Street Dance

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Street dance moves away from studio settings and embraces the unconventional. Its forms include break dancing, popping and Hip-Hop new style. The origin of street dance is rooted in social dance and culture. This dance form, which started as a self-expression of everyday life, had for long been overlooked by the dance industry dominated by an elitist attitude towards the art of dance. As a result many contributions went unnoticed, and due respect was not given to the pioneers, often because of the social politics of those times.


[edit] Written Off As American Craze

Written off during the 1970s and 80s as another American craze, street dance and Hip Hop dance found acceptance with the advent of MTV. The bulk of the development and growth of the street dance phenomenon took place primarily through music videos nurtured by the music industry. A few Hip Hop dance movies such as Breakdance and Beat Street in the 1980’s helped popularize it to an extent. See Break Machine Street Dance

Celebrated dancers of Hubbard Street Dance, Chicago
Celebrated dancers of Hubbard Street Dance, Chicago

Hip Hop dance is a form of street dance performed to hip hop music, or music which evolved as a part of the hip hop culture. Today, Hip Hop and Street Dance are publicly recognized dance forms and have become necessary components of any successful pop star’s performing vocabulary. See video series How to Dance to Hip Hop and Hip-Hop New Style 2007

Once it received mass acceptance street dance by association became linked with negative Hip Hop imagery, such as the controversial glorification of gang culture; the proliferation of sexual images etc. In spite of these a large group continued to accept street dance as a serious art form and a strong medium of self-expression.

[edit] New Forms, New Dance Styles Began Appearing

Breakdance is the first and original dance associated with Hip Hop which appeared in New York City during the early 1960s and truly became an element of Hip Hop as a culture. As Hip Hop dance went on gaining in popularity, new forms, new dance styles began appearing. Where breakdance was more focused on ground moves, the new forms involved dancing in an upright manner.

The new Hip Hop dances were styled as funk dancing, popping and locking, jigging, freaking, krump, and hyphy and each style contains certain moves that distinguish it from other forms. Many of these forms are a common sight in TV channels like MTV and BET.

[edit] Breakdancing

With a dance called the "Good Foot" superstar James Brown began breakdancing, a form of street dancing which began in 1969. Around the same time "dance battle" became popular in the ghetto. Dance battle often replaced gangster warfare as a method to end disputes, though fights would often break out when opposing teams won. This associated an element of danger with breakdance. The movements of breakdancing can be associated with breaks in music. Its introduction onto the New York street scene brought about its real popularity.

Several breakdance moves are inspired from Kung-fu. The best breakdancer, in the early 1980's, was often the best fighter or gang member on the street.

Modern breakdancing
Many popular moves like the headspin or the windmill were absent from breakdancing of that time. Though the dancers simply used their feet, many are of the opinion that the "old style breaking" was more complicated than today’s. Modern breakdancing competitions involve a lot of gymnastics, but none of the improvised floor work of earlier days.

With the rising popularity of breakdancing, Afrika Bambaataa, a legendary figure in the hip hop world, emerged and brought breakdancing into the general public's consciousness. Bambaataa's Zulu Kings breakdancing crew became a force to reckon with and won many battles.

Today a number of choreographed dance routines, which are an integral part of modern pop record releases, are influenced by breakdancing. Breakdancing has evolved into the dancing that is seen today in music videos and rap.

Another street dance style based dance is popping which requires quick contracting and relaxing of muscles to cause a jerk in the dancer's body to the rhythm of a song.

[edit] Street Dance Competitions

An international dance organization called I DO holds many street dance competitions every year. The European Street dance Championships held in Finland in 2006 and Austria in 2007. The World Championships which are held in Bremen, Germany each year.

In the southern hemisphere Hoopdreamz Enterprises holds many dance competitions Groove, the Australian state level Urban Dance Championships, is held in most state-capital cities since 2001. Dance crews were brought in from New Zealand in the championship held in 2004.
Juste Debout ,an annual international street dance competition held in Paris, which includes the upright hip hop and street dance styles.

[edit] References

  • Roots of the Street Dance
  • Does Street Dance need a formal teaching curriculum?
  • History of break dancing
  • What is Dance?

[edit] See Also


Breakdance looks so difficult to perform, I've never understood whether performers learn to dance this way in proper classes -- or they just learn on the street as they go along..... Read more inside