def SOL teaches the foundations, history and terminology in a wide variety of Urban/Street Dances. Original choreography taught in our classes may sample from one or many of the following dances/styles:
Inspired by old Ray Harryhausen movies, animation lends itself to the look of old stop-motion films. Using a combination of techniques such as dime stopping, warping, glitching, fast forwards, slow mo, waving and roboting, the style of animation allows a dancer to look unreal or ‘animated’. The style is further defined by the use of precise isolations, unique musicality and the ability to create a story line.
Watch it: U-Min
Originally known as bboying, it is a style of street dance that evolved as part of the Hip Hop movement in the South Bronx of New York City during the early 1970s. It is the oldest and best known of all Hip Hop dance styles and maintains popularity due to its fast, complicated footwork and gravity defying moves. Bboying consists of Toprock (footwork done standing), Downrock (footwork on ground), Freezes (random ‘pauses’ during footwork) and Power moves which include the acrobatic and often highly dangerous flips and spins. Mastery of all these components is essential to being a well rounded bboy/bgirl. A true bboy also has ‘finesse’ or flow when combining these moves.
Sources: BBoy.Org, Zulu Nation
Watch it: Korean Assassins-BOTY 2012; Crazy Legs Final Battles 2012
Clown dance or ‘clowining’ was created in the early 90s by a man named Thomas Johnson (Tommy the Clown). When clown dancing was originally performed it was common for the dancers to paint their faces. This (and the fact Tommy was a clown) helped spark the name for the dance. Tommy saw this dance as a way to keep kids off the street, and away from violence. After he performed the dance at parties many people became interested, so he started teaching the dance in small sessions. From here the underground dance movement shot across the rest of California. Clowning, fuses local elements like “G dance” or “Gangsta(er) boogie” and stripper dancing (not what you think!). Clowning also employs certain elements of Jamaican dancehall moves such as the “butterfly” or the “rodeo”, as well as elements from popping, locking and breakdancing.
Watch it: Tommy & the Hip Hop Clowns
The Clown Walk, also known as the C-Walk, shares many of the same moves of gang-related dance called the Crip Walk. Inspired by the Crip Walk, the Clown Walk was specifically designed as a dance and not a gang-related movement. At def SOL we do not teach/encourage the use of the Crip Walk to its negative affiliations. While the style of the Clown Walk is very fast and very flashy, it does not focus on precision or clean walking. This style allows people to move how they feel and incorporate it into their dance, much like Krumping. Some basic movements in the Clown Walk are the V, Shuffle, Heeltoe, X-hop, Wiggle Walk, and Gangsta Skip. Many “walkers”, as the dancers are referred to, like to slide, glide, moonwalk, and add variations to their walk.
Watch it: Cwalk Superheroes
In the 1980s films such as Breakin’, Beat Street, and Wild Style showcased some of the first bboys, poppers and lockers collectively giving mainstream exposure to ‘hip-hop’. The dance industry responded with a commercial, studio-based version of hip-hop—sometimes called new style. It is the kind of hip-hop dance seen in rap, R&B, and pop music videos and concerts. The commercialization of hip-hop dance continued into the 1990s and 2000s with the production of several other television shows and movies such as So You Think You Can Dance, America’s Best Dance Crew, the Step Up film series, and The LXC, a web series. There is a lot of debate regarding whether this style represents an evolution or destruction of hip-hop dance. Stage performance can suppress improvisation which defined hip-hop dance early in its development. Furthermore, meshing different dance styles together dissolves their structures and identities.
Watch it: Step Up Revolution
Crunk is the new era of club and ‘party dancing’. With the rising popularity of Southern rap music known for it’s heavy bass beats and frenetic chanting, crunk music and has taken over clubs across North America. Emerging from Atlanta, the crunk style has become more and more popular through the explosion of ‘fad’ or ‘party’ dances’ in music videos and the internet. Songs named after the popular dance moves such as ‘Poole Palace’, ‘Walk it Out’, ‘Snap Ya Fingers’ and ‘Lean wit it’ have poured into music streams with the lyrics often providing instruction on how to do the moves. These songs fall under a sub-genre of crunk know as snap music however crunk can simply mean just letting loose and dancing all crazy like no one is watching.
Sources: What is Crunk?
Watch it: Snap Dance
From the early days of Jamaican dancehall, to the club and house parties today, this island flavored mix of reggae & hip hop has always produced some of the greatest, funniest and rudest dance moves. These intricate dance moves can be quite raw and explicit, with many showing traces of traditional African movements. Due to the success of commercial dancehall artists like Elephant Man, Sean Paul & Mr Vegas, this style is quickly growing in popularity.
