position both arms are now stretched upwards in a semicircle. .

Further Steps

No dance style in hip hop is limited to a few elements, so each style has a variety of extra elements. Thus, many styles can be easily learned in their basic elements at the beginning. However, if you want to incorporate additional steps and dance like the professionals, this requires a lot of practice and stamina.


Few dances are as acrobatic as the dance styles in hip hop. Thus, in addition to many other steps, there are also a lot of figures that can be acquired. However, these are often very demanding and should be explained and taught by a professional.

Worth mentioning about Hip Hop dancing

Hip Hop is not just a dance or a music style. Hip Hop is a culture of its own and is lived out by many people in various ways. A very special part of it is fashion, which has now undoubtedly made a name for itself as its own fashion style. It is also called street fashion and had its origins, like the dance itself, in the 70s in America. Typical are very sporty tops, low and wide pants, as well as sneakers and caps.

What is typical for hip hop dance?

Typical for Hip Hop is above all the origin from the Afro-American poor quarters. Thereby Hip Hop includes all dance styles that originated there, for example Breakdance, Popping and Locking.

How is hip hop danced?

Hip Hop is danced very fast, rhythmically and acrobatically. The entire body is used, i.e. arms, legs and upper body. The different dance styles emphasize different elements.

Can anyone learn hip hop?

Anyone can learn to dance hip hop, as long as he or she enjoys it and has the desire to train a lot. However, the advanced elements are sometimes very demanding, but not impossible to learn.

Is hip hop a dance style?

Hip Hop is not a dance style of its own, but rather the summary of several dance styles that emerged in the 70s in America. These are classified as hip hop because they are danced to the music and belong to the culture.

What belongs to hip hop?

Hip Hop dance belongs to dance styles like breakdance, popping, locking, jerking or krumping. Overall, Hip Hop also includes the culture itself, the music, the fashion and the art.

Is street dance and hip hop the same thing?

Hip Hop and Streetdance are more or less the same thing, since both terms summarize the dance styles that emerged on the streets of African-American poor neighborhoods in the 70s.

What does the name hip hop mean?

The name Hip Hop comes from the American song Rapper’s Delight by The Sugarhill Gang. There, the word hip hop is sung at the beginning and probably means the rhythmic movement of the hips to a beat.

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