The Hip Hop Urban Culture

Hip hop music is part of hip hop culture predominately among African Americans and Latinos (the other two elements are graffiti art and breakdancing). The reasons for the rise in hip hop music are found in the changing urban culture in the United States in the 1970’s. Beginning in the 1980’s, hip hop culture began its spread across the world. By taking the time to explain a fertile culture expression, students of hip hop music place at our disposal some of the most intriguing investigations of a powerful art form.

More than a musical style, hip-hop is a history of American culture, and a testimony by its artists of their life experiences. In 1985, when Run-DMC ordained themselves the “Kings of Rock,” in their lyrics of their hit song of the same name, they probably never imagined that one day they would be recognized as such. As the pioneers of hip-hop music, they convinced the world to dance to poetry with a beatbox. They invited anyone who would listen to “Walk This Way” in “My Adidas,” all the way to the top of VH1’s list of the “50 Greatest Hip-Hop Artists.” And in the words of the great Run-DMC themselves, “It’s like that! And that’s the way it is! Huh!”

VH1’s “50 Greatest Hip-Hop Artists” serves as a platform for hip-hop music’s superstars of the past, present and future to acknowledge their hip-hop peers. Proof that hip-hop music has woven itself into the fabric of American music and culture.

Classic Hip Hop Dance Moves

As hip hop dancing takes the country by storm, some classic moves have been created. Let’s take a look at some of the more famous hip hop moves over time:

“The Dougie” – This dance is from the song “Teach Me How to Dougie” by Cali Swag District. While there are many variations of how to do “The Dougie”, here are some of the basic steps to the dance: Sway to one side and pause for a beat while putting your weight on the foot on the side you’re leaning towards. As you continue to sway, your arms should be by your side bringing them up towards you in a fist in a counter-clockwise circular motion, one at a time, until your arm is bent with your elbow facing down and your fist up by your head. Next, perfect the wheelchair move. To complete this move, with both arms, make forward circles to your sides while crouching lower with each rotation. Then finally, add the signature style of “The Dougie”, bring your hand over the top of your head and slide if off the back, like you’re slicking your hair down. Do this with the side-to-side move. Shift your shoulders side to side and then do it with the other hand. And, finally, don’t forget to be loose with your knees; otherwise you’re going to look very stiff.

“Stanky Legg” – This dance step is probably the easiest of all hip hop dance moves. The movement involves the rotating the dancers’ leg in a circular motion and then alternating to the opposite leg. It also utilizes moves from “The Dougie”.

How Hip Hop Dance is Best Learned

I begun to lean Hip Hop just about 3 years ago, and got hooked immediately. I wanted to know so bad How Hip Hop Dance is being done so I started at a dance school and practiced under different teachers five times a week. In half a year I evolve some good skills, the problem was that because of the enormously amount of training I had no time to use my new learned moves and develop my own style. I became a copycat.

I will warn you about this, if you want to learn how hip hop dance is being done don’t just take class after class all the time. My tips is to practice at least as much on your own or at a club as you do in a dance studio following a teacher.

This may seem hard in the start but I permit you, it will give some mad results. Try to challenge yourself by turning on your favorite Hip hop song and freestyle until the end. Play with the dynamics and accent different sounds in the beat. Practicing hip hop this way will make you to a much better dancer in a shorter time.

Learn the Fundamentals of Hip Hop Dance

Hip Hop is an expressive form of dance that anyone can begin to learn with a little bit of practice. Four basic moves that every beginner Hip Hop dancer should know how to do are the Back Slide (many people call this the Moon Walk), Body Rolls, Ball Change and various Isolations.

The back slide is performed by bringing the heel up on the back foot with a forced arch and then sliding the front foot staying flat on the ground back to meet the foot that is arched. When they meet the foot being dragged back goes into a high forced arch and the other foot now goes flat, you then repeat the move alternating with each sliding foot. It is important to keep the foot that is sliding back completely on the ground as if you are trying to wipe something off the bottom of your shoe. Many variations are used using this dance step.

Body rolls are performed by dipping your chest towards the ground then arching your back and collapsing your chest and stomach as if you were just punched in that area. Body rolls can be performed using many different levels (ie: dipping low to the ground or staying upright).

Hip Hop Classes

Hip hop classes for dance are growing in popularity, thanks in large part to music videos. Here’s some interesting tips for anyone looking to take a hip hop dance class. First, decide whether you want to purchase dance videos or take a class at a dance studio. There are definite advantages to both: the you can watch the videos anytime, though the studio classes provide a more involved atmosphere (plus a trained instructor who can answer any questions you may have).

Hip hop classes can be found at nearly at local college for cheap. In addition, you can sign up for dance lessons at gyms (which provides a great cardio workout). Whichever format you choose- video, studio or gym- most classes follow a similar pattern. Generally, it starts with a 15 minute warm up , then begins to incorporate a new hip hop dance move. In my experience, most classes introduce 3-5 new moves and incorporate them into a routine which can be repeated. Gyms tend to focus on keeping your heart rate up, whereas studios will actually slow things down to focus on technique. No matter how you approach, these classes are a workout!

Keep in mind not all dance hip hop classes are created equally. You should try out a few different schools to see which one suits you best. For example, one class may focus on breakdancing while another focuses on locking- these can be very different styles. If you’re going out dancing causually at a club, locking may be a style to look into; if you hang out at rap battles, you may want to step into breakdancing. The three main styles of dance include popping (jerky body movements), locking (fluid hip movements with precise arm movements) and breaking (also known as breakdancing, it involves getting on the floor for spins and turns).