Hip-hop dance has grown into one of the most popular and influential types of dance through its three primary techniques of popping, locking, and breaking. These styles were originally created for use in hip-hop music, but now can be found in many other genres of music.
The term "hip hop" was first used to describe a type of music that combined elements from several different genres—particularly R&B, funk, and rock—and was heard mostly in urban centers. The term came from the title of a song by the Bronx-based group Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, which was released in 1982. That song is considered the beginning of the hip hop music era because before it was released there were few songs with a strong rap component (the only previous release was an early disco track by Rick James called "Mary Jane Shoes").
In addition to music, the hip hop culture also includes fashion, graffiti, break dancing, b-boying, and more. Hip hop artists tend to come from a street background or have some other connection to cities—most commonly New York City or Los Angeles. They often receive training from professional dancers or choreographers to become good at what they do.
What separates hip-hop dance from its component forms is that the dancing in hip-hop dance is often well-choreographed and is frequently done as part of an ensemble. In contrast, its constituent genres, such as breaking and popping, are freestyle-oriented, whether done individually or in groups. Although many elements of dance are shared by all types of dance, there are specific elements that distinguish one type of dance from another.
Hip hop involves rhythmic and melodic improvisation over a basic beat provided by a DJ or rapper. There are two main types of hip hop: freestyle and choreographed. Freestyle hip hop is anything but formal - it can be done alone, with friends, or even with others (such as during battle rounds). It can also be fast or slow, up-tempo or down-tempo; there is no right or wrong way to do it. This type of dancing is what first attracted many people to hip hop culture - the ability to express yourself through movement. The second type of hip hop is called choreographed hip hop. Here, dancers are given a short script of moves to perform as a group. These dances are usually used as introductions or closings for sets by DJs or rappers. They are often based on popular songs and styles, such as jazz or rock 'n' roll.
Choreographed hip hop can be very structured or completely free form.
Violence was reduced when violence was shown through dance in the early years of hip-hop. The modern hip hop dance emerged from three underground dance styles: b-boying, locking, and popping. It was then combined with the principles and choreography of jazz dance to establish a hybrid dance style. Rap music began to incorporate more instruments into the songs themselves, changing the sound of hip hop.
Hip hop has changed over time because it is a living culture shaped by everyone who uses it. Users include musicians, dancers, DJs, producers, and fans. They give shape to the culture by embracing or rejecting different elements of hip hop. For example, rappers such as Eminem and Dr. Dre have increased the use of electronic instruments in their songs, which has changed the sound of hip hop.
Hip hop also changes because users are influenced by new ideas and trends. For example, teenagers started using foxy rap moves in their dances in response to B.I.G (Big Poppa) and Tupac Shakur's death. This made hip hop feel older than it actually is (because both men were dead), so old school dancers moved away from this type of dancing and more musicianship was accepted by audiences as an alternative.
Hip hop has always been a dynamic culture driven by its users. It is possible to predict how it will change in the future by looking at what influences current trends.