Watch it: M.O.B. Dancers
In a town called Fresno, California, there lived a shy boy named Sam. Inspired to create his own style of dance after seeing the original Lockers perform on TV, in 1975 Sam started putting together movements which later became known as boogaloo or boog style. The name came from the old James Brown song “Do the Boogaloo”. One day when Sam was dancing around the house, his uncle said “Boy, do that boogaloo!” A puzzled Sam asked his uncle, “What’s boogaloo?” “That means you’re gettin down”, his uncle replied. From that day on he was known as Boogaloo Sam. Boogaloo is a fluid style that uses every part of the body. It involves using angles and incorporating fluid movements to make everything flow together, often using rolls of the hips, knees, head. The dance is also known for covering a lot of space on stage using “walkouts” or other transitions to get from one spot to the next spot.
Sources: www.electricboogaloos.com; Wickipedia
First and foremost it is important to recognize that Hip Hop is not just a dance, it is a culture that emerged out of the New York City in the late 60s to early 70s based on the original 4 elements (BBoying, Emceeing, Graffiti and Deejaying). For those that came up with Hip Hop music in the NYC Clubs scene during the 80s and 90s, Hip Hop dance refers to all of the social or ‘party dances’ that were danced specifically to Hip Hop music. They moves can be classified as ‘Old School’, ‘Middle School’ and ‘New School’ based on when they were created.
Video: Hip Hop Dictionary
JAZZ FUNK (Street Jazz)
Jazz-funk (also called street-jazz) is a hybrid of hip-hop and jazz dance. It was created in the 1980s classically trained dancers who wanted to create choreography from the hip-hop dances that were performed on the street. This style was shown in its early form on a sketch comedy series called In Living Color. The resident dance troupe, The Fly Girls, opened and closed every show with a hip-hop and jazz performance choreographed by Rosie Perez. Although jazz-funk borrows from hip-hop dance, it is not considered a style of hip-hop because the foundational movements are jazz.
Watch it: Fly Girls
House dance itself is a lot older than house music, which arose in the early 1980s upon the end of the disco era during the times of such nightclubs as Chicago’s Warehouse, New York’s The Loft and Paradise Garage. House dance takes from many different dance elements such as the Lindy era, African, Latin, Brazilian, jazz, tap, and even modern. Contrary to popular belief, House dance is not a descendant of hip-hop. A lot of hip- hop dancers have crossed into house music in the early 80’s and 90’s to bring in a sequence of steps. House dance has been debated and broken down into 3 styles: Footwork, Jacking, and Lofting. House includes a variety of techniques and sub-styles that include skating, stomping, and shuffling. It also incorporates movements from many other sources such as Whacking, Voguing, Capoeira, Tap, and Latin dances such as Salsa. A wide variety of the movements came from jazz and bebop styles and even from African and Latin descent. Major contributors to the house dance scene in the US include Brian “Footwork” Green, Marjory Smarth, Caleaf Sellers, Ejoe Wilson, Terry Wright, Shannon Mabra, Tony McGregor, and many others before them that danced at places such as The Warehouse in Chicago, The Loft in NYC, Paradise Garage, and other places that are long forgotten.
Sources: The House Dance Project, Face of House Caleaf Sellers, Wickipedia
Watch it: History of 90s House Dance, Dance Fusion Showcase
Born from the streets of the Bay Area (San Francisco) the hyphy movment is known for its own distinctive dance, language music & culture. To “get hyphy” means to act or dance in an overstated, fast paced, and ridiculous manner. Those who consider themselves part of the Hyphy movement would describe this behavior as “getting stupid” or “going dumb.” In contrast to much of popular American culture where these phrases would be considered negative or even insulting, Hyphy is distinguished by taking this kind of behavior as a form of pride. Crunk is considered to be a close cousin to Hyphy. It shares the same aspect in that the movements are all about being loose, crazy and abstract. However, one obvious difference is that Crunk is slower in all aspects than Hyphy.
Sources: Wickipedia; MTV
Watch it: E-40 explains Hyphy
Originating in Northern California in 2008, this new dance style went popular overnight when video battles starting popping up over the internet. It is said to have evolved from the crazy footwork of Midwest ‘Juke dancing’ and has obvious influences from bboying, clown walking and hyphy. This dance style requires some basic footwork and extreme flexibility and endurance in the knees due to the frequent drops and rocking moves.
