The Basics of Hip Hop Dance

Are you thinking of taking up hip hop-style dance class in your local San Diego fitness center? You may be intimidated by the complexity of this dance form and think that you are too old to take up breakdancing. There’s no need to get discouraged! Hip hop is not as strict as most other dance forms – after all, it literally originated in the street and was developed by dancers without professional dance training. That’s why hip hop may seem more of a workout than dance.

Hip hop dance and its many variations have a whole background story. The dance is part of a rich subculture and one doesn’t go without the other.

Check out how hip hop dance came to be, how it developed, and how you can take up this dance in your local San Diego fitness gym or bikram yoga near Poway Rancho Bernardo.

How it all started

It is widely accepted that hip hop originated in the late 60s and early 70s in New York, more specifically in the South Bronx among African American and Latino ghettos. Dancers-to-be took it to the streets and started dancing to the beat intuitively. None of them had any dance training. In fact, the movements looked like a combination of gymnastics and kung-fu rather than ‘’traditional’’ dance moves we can see in ballet.

The founder

DJ Kool Herc is widely considered as the founder of hip hop. After he moved from Jamaica to New York, he started DJ-ing and creating unique rhythms that laid the foundation for hip hop dance. He extended the dance sections in songs so there would a longer interlude for dancers to show off their moves. This was the start of the hip hop dance culture that spread from the East Coast to the West Coast.

Other components of hip hop culture

Apart from dancing, the growing subculture included elements such as rapping, graffiti and dancing competitions.

Breakdance battles

A breakdance battle is a popular form of hip hop dance competition. At the beginning, the competition would take place in the street, where two dancers or groups of dancers would ‘’battle each’’ other – they would take turns showing off their moves until the winner is chosen, usually by the cheering crowd.

In time, the street scene shifted to more formal dance venues, but the competitive nature of hip hop remained. The choreographies usually include some form of a breakdance battle.

Basic elements and popular dance steps

Hip hop dancing combines four basic elements: strength, momentum, balance and creativity. Ove the years, several steps have become the most popular, including: pops, chest pops, body rolls, break-dancing, krumping, gliding, tutting, arm wave, windmills, baby freeze and six-step.

Get into the groove in the best hip hop fitness class in San Diego

If you want to learn the basic steps in a fun and engaging way while working on your cardio, try out our Cardio Hip Hop at Fit Downtown San DiegoFit Solana BeachFit Carmel mountain and barre in Solana Beach. Our seasoned instructors will break the moves and techniques down to you so you can master them quickly, while engaging in a full-body workout. Pay us a visit today and get your free Fit Pass!


Fontayne Sisson

Fontayne Sisson