Street Dance History Part 1
What is street dance exactly? Did you know that Street dance is not even a dance style itself? People often say “I do street dance”, my next question to them is “what style or styles do you do?” Confused? Let me explain… The term street dance was coined by the media to make sense of what was happening at the time during the birth of “street dance”.
The street dance styles were inspired by the music and the latest dances that were going around at the time, and were created in social scenes such as clubs/discos. Some dances were copied off the TV (programmes like Soul Train was where many people saw the moves for the first time). People used to practice the moves out on the streets and when people saw they were amazed so where the media. To make sense of these people dancing in the street they used the generic term “street dancers”, hence “street dance”. In actual fact these street dancers were doing many different styles such as Robotics, Popping (commercially and incorrectly called Body Popping), Hip Hop – Social dance, Hip Hop – Breaking or Bboying (commercially and incorrectly called Breakdance or Breakdancing – again this is another term coined by the mass media), Tutting, Locking, Waving, Boogaloo, Animation, Strutting and many more!
People say that “Street Dance” started in the 70’s, but influences can go back to the 192O’s Earl Tucker “Snake Hips” performed in venues across New York – Earl “Snake Hips” Tucker . The dance moves can be traced back even further. Look up the Nicholas Brothers and you will see a lot of the “Breakdance” moves, and also if you look up Capoeira and other martial art moves where some early “Street Dancers” got inspiration from. I am not saying that Street DAnce came from Martial arts, but flips, acