Street Dance and Hip Hop
Hip hop can be termed as one of the most influential cultural movements of the early 1970’s and thereafter. The elements that conjure this genre of music and dance might include the hip hop style, hip hop slang and beat boxing. Rap, the oration of lyrics in rhythm with a beat, and DJ are inseparable parts of hip hop music as well, even though, the word hip hop has now become a synonym for the terms hip hop music and rap for the majority of the listeners (Hip Hop. Taken at (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiphop).
The term hip hop has, over the years, been attached to numerous legendary etymologies and intricate denotations that continue to thrive and grow inside the hip hop community. Hip hop’s ambiguous origin dates back even before the song Rapper’s Delight by the Sugarhill Gang. Despite that, the term and style have created a standard of life and style within itself (Hip Hop. Taken at (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiphop).
The hip hop form of street dance movement can be termed as breaking or break dance. This form of dance, also called B-boying or B-girling by the hip hop faction, is an active and zealous part of the hip hop community and culture since the 20th century. Of course there is some thought around where the form of breaking originated. Many say that it originates from the Capoeira form of dancing and martial arts though the originators of break dance itself, would deviate (Hip Hop. Taken at (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiphop).
The influence of hip hop on the society can be determined from the fact that in the 1980’s people not only enjoyed doing break dance but also loved watching it as many groups of people could be seen at public places performing in front of a large crowd. Now break dance itself has some likeness to a few of the funk elements, yet it has its own distinct and varying style. Some areas of funk that might have an influence on the break dance are “Hitting,” “Locking,” “Popping,” “Boogaloo” and “Ticking (Hip Hop. Taken at (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiphop).”
Over the years, many researchers have highlighted the growing influence of hip hop street dance; however, very little research has been conducted on the growth and development of this cultural phenomenon. This paper concentrates on the development and influence of hip hop dance: the cultural, sociological, and dance style evolution of street dance (Hip Hop. Taken at (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiphop).
Efrem Smith (2004) discusses the growing phenomenon of hip hop culture, in general, and, hip hop street dance in particular as it has had a noteworthy influence on the social culture of the society almost throughout the west. “True hip-hop is a term that describes the independent collective consciousness of a specific group of inner-city people. Ever growing, it is commonly expressed through such elements as: Breakin’ (dance), Emceein’ (rap), Graffiti (aerosol art), Deejayin’, Beatboxin’, Street Fashion, Street Knowledge, and Street Entrepreneurialism. Discovered by Kool DJ Herc in the Bronx, New York around 1972, and established as a community of peace, love, unity, and having fun by Afrika Bambaataa through Zulu Nation in 1974, hip-hop is an independent and unique community, an empowering behavior, and an international culture.”
While many consider the Hip Hop dance to be the most influential phenomenon, Carl S. Taylor and Virgil Taylor (2004) think otherwise. They believe that hip hop street dance phenomenon has taken a back seat. “Throughout the last 25 years, a new form of expression has continually evolved despite the efforts of many in the so-called ‘establishment’ to minimize its influence on young people. This form of expression that was once limited to urban music and dance has become a widespread form of communication and expression by young people throughout the world. Hip – Hop is no longer limited to rap music and break dancing; today it represents a multi-billion dollar industry that influences everything from automotive design and fashion to prime time television programming, collegiate and professional sports, mass media marketing, and Madison Avenue advertising. Today Hip – Hop is for many a way of life, a culture that is intricately woven into every aspect of their daily lives.”
Contrary to the above claim, Paul Butler (2004) discusses the growing power and influence of hip hop street dance. He believes that hip hop street dance culture is extremely different as it carries with it not only an entertainment package but also a very strong political message. The writer believes that in future the hip hop culture in general will significantly transform not only the social culture but also the political culture of the western societies, as it explains, with expressiveness, the troubles with the present administrations, and expresses, with zeal and enthusiasm, a superior path. The writer believes that the implications of the hip hop culture should be listened to for reasons both ethical and functional.
Sally Sommer (2004) discusses the historical development of hip hop culture. The hip hop street dance set in motion a revolution that prophesized the future with each dance move. She believes that the hip hop street dance unites the youth of the whole world together to the beat and sound of the hip hop music triggering a world wide cultural transformation. This transformation is not only constructive but also extremely creative and passionate. Prior to the hip hop revolution, the popular dance moves and sounds were considered to be temporary and short-lived. Hip Hop culture changed all that as the body language and the voice of hip hop moved from the sub-urban cities to the coasts and from the coasts to the neighboring countries, thereby triggering a hip hop cultural revolution.
Heather Wisner (2000) talks about the days when dancers, who ended up becoming great hip hop artists, had no opportunity or window of opening to explore the fields of hip hop dance with any professional input or training and how they had to work their way by choreographing their own dance moves and making their way up the ladder of eventual success as hip hop dancers, and how they paved the way for future generations to have outlets that they never had.
She also talks about the clubs where even though most people dance and enjoy to the beat and rhythm of the DJ, during the evenings these same clubs provide opportunities to potential hip hop artist and dancers to groove to hip hop music and win prizes like studio class cards. These clubs attract a lot of raw talent and provide not only the right kind of exposure but are a source of knowledge and inspiration for all those who are unaware of the hip hop dance, culture and way of life.
Heather Wisner also feels that, even though, this form of dance is an African origin and is blended into the American style by the American choreographers, the hip hop legacy can still achieve prime and positive growth as long as such clubs and windows of opportunities stay open.
From the aforementioned facts, it is clear that very little research has been conducted on the influence of hip hop street dance and that a concise yet thorough research needs to be carried out on the development and influence of hip hop dance: the cultural, sociological, and dance style evolution of street dance.
This dissertation is a case study of the development and influence of hip hop dance: the cultural, sociological, and dance style evolution of street dance.
Collection of Data
The tactic involved in this process of collecting relevant data has been that concise and yet comprehensive information related to the topic (the development and influence of hip hop dance: the cultural, sociological, and dance style evolution of street dance.) has been compiled from articles published in various scientific journals and magazines by individual researchers, as well as, research institutions. Both, online resources and offline resources have been used to compile the data.
Data analysis and Search tactics
The data analysis and search tactic depended on manifold means so as to guarantee the most advantageous totality of facts and statistics available. At the outset a comprehensive literature exploration had been performed by means of Internet, as well as, university and public library, as mentioned above. In this manner the bulk of published information relating to the topic (the development and influence of hip hop dance: the cultural, sociological, and dance style evolution of street dance) had been distinguished, initially, and compiled, subsequently.
The analytical strategy employed in this paper has firstly identified the gravity of the situation at hand relating to the development and influence of hip hop dance: the cultural, sociological, and dance style evolution of street dance. Appropriate viewpoints and facts have been given to prove not only the seriousness of the situation but also the validity of the arguments. Also, a brief overview is given of the present situation in the hip hop culture. Furthermore, the most pertinent and possible factors relating to the development and influence of hip hop dance: the cultural, sociological, and dance style evolution of street dance have been discussed. Lastly, the paper concludes by summarizing the findings of the paper.
Limitations of the Study
It is imperative to analytically assess the outcome and the entire thesis. This is because this thesis has some limitations that should be observed when taking into consideration the importance of the thesis and its assistance. This thesis has concentrated on a subject that has been an extremely large and leading one, that is, the development and influence of hip hop dance: the cultural, sociological, and dance style evolution of street dance. Undoubtedly, this characterizes an extremely difficult assignment for research in spite of the more precise interests that the thesis might have. This wide-ranging and difficult subject has been analyzed from a somewhat limited experimental perception. The choice of the single thesis design obviously draws out numerous limitations in so far as the simplification of the outcome of the thesis is involved. Consequently, the thesis setting can simply be termed as a sort of direct framework of the past and present trends in the Hip Hop dance culture.
One more limitation of this case study has been the viewpoint assumed. Rather than attempting to comprehend the entire development and influence of hip hop culture, which includes, Hip hop music, DJing (turntablism), MCing (rapping), Battling, Beat-boxing, Graffiti art, etc., this thesis has been primarily limited to the possibility of the development and influence of hip hop dance: the cultural, sociological, and dance style evolution of street dance.
Madeleine Brand (2004) is fascinated by the fact that the true essence of hip hop originates in the humble streets and back alleys, where dancers practice in parking lots and backyards, make their own outfits, do their own makeup and come up with their own dance move; where the pure joy of creating hip hop-based routines is what drives the young teenagers and adults to take part in various hip hop dance competitions where money and fame is not an issue for them and their prizes, mainly being cash, are not even enough for them to get a new outfit or shoes.
The writer seems to think it absurd and unreal that now the radios and the television show have promoted hip hop music into this Hollywood, posh, glamorous and money making business where major brands create and make the artist even less similar to the street style, which was the origin of hip hop.
The writer feels that this “propaganda” of the modern day media has taken hip hop music and dance away from its urban street roots, where fame and money were not necessarily an agenda or the goal. However, this “propaganda” has popularized the hip hop culture amongst the youth who now associate themselves with these artists out on the streets.
Janae Hoffler (2004) agrees and takes the belief a little further then just the difference between what the media has made hip hop and how different it is from its origins. She believes that the media driven hip hop only promotes the clothes and the music. That’s all that people look for in hip hop, according to her. She believes that this further deviates from the fact that the street hip hop is not only a form of music and dance but it is a culture and a way of life. However, the hip hop street dance has evolved and grown, as a result of all this exposure, bringing forward not only creativity but also people from all walks of life.
The writer asserts that media has promoted hip hop away from its charm of rhythm n’ beat and dance moves and branded it with expensive labels. The hip hop artists on the screen are very different from those on the street. The teenagers aspiring from hip hop music struggle to find what their origin was and to understand and respect it. They yearn for the culture and life that is hip hop and not the game and money making machine that it has been made by the record labels and the media.
So much of this culture has been slackened off by the media. Hip hop industry is a multi-million dollar business now, but in the streets where the culture truly exists, money and fame is not the focus, instead, the focus is life.
Susan Kelley (1998), however, chooses to focus on the imagery of the dance moves and the impact of the lyrical content of hip hop music. For her, hip hop is more than just the culture of a community; it is like a camera that captures the time and era its in, represents it, along with the politics of the time just like any other artist.
However the writer also realizes that it’s not always easy for a genre of this kind to capture its time and politics in front of the changing demand of a varying audience. The audiences don’t want to be amused by political mishaps and the denotation of contemporary life which makes it difficult for hip hop to always be a representation of its time and era.
Hip hop denotes action and liveliness in its beats and dance movements, it denotes a richer and healthier and happier form of life. It is a celebration and it is only because of these reasons that it attracts huge audiences of different ages.
According to the writer, the legacy of hip hop music and dance is the celebration through a more artistic and subtle voice, which has been a major factor in the influencing the masses towards hip hop street dance.
Kay Bourne (1999) terms hip hop as an egalitarian culture where even though the origins of the dance moves came from the urban lands of Africa, the different interpretations from different ethnicities is what makes the genre even more of a celebration and a delight for its followers.
Physical agility, speed and flexibility are a main part of any dance move but what makes hip hop so phenomenal is the slight aspect of risk and challenge that is adopted in the dance moves.
For the writer, what is even more phenomenal is the immediate spark of joy on the dancers’ faces as they realize a familiar beat and the sparkle in their eyes and they move in unison to the same hip hop beat in the same hip hop dance movement of slaps and stamps, and, how many of those who are already adept at the hip hop dance are now passing it forward by becoming dance instructors.
Alicia Drake (1999) realizes hip hop as a cultural street movement that has caught global media attention and has been growing stronger because of it. She feels that before the hip hop street dancers used to dance for the love of it, now they have aspirations to go beyond the streets and do something more with hip hop dancing. They have an energy about them which the audience likes. The audience likes action.
Theatres are benefiting from the popularity of the hip hop form of dance along with brands that are promoting the various forms of hip hop dances i.e. The dances at the street and theatre levels are being benefited by the smaller brands that want to promote credibly the true essence of hip hop dance while the major brands are also supporting this form of dance along with its style and clothes.
Charlotte Cripps (2004) emphasizes on the differences of the true essence of what hip hop dance really is at the core and what it has been converted into by the record labels and the media. She feels that even though many hip hop artist gain popularity not because of their music, even though there music and dance beats are worth recognition, but because of what their past experience with the gangster environment has been which is the wrong image to be portrayed because hip hop dances are a lot about the real contemporary life in which love has a large inimitable part.
The genre of hip hop music and dance serves a vital function in the cultural and social activities of a community in today’s time. Even though their role is overlooked by the analysts, some do realize their importance as an element that does define the society as much as any other element of music such as jazz.
The hip hop street dance along with music not only gives us a certain amount of insight into the lifestyle and features of the community it affects but also provides us with a new dimension into the sounds, groove, musical variations and lyrical content in the genre.
Hip hop street dance along with popping, ticking, hitting, locking have, unlike many other genres of dance music, given due respect and adoration to their origins. It is rare when the world of dance, originating from the streets, comes across such creative and innovative styles that revolutionize the older form to a paramount level, by not only affecting lives of certain communities but also changing them completely and causing a global chain of reactions and transformations in culture and the dance forms.
1) Hip Hop. Taken at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiphop
2) Efrem Smith. Hip-Hop as Culture. Youth worker journal. July/Aug 2004. Taken at http://www.youthspecialties.com/articles/topics/urban/hip-hop.php
3) Carl S. Taylor and Virgil Taylor. Hip-Hop and Youth Culture: Contemplations of an Emerging Cultural Phenomenon. Reclaiming Children and Youth. Volume: 12. Issue: 4. 2004.
4) Paul Butler. Much Respect: Toward a Hip-Hop Theory of Punishment. Stanford Law Review. Volume: 56. Issue: 5. 2004.
5) Sally Sommer. Prophets in Pumas: When Hip Hop Broke Out. Dance Magazine. Volume: 78. Issue: 7. July 2004.
6) Heather Wisner. Putting a New Spin on Hip-Hop. Dance Magazine. Volume: 74. Issue: 3. March 2000.
7) Madeleine Brand. Profile: Urban dance contest celebrates hip-hop culture. NPR Special. 2004.
8) Janae Hoffler. Festival focuses on hip-hop dance. The Philadelphia Tribune. 2004.
9) Susan Kelley. Bring in da’ hip-hop: choreographer tells the story of urban life through dance. St. Louis Post-Dispatch. 1998.
10) Kay Bourne. Strand Hip Hop dance gala displays evolving styles. Bay State Banner. 1999.
11) Alicia Drake. Paris Hip-Hop on a Roll Dance Moves From the Street to Stage. International Herald Tribune. 1999.
12) Charlotte Cripps. Arts: Hip hop, don’t stop; Krumping, popping, breaking, boogalooing… They’re all part of the underground dance movement that’s determined to burst into the mainstream. Charlotte Cripps gets down. The Independent (London, England). 2004.
Hip Hop. Taken at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiphop
Efrem Smith. Hip-Hop as Culture. Youth worker journal. July/Aug 2004. Taken at http://www.youthspecialties.com/articles/topics/urban/hip-hop.php
Carl S. Taylor and Virgil Taylor. Hip-Hop and Youth Culture: Contemplations of an Emerging Cultural Phenomenon. Reclaiming Children and Youth. Volume: 12. Issue: 4. 2004.
Paul Butler. Much Respect: Toward a Hip-Hop Theory of Punishment. Stanford Law Review. Volume: 56. Issue: 5. 2004.
Sally Sommer. Prophets in Pumas: When Hip Hop Broke Out. Dance Magazine. Volume: 78. Issue: 7. July 2004.
Heather Wisner. Putting a New Spin on Hip-Hop. Dance Magazine. Volume: 74. Issue: 3. March 2000.
Madeleine Brand. Profile: Urban dance contest celebrates hip-hop culture. NPR Special. 2004.
Janae Hoffler. Festival focuses on hip-hop dance. The Philadelphia Tribune. 2004.
Susan Kelley. Bring in da’ hip-hop: choreographer tells the story of urban life through dance. St. Louis Post-Dispatch. 1998.
Kay Bourne. Strand Hip Hop dance gala displays evolving styles. Bay State Banner. 1999.
Alicia Drake. Paris Hip-Hop on a Roll Dance Moves From the Street to Stage. International Herald Tribune. 1999.
10) Charlotte Cripps. Arts: Hip hop, don’t stop; Krumping, popping, breaking, boogalooing… They’re all part of the underground dance movement that’s determined to burst into the mainstream. Charlotte Cripps gets down. The Independent (London, England). 2004.
Street dance and hip hop
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