- Joseph G. Schloss
Group of related Afro-diasporic dance forms, characterized by a competitive orientation and a close relationship with hip-hop music and culture. Hip-hop dance generally falls into two categories: dance forms that have been continuously maintained as cultural traditions since hip hop’s birth in the 1970s, and relatively short-lived social or “party” dances. As befits a relatively young art form, these categories—and the dances themselves—are both still very much in flux. (See also Hip hop.)
The four traditional dances of hip-hop are rocking, b-boying/b-girling, locking and popping, all of which trace their origins to the late 1960s or early 1970s. Each of these dances has been passed down continuously since that time through an informal apprenticeship system. These dance forms hold several qualities in common, including an explicitly competitive orientation, adherence to a set of abstract aesthetic principles, an emphasis on improvisation, and a relatively high level of difficulty that requires a substantial commitment on the part of practitioners. East coast and West coast traditional dances originated separately and only later came together under the hip-hop rubric. Significantly, each of the four major traditional dance styles continues to be associated with a specific repertoire of recorded music that was popular at the time the dance first emerged. None of the styles are solely associated with hip-hop music ...