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Learn How to Street Dance

Updated on November 16, 2014

Street Dance Routines

What Is Street Dancing?

Street dance is a term used to describe styles of dance that started and developed outside of professional studios. As a result, street dance would usually take place outside on the streets, or in parks and school yards. Today it is a recogonized style of dance that can be taught in studios, but it still keeps in touch with its improvizational roots.

The Difference Between Street and Hip Hop Dance

Today when people refer to "street" dance, they're usually talking about the hip hop style of dance as featured in movies like Stomp the Yard. Depending on who you ask, street dance and hip hop dance are very closely related. Some people even consider them to be the same style of dance. Others view street dance as a more general term, while hip hop refers to a specific dance genre under the street dance umbrella. This hub will focus on the hip-hop style of street dance.

Basic Street Dance Moves

There are, of course, a variety of different movements featured in street dance. Street dance as a style is less structured and more creative than many other forms of dancing. Even so, there are a few basic types of moves that can be found in nearly any hip hop street dance routine.

Breaking (also called b-boying) is more commonly known as breakdancing outside of the hip hop dance community. Breaking is generally performed during the breaks in the music. There are four main components to breaking.

  • Toprock moves are performed while the dancer is standing and usually draw from other aspects of street dance (see popping and locking below).
  • Downrock (also called footwork) moves focus more on the movements of the lower body and usually involve the dancer using one or both arms on the ground to support his or herself.
  • Power moves are the more acrobatic types of hip hop moves that require a fair amount of strength and skill to perform.
  • Freezes are dramatic poses held to match the beat of the music. A freeze performed at the end of a song is called a suicide.

Popping is a rhythmic style of hip hop/street dance consisting of carefully controlling muscle movements to match "pops" or "hits" with the music. A variety of different moves can be contained under this category.

  • Animation is when the dancer imitates a frame by frame cartoon by moving with sudden, jerky movements. Rather than fluid movements, the goal is to make each motion appear as if it were made from several individual sections.
  • Tutting is a style of popping that focuses on using the body (especially the upper body) to create angles and geometric shapes.
  • Botting is probably one of the most familiar styles of popping, it is more widely knows as "the Robot".

Locking consists of fast, exaggerated movements followed by "locking" the body into a position for a few seconds.

Street and Hip-hop Dance Moves in Action

Where Can I Learn How to Street Dance?

If you've ever seen a street dance performance in person, or on a show like America's Best Dance Crew, then you know it's a huge crowd pleaser. Even those who don't like hop-hop music (myself included) love watching hip-hop dancers. It looks cool and even if you don't plan on performing anywhere, it's a neat skill to have under your hat. There are a few different places you can go to to learn how to street dance and each have their pros and cons.

Local dance studios will often have hip hop and street dance lessons. These are great because you are learning from a professional dancer. it's also a great way to meet other people with similar interests. However, dance studios are known for having some rather expensive lessons so you should opt for a trial package if available to avoid spending too much if it turns out that you don't like the lessons. Street dance lessons at a studio will usually charge per class.

Private dance lessons will usually be done in your own home, or at the home of the instructors. This is a better option for those who don't want to feel pressured to keep up with the rest of the class. Private street dance lessons will also make sure the focus is on perfecting your skills, since there won't be other people to distract you or the instructor. On the downside, private lessons are even more costly that lessons at a studio. Ask if your local studio offers one-on-one coaching, or check Craiglist and newspaper listings. Private street dance lessons are most often charged at an hourly rate.

YouTube is a free and convenient way to learn street and hip-hop dancing. There are many channels established solely for the purpose of teaching hip-hop dance moves. Most of these videos will expect you to bring some knowledge to the table however, so you probably won't get any individual assistance. Even so, you will be able to learn hip-hop dancing for free and on your own time. If you're shy, you might feel more comfortable practicing alone on your own time.

Online dance lessons offer a mix between video instruction and personal assistance. In addition to having a library of intrustional videos that you can complete and revisit at your own pace, you will also have access to a coach or instructor who can answer your individual questions. Most online street dance lessons have a small one-time fee.

YouTube Street Dance Lesson Example


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