As a hip hop newbee I found the term ‘Urban’ pretty ambiguous and rather confusing so I’ve been doing some research ahead of Breakin’ Convention so I can fully submerge myself in the weekend’s events. As it turns out, the word urban is pretty vague as it describes any dance form that is influenced by the rhythms and techniques of hip hop and funk music. So to get you all clued up (and geared up) I have created a beginners guide to urban dance, I’ve even thrown in a few video examples so you can practice your freestyle moves!
B-Boying / B-Girling (Breaking)
B-boying originated in 70’s New York at a party organized by DJ Kool Herc – the first hip-hop DJ and the guy who started to call dancers b-boys and b-girls. Initially being a breaker simply meant dancing to the break of the music aka the long bit of a song with no singing. African American and Latino Youths developed this during the late 70’s to different body levels of performance.
The Top-Rock – This is gentle footwork and introduction to your personal style, there is a technique but just get your groove on
Freeze – Halt your body in a complicated position, it tends to be upside down -maybe start with a handstand?
Here’s a little inspo vid for all you aspiring breakers:
Locking originated in California in the early 70s and was traditionally danced to funk music. The dance style combines short, sharp movements with ‘locks’ or pauses and is very performance orientated – often its pretty comical!
Giving or asking for a high five- pretty much what it says on the tin, high five your mate
Muscle Man/Uplock- Throw up both your arms so it looks like you’re flexing your guns.
House music was first played at the Warehouse nightclub in Chicago. House music spread to NYC where house dance was born. House dancing is focused mainly with footwork and a pulsating upper body.
The Jack: Ripple your torso in an undulating movement
The Farmer: This was too hard to explain so here’s a video –
Popping is maybe the most frustrating style to master as it’s based on rapid contraction and release of the muscles so it appears you are ‘popping’ to the beat of the music. Other dance styles that fall under Popping are Tutting, ticking strobing and Dime-stopping.
How to pop: here is a short vid on how to do an arm pop, the technique can then be applied to other body parts –
Vogue or vogueing is a highly stylized modern house dance that evolved in the gay night clubs in New York City in the late 1970s and was practiced in the Harlem Ballroom scene. Vogueing is inspired by model-like poses and Egyptian hieroglyphs.
The Death Drop- *** WARNING – DO NOT TRY THIS (It really hurts if you do it wrong)****
The death drop involves a dancer falling onto their back with arms out-stretched, one leg bent whilst maintaining a backbend. Yes it is as complicated as it sounds.
The above doesn’t even cover half the urban styles of dance out there, I haven’t even mentioned Krumping & Clowning, The Melbourne Shuffle, Electro Dance and Wacking. Urban styles are constantly evolving which is what makes hip-hop such a fascinating dance form to watch and perform!
Tickets and more info for Breakin Convention’: po.st/sOLZM1
By Youth Dance Ambassador Amber Calland.