Hip-hop dance refers to social or choreographed dance styles primarily danced to hip-hop music or that have evolved as part of hip-hop culture. This includes a wide range of styles notably breaking, locking, and popping which were developed in the 1970s by Black and Latino Americans.
Internationally, hip-hop dance has had a particularly strong influence.
The dance industry has responded to hip-hop dance by creating a more commercial version of it. The “studio hip-hop”, sometimes called new style or L.A. style is the kind of hip-hop dancing seen in most rap and R&B music videos and concerts.
From a technical aspect, hip-hop dance is characterized as hard hitting involving flexibility and isolations—moving a certain body part independently from others. The feet are grounded, the chest is down, and the body is kept loose so that a dancer can easily alternate between hitting the beat or riding through the beat. This is in contrast to ballet where the chest is upright and the body is stiff. In addition, L.A. style hip-hop is very rhythmic and a lot of emphasis is placed on musicality and how sensitive your movements are to the music.
Lyrical hip-hop is a fluid more interpretive version of L.A. style hip-hop most often danced to downtempo rap music or R&B music. Lyrical hip-hop first gained mainstream exposure, and a name, on season 4 of the reality dance competition So You Think You Can Dance.
According to Dance Spirit magazine what differentiates lyrical hip-hop from standard L.A. style hip-hop is that dancers interpret the beat differently.
What makes lyrical hip hop unique is that your dance movements have to tell a story to the lyrics of a song. Expect isolations (especially of the chest), slow, fluid movements (like gliding and body waves) and contemporary-inspired turns (but not pirouettes). There’s popping, but not the hard-hitting kind. Dancers are meant to look like they’re unwinding, unraveling and floating.
Joanne Grace School Of Dance trains the students in both these styles.
Many of the hip-hop movements isolate the abs, so this area really gets a good muscle-sculpting workout. There is a great deal of hip rolling, waist and pelvic rolling and popping in hip hop and all of these work the abs. The hip-hop “popping” is a technique that is a quick punch on the emphasis of a beat, many times danced in a combination with arm movements and the abdominal area being “popped” in the same count sequence. Doing these popping movements in repetition is an excellent abdominal workout.
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