Watch it: ‘Teach Me How to Jerk’-Audio Push
Krump is a form of dance that originated in South Central Los Angeles in the early 90s. This dance is expressive and highly energetic. Its performers mostly use it as a way to express who they are and what they’re feeling. “Krump” or “Krumping” evolved out of “Clowning” aka “Clown-dancing” which is a manifestation from the black Dance movement. The inception of Krump occurred when a number of the original hip hop clowns and youth of that generation of clowning became older and moved on from the child-oriented nature of clowning. Individuals such as Tight Eyes, Big Mijo, Slayer, and Lil C are the originators of Krumping and are known as the Kings of Krump. Compared to clowning, Krump is a more sinister and aggressive dance form. Rapid combinations of ‘stomps’, ‘chest pops’ and ‘arm swings’ are used to create a wild chaos of movement. While it may appear violent, krump was created as a form of emotional & spiritual release, a positive alternative to gang life.
Watch it: Kanon Vs Tight Eyez
Locking, (originally Campbellocking) is a comical street dance using the frequent “locking” of limbs in time with the music. It relies on fast and distinct arm and hand movements combined with more relaxed hips and legs. The movements are generally large and exaggerated, and often very rhythmic and tightly synched with the music. Locking is quite performance oriented, often interacting with the audience by smiling or giving them a high five. The beginning of Locking can be traced to one man, Don Campbell. In the late 1960s he put together several fad dances adding moves of his own (notably the “Lock”) when performing which became fundamental to the new style called Campbellocking.
Sources: Dance Masterz; Locker Legends
Watch it: Lockers on Soul Train; Hilty & Bosch
LYRICAL HIP HOP
Lyrical dance is a studio-based dance style that uses a combination of classical dance techniques from jazz and ballet to tell a story through movement. Lyrical hip-hop is a fluid and more interpretive version of standard hip-hop. It combines the nuances of lyrical dance with the vocabulary and foundational movements found in hip-hop. According to Dance Spirit magazine, what differentiates lyrical hip-hop from standard hip-hop is that dancers interpret the beat differently. In lyrical hip-hop there are still isolations, gliding and body waves just like in standard hip-hop. However, the movements are smoother and more fluid rather than hard-hitting and, like lyrical dance, emphasis is placed on storytelling and conveying emotion through the choreography.
Watch it: Twitch & Sasha (SYTYCD)
Unless you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t watched any music videos lately, you have seen some of the highly entertaining ‘Party Dances’ that have become so popular in today’s Hip Hop & rap videos. Throughout history, the world has seen it’s fair share of party dances which often begin as ‘dance crazes’ which are later accepted as Hip Hop dance based on popularity or exposure. Some of the earliest Hip Hop party dances were inspired by James Brown (“The Good Foot”) followed by popular steps in the 80s-90s like the Wop, the Cabbage Patch and the Running Man. More recent crazes include: ‘The Superman’ by Soulja Boy, Cat Daddy’ by the Rejectz and of course ‘The Dougie’ by Cali Swag District.
Sources: GlobalGrind; Wickipedia
Watch it: Chicken Noodle Soup, Get Silly, Teach Me How to Dougie
Popping is a dance style created by Boogaloo Sam. People get confused about what this style is. They think it is the name for all the styles that came out of the funk movement (1970’s California). It is not. Popping is a style in itself, that involves snapping the legs back, and flexing your muscles continuously to the beat to give a jerky/snapping effect. Sam would say the word “pop” (under his breath) every time he flexed while he danced, and people would ask him “Hey do that popping stuff!” Electric Boogaloo style is combining popping and boogaloo style together. The two styles complement each other well and are known worldwide as the signature styles of the Electric Boogaloos. Today, popping has been incorporated into both the hip hop and electronica dance scenes to some extent.
Sources: www.electricboogaloos.com; Dance Tutors
Watch it: Popping Finals at BBoy Summit 2012; Poppin’ Pete & JRock
Like the music, Reggaeton dance blends the Jamaican influences of reggae and dancehall with those of Latin America, such as merengue and salsa, as well as that of Hip Hop. The result is ‘spicy’ dance style which mixes dancehall girations with latin booty shaking and a Hip Hop attitude. Tracks such as “Gasolina” by Daddy Yankee and “Culo” by Pitbull have helped earn mainstream success for the reggaeton music & dance craze.
Watch it: CUBAnia Dance Co
In the late 1960s and early ’70s, New York gave birth to another dance in Hip-Hop culture, known as rockin’ (later ‘Uprocking’ Inspired by similar or the same break beats used by b-boys/girls, this dance was more confrontational. Typically, two opponents faced each other and engaged in a “war dance” consisting of a series of steps, jerks, and the miming of weapons drawn against each other. There were also the “Apache Lines” where one crew stood in a line facing an opposing crew and challenged each other simultaneously. In rockin battles winning meant: displaying the swiftest steps; being receptive to the rhythms and counter rhythms of the music and the opponent; catching the opponent off guard with mimed assaults, humor, and endurance. Brooklyn uprocking consisted of quick arm and leg movements, turns, jumps, drops, and freezes. This dance was similar in spirit to b-boying/girling, yet different in form. The two forms developed simultaneously from similar inspirations yet kept their own identities.
Sources: DaveyD, Hip Hop Network
Watch it: All City Rockers Battle
Steppin’ is a form of percussive dance in which the participant’s produce complex rhythms and sounds through a mixture of footsteps, spoken word, and hand claps. Though stepping may be performed by an individual, it is generally performed by groups of three or more, often in arrangements that resemble military formations. Stepping or step-dancing is a dancing tradition that emerged through the gatherings of young African American students in yards, quads, and stages on campus by traditionally black college fraternities and sororities around the middle of the 20th century. Stepping finds its origins in a combination of military close-order and exhibition drill, and African foot dances such as the Welly “gumboot” dance. It also incorporates several other influences such as tap dancing, gymnastics and cheerleading. Over time the dance has with become more complex and athletic in nature and continues to evolve.
Sources: Wickipedia, Teensstepup
Watch it: Black Ice Step Team (Toronto)
TURF is an acronym for Taking Up Room on the Floor. Created by influential Turf dancer, Jeriel Bey the dance originated at house parties and the inner city streets of Oakland, California. Originally known as “Hittin’ It”, TURF dancing is an evolution and fusion of various funk style dance forms such as gliding, waving, popping, and boogaloo. During the 90s, a resurgence of interest in funk styles was revisited, merged, and remixed. The dance’s guiding principles are heavily rooted in creating original style, illusions, and storytelling. There is heavy emphasis on gliding in since footwork plays a major part in creating illusions, otherwise it contains a very small collection of foundational movements or steps because the dance form is heavily dictated by personal style. TURF dancing existed before the emergence of the Hyphy Lifestyle and actually helped to bring hyphy to the spotlight when legendary artist E-40 hired choreographer Jeriel Bey to assist in promoting the Bay Area Dance culture across the country. His organization “The Architeckz” promoted the new dancing term for bay area freestyle dancers as TURF Dancing, rather than Hyphy, to discourage Hollywood from boxing-in the two cultures.
Sources: The Architeckz
Watch it: The Architeckz on Turf Dancing
‘Tutting’ is distinct style that emerged out of the funk era during the early 1980s when dancers would use tutting poses while performing popping routines. These movements made use of the wrists, elbows, and shoulders to create the desired right angle. Presumably, the dance began as a mimicking of the angular poses common to ancient Egyptian art. Tutting as a whole or certain tutting moves have been referred to as ‘King Tut’; it is likely from this colloquialism for the Pharaoh Tutankhamen, as a representative of ancient Egypt in western popular culture, that the form gained its name. Although Tutting as a style has maintained its close ties to popping, it has since evolved to making use of a much wider range of positions and movements. The size of poses, or tuts, now varies from large body tuts to intricate finger tuts.
Sources: Urban Dictionary
Watch it: Denis Surkov
Although ‘video style’ can and has been used as a broad term to cover all dancing in music videos, we use this term to describe the ‘smoother’ styles of Hip Hop characteristic of R&B influenced artists such as Usher, Chris Brown, Omarion, Aaliyah and TLC. Like street style, ‘video’ style Hip Hop uses techniques from various urban dance forms but is recognized for its groove, musicality (using unique beats/words in the music) and it’s super smooth flow. Video choreography challenges dancers to really connect with their music and put soul and style into their movements.
Although the dance became a mainstream phenomenon in 1990 when pop star Madonna released the single “Vogue”, its history actually began decades earlier in the Harlem ballroom scene. In its purest, historical form, “old way” vogue is a duel between two rivals. Traditionally, old way rules dictated that one rival must “pin” the other to win the contest. “New way” is characterized by rigid movements coupled with “clicks” (limb contortions at the joints) and “arms control” (hand and wrist illusions, which sometimes includes tutting and locking). “Vogue femme” is fluidity at its most extreme with exaggerated feminine movements influenced by ballet and modern dance. Styles of vogue femme performance range from dramatics style (which emphasizes stunts, tricks, and speed) to soft style (which emphasizes a graceful, beautiful, easy flow). There are six elements of vogue femme: hand performance, catwalk, duckwalk, floor performance, dips, and spins (unofficial). When competing in a vogue femme battle, contestants should showcase all six elements in an entertaining fashion.
Watch it: Willi Ninja, Waacking Vs. Voguing