What is Hip Hop Dance?

     There are a lot of opinions out there of what hip hop dancing actually is.  Is it more like break dancing or is it more of what you see in music videos?  Many people claim hip hop dancing as their style of dance but how did it come about and what is it now?

     Hip Hop dancing was born in the 1980’s in urban areas as an expressional movement to hip hop music.  Fast forward to today where hip hop dancing has become a larger genre for more individualized styles.  Take Krumping or Clowing for example; each has its own specific characteristic but each are considered a form of hip hop dance.  Hip hop dance is also portrayed in music videos on MTV which is where we get into the controversy.

     Some say hip hop dance cannot be commercialized or specifically taught but I disagree.  Take a 1980’s cell phone for example and how it only used to be used for making calls.  Now what do you call your “cell phone”…it’s a cell phone right?  But it’s also an MP3 player, video player, texting device, TV, alarm clock, video game console…etc.  But we call it a “cell phone” because that’s the easiest label to put on it that people can relate to.  Think if Verizon offered the new 4G Electronic Contraption!  Most people would wonder what it was and if it still made calls.  Not many people could relate to an “Electronic Contraption” and they’re sales would probably plummet.  I believe the same can be said about hip hop dancing. 

     I’ve taken several dance classes in L.A. and across the country that are called “ hip hop dance” classes even though they’re more “pop dance” classes.  I personally have never seen a “pop dance” class offered in writing.  It’s because it doesn’t draw the same crowds that “hip hop dance” classes do.  It comes down to marketing.  I believe pop dancing was created out of hip hop dancing so that it could be universally taught and commercialized.  I know, I know…many will still argue that calling it “hip hop dancing” and not “pop dancing” is a lie to students everywhere.  Pop dancing does have hip hop dance elements in it with about the same percentage that a cell phone’s only job is to make phone calls.  Those that are angry about this issue need to realize that calling it “hip hop” dancing is what people know and can relate to...and there’s nothing wrong with that.  For goodness sakes people still call ATM’s, “ATM machines”…really?  Automated Teller Machine Machines?  You don’t say “machine” twice, but that’s just what it’s called.

     My program is studio hip hop dancing which is what is accepted as hip hop dancing by the majority of dance studios and dance competitions around the country.  Hip hop dancing is searched for (according to google) 6x more than pop dancing!  So (using the Lebron James method) what should I do?  Should I name it the Pop Dancing Curriculum and kill my web traffic even though people are looking for this particular style of hip hop/pop dancing?  Should I coin my own name for my style of hip hop dancing?  Should I just go out of business even though I get great feedback from my product?  Should I go on National TV and explain the difference between hip hop dancing and pop dancing?  Or do you think it’s ok to let the market decide about my Hip Hop Instruction Curriculum & K12 Dance Program?

     I can’t help that MTV and pop culture have used the name hip hop dance to really mean pop dancing.  But why should I fight an uphill battle that is already instilled in people’s minds?  I choose to let someone else worry about the naming game and focus on providing great dancing skills to anyone who wants them.  Hopefully you will agree with me and love my product as much as so many people already have all around the world!