Hip hop dancing encompasses many different street styles, all offering a great way of working out the body through fun and rhythmic exercise. Here’s our guide on how hip hop dance could set you on course for a healthier and more active lifestyle.
Hip hop dancing encompasses a wide range of street styles, set to the beats of pounding hip hop music. Workouts include popping, locking, break and house dancing.
Hip hop dancing emerged from African-American roots in the 1970s. It is a creative, frequently improvised, style of dance. The hip hop performer’s body moves in time to a catchy beat, theoretically expressing a wide range of emotions in the process. Defined by the bounding steps, power jumps and even hand-standing of its performers, hip hop dancing is certainly not an activity for the faint hearted. But it has numerous health and fitness benefits.
Stamina - If you’re struggling to stay the pace in your running exercise, hip hop dancing could offer an unexpected form of cross-training, to build up your stamina and muscular resistance.
Work your heart - Hip hop dancing is a great form of cardiovascular (CV) exercise and really gets the heart pumping with fast paced workouts.
Forges a positive mind - Exercise is a great way of keeping your mind in shape and the pleasures of hip hop dance will have you leaping around with a more positive outlook.
Burns off calories - With a range of movements required of its participants, hip hop dancing will help you burn off those unwanted calories. Losing weight doesn’t mean trundling on a treadmill until the end of time. Hip hop dancing will get you moving, as well as offering an entertaining and highly sociable workout.
Key styles of hip hop dancing
Break-dance - Break-dancing is an athletic street style that evolved from the New York hip hop scene of the early 1970s. Normally set to pop, funk or hip hop songs, break-dancing includes a combination of energetic jumping, hand walking and expressive bounding. It is an explosive dance style that can see many muscle groups stretched in quick succession.
House dancing - As its name suggests, house dancing is traditionally performed in time to house music. However, in recent years it has also become a key style of hip hop dance, with its improvisational nature and complex foot patterns complementing hip hop beats. A key house dancing move is the ‘Jack’ which sees the dancer ripple their torso like a wave, repeatedly in time to the music.
What to expect from your first class
Many hip hop dance classes will be run on an informal, drop-in basis with no need to book in advance. Most classes will be suitable for all levels, although double-check that they are beginner-friendly before you go along. Some routines may contain challenging or physically demanding moves so don’t rush into them straight away. Instead, let the instructor guide your workout routines as you build up your progress. With a number of styles and routines to try, you’ll soon find a hip hop dance that’s perfect for you.
Key hip hop dancing tip
Although you might be tempted to wear leather trousers, leopard skin hats and mountains of bling to your first hip hop class, it’s important not to get too carried away. Until you become an all-star performer, adept at every possible move, it’s best to keep things simple and wear the kind of kit you would to most other dance classes: basic exercise sportswear and light, dance-ready shoes.