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History of Dance


Trace of dance first appears on cave panting in Africa, research shows that dance has been present from the beginning of mankind. Following some research dance was primarily used as a form of ritual or eventually a rite of passage. Dancers were often the keepers of the history of a people, adding dances throughout time to relate the events of their history. Most cultures throughout history have had dances and related costumes that represent their people and region.

Rhythm is a basic element of music which is indispensable to dance. It is natural to dance on the rhythm of the music.


In some cultures the histories and traditions are passed from generation to generation through dance, e.g. in the warrior dance, young men are taught how to become warriors and this dance will simultaneously develop their strength and agility. Dance is often used in schools as a vehicle to teach other subjects e.g. creative dance may be used to teach children about the rain cycle or to teach children about space, shape and direction.


History of Hip Hop


When Hip Hop first started it was based on a performance, but informal, dance culture. Bboys and Bgirls, which are terms introduced by DJ Kool Herc, would be invited to show off their moves by other people on the street, on the basketball court or wherever the group happened to be. As the moves became more standardised (for example, breaking, popping, and locking), and more and more dancers got caught up in the rhythms of the music, more formal dance venues arose. While these performances were more formal, the competitive nature of Hip Hop remained, as well as the circular nature of the audience surrounding the dancers.

Both informal and formal competitions were happening. Informal competitions started when a few truly exceptional dancers were noticed on the dance floor; the rest of the people would back off and allow the leaders to settle this.

As these informal competitions became increasingly common and popular, competitions became part of a night out at Hip Hop clubs. Whether they arose organically or they were advertised in advance, these competitions helped Hip Hop retain the “battle” culture that has existed since the beginning. Those types of competition are unique and really entertaining. Any kind of moves were appreciated, and unusual moves like spinning on the head, creating moves on the ground became synonymous with music.

The dance became more and more practised at the same time that the music was becoming popular, from James Brown hits to Michael Jackson; dance improved and still continues to develop which is the pioneers’ legacy.

Nowadays, Hip Hop is a dance form that is also practised on stage. While the roots of Hip Hop were informal and group-based instead of audience-based, the art form has become so popular that an audience culture in formal performance venues developed during the 1990s. Popular Hip Hop dancers can rock a club scene, but they can also mesmerize an audience of dance experts or impress national television audiences.

Since the advance of music television, Hip Hop has become an important influence in performance dancing for music videos. Walking a fine line between street dance and Hip Hop, much of what the stars use in their videos, and now on stage as well, was influenced by the Hip Hop art form.

Dance Hip Hop carries a positive message beyond all stereotypes, against racism and segregation. Hip Hop dance is continuously evolving. New moves are always being created from dancers around the wold, which are then practiced by groups inside and out of the Hip Hop community. This is showing how big the Hip Hop culture movement has become successful in such a short space of time.

Here is a list of the dance styles performed in those times:

  • Uprock
  • Toprock
  • Rockin
  • Liquid dancing
  • Breakdancing
  • Krumping
  • Locking
  • Popping
  • Boogaloo
  • Ticking
  • Robot
  • Hip Hop (street dance or new style for others)


In its earlier period, Hip Hop emerged from the New York gang culture and its struggle for territorial control most of its founders were ex-gang members. Hip Hop culture is composed by four elements, djing, break dancing, Mcing and Graffiti.

Those four elements share a turf affirmation, related to identity struggle. “Break dancers performed with crews or posses (gang, group) that controlled certain neighbourhoods and who, during competitions, would battle (compete) until a clear winner emerged.” - (Nielson, 2010; 1256)