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Hip hop dance is a range of street dance styles primarily performed to hip hop music or that have evolved as part of hip hop culture. It is influenced by a wide range of styles that were created in the 1970s and made popular by dance crews in the United States. The television show Soul Train and the 1980s films Breakin', Beat Street, and Wild Style showcased these crews and dance styles in their early stages; therefore, giving hip-hop dance mainstream exposure.
Films, television shows, and the Internet have contributed to introducing hip-hop dance outside the United States. Since being exposed, educational opportunities and corporate dance competitions such as World of Dance and Hip Hop International have helped maintain its presence worldwide. Hip-hop dance can be a form of entertainment or a hobby. It can also be a way to stay active in competitive dance and a way to make a living by dancing professionally.
It is historically inaccurate to say that the funk styles were always considered hip-hop. In an interview with Racked, Moncell Durden, assistant dance professor at the University of Southern California, is quoted as saying \"Hip-hop dance involves two dances: breaking and social dances. That's it. Nothing else is hip-hop.\" The funk styles were adopted into hip-hop in large part due to the media. The media identified these styles as \"breakdance\" which caused confusion about their origin. They were created on the west coast independent from breaking and were originally danced to funk music, rather than hip-hop music.
As breaking, locking, and popping gained popularity in the 1980s, hip-hop social dancing (party dancing) started to develop. Novelty and fad dances such as the Roger Rabbit, the Cabbage Patch, and the Worm appeared in the 1980s followed by the Humpty dance and the Running Man in the 1990s.[note 1] The music of the day was the driving force in the development of these dances. For example, the 1980s rap group Gucci Crew II had a song called \"The Cabbage Patch\" that the dance of the same name was based on. 2000s era social dances include the Cha Cha Slide, the Cat Daddy, and the Dougie. The previously mentioned dances are a sample of the many that have appeared since hip-hop developed into a distinct dance style. Like hip-hop music, hip-hop social dancing continues to change as new songs are released and new dances are created to accompany them.
Breaking or b-boying, commonly known by its exonym as breakdancing, was created in the South Bronx, New York City during the early 1970s. It is the first hip-hop dance style. At the time of its creation, it was the only hip-hop dance style because Afrika Bambaataa classified it as one of the five pillars of hip-hop culture along with MCing (rapping), DJing (turntablism), graffiti writing (bombing), and knowledge. Though African Americans created breaking, Puerto Ricans maintained its growth and development when it was considered a fad in the late 1970s. In a 2001 interview Richard \"Crazy Legs\" Colón, the president of Rock Steady Crew, commented on how Puerto Ricans contributed to breaking: \"I think the difference is when the brothas first started doing [it] and it was at its infancy they weren't doing acrobatic moves. That didn't come into play until more Puerto Ricans got involved in the mid 70s. We then took the dance, evolved it and kept it alive. In '79 I was getting dissed. I would go into a dance and I would get dissed by a lot of brothas who would ask 'Why y'all still doing that dance That's played out'. By 79, there were very few African American brothas that was doing this... We always maintained the flava. It was like a changing of the guard and all we did was add more flava to something that already existed.\" Breaking includes four foundational dances: toprock, footwork-oriented steps performed while standing up; downrock, footwork performed with both hands and feet on the floor; freezes, stylish poses done on your hands; and power moves, complex and impressive acrobatic moves. Transitions from toprock to downrock are called \"drops.\"
Locking looks similar to popping, and the two are frequently confused by the casual observer. In locking, dancers hold their positions longer. The lock is the primary move used in locking. It is \"similar to a freeze or a sudden pause.\" A locker's dancing is characterized by frequently locking in place and after a brief freeze moving again. According to Dance Spirit magazine, a dancer cannot perform both locking and popping simultaneously; thus, it is incorrect to call locking \"pop-locking\". While both styles are from Los Angeles, locking and popping are two distinct funk styles with their own histories, their own set of dance moves, their own pioneers, and their own competition categories. Locking is more playful and character-driven, whereas popping is more illusory. In popping, dancers push the boundaries of what they can do with their bodies. Locking has specific dance moves that distinguish it from popping and other funk styles. In the 2006 book Total Chaos, hip-hop historian Jorge \"Popmaster Fabel\" Pabon lists some of these moves which include \"the lock, points, skeeter [rabbits], scooby doos, stop 'n go, which-away, and the fancies.\" In addition, Lockers commonly use a distinctive dress style characterized by colorful clothing with stripes and suspenders.
Popping was derived from the earlier boogaloo street dance movement taking place in Oakland, California during the late 1960s. It was created in Fresno, California in the 1970s and popularized by Samuel \"Boogaloo Sam\" Solomon and his crew the Electric Boogaloos. It is based on the technique of quickly contracting and relaxing muscles to cause a jerk in a dancer's body, referred to as a pop or a hit. When performed correctly, each hit is synchronized to the rhythm and beats of the music. Popping is also used as an umbrella term to refer to a wide range of closely related illusionary dance styles such as strobing, liquid, animation, twisto-flex, and waving. Dancers often integrate these styles with standard popping to create a more varied performance.[note 2] In all of these subgenres it appears to the spectator that the body is popping. The difference between each subgenre is how exaggerated the popping is. In liquid, the body movements look like water. The popping is so smooth that the movements do not look like popping at all; they look fluid. The opposite of this is strobing (also called ticking) in which the movements are staccato and jerky.
While popping as an umbrella term is widely used by hip-hop dancers and in competitive hip-hop dancing, Timothy \"Popin' Pete\" Solomon of the Electric Boogaloos disagrees with the use of the word \"popping\" in this way. Many of these related styles (animation, liquid, tutting, etc.) can not be traced to one person or group. Solomon states \"There are people who wave and there are people who tut. They're not popping. I say this to give the people who created other styles their just dues and their props.\"
Turfing, an acronym for Taking Up Room on the Floor, was created in 2002 by Jeriel Bey in Oakland, California. Turfing is a fusion of miming and gliding that places heavy emphasis on storytelling (through movement) and illusion. Other than San Francisco Bay Area pride, turfing avoided becoming a fad due to local turf dance competitions and local youth programs that promote turfing as a form of physical activity.
Although jookin', turfing, and jerkin' generated regional support and media attention, none have reached the same zenith as krumping. Ceasare \"Tight Eyez\" Willis and Jo'Artis \"Big Mijo\" Ratti created krumping in the early 2000s in South Central, Los Angeles. It was only practiced in Los Angeles until it gained mainstream exposure after being featured in several music videos and showcased in the krumping documentary Rize. Rize was screened at several film festivals before it was commercially released in the summer of 2005.[note 4] Clowning, the less aggressive predecessor to krumping, was created in 1992 by Thomas \"Tommy the Clown\" Johnson.[note 5] Johnson and his dancers would paint their faces and perform clowning for children at birthday parties or for the general public at other functions as a form of entertainment. In contrast, krumping focuses on highly energetic battles and movements which Johnson describes as intense, fast-paced, and sharp. Of the dance, journalist Taisha Paggett from Dance magazine stated \"If movement were words, [krumping] would be a poetry slam.\" Compared to breaking and the funk styles, jookin', turfing, jerkin', and krumping are relatively new. The music driving the dances and the cultural similarities between these street dance styles, the funk styles, and breaking have brought them together under the same subculture of hip-hop.
The dance industry responded to hip-hop dance by creating a commercial version of it This urban choreography or studio hip-hop, sometimes called \"new style\", is the kind of hip-hop dance seen in rap, R&B, and pop music videos and concerts. From the point of view of someone deeply immersed in hip-hop culture, anything that looks like hip-hop dance that did not come from the streets and is not improvisational in nature is not a true hip-hop dance form. In an interview with Dance magazine, choreographer and hip-hop dance teacher Emilio \"Buddha Stretch\" Austin, Jr. described his point-of-view:
There are a lot of jazz dancers out there doing pseudo hip hop. A lot of teachers don't know the history, they're just teaching the steps. They're learning from videos, but they don't know the culture. If all you see is Britney Spears, you think that's hip hop, but that's never been hip hop. It's completely watered down. And studios could [sic] care less, because hip hop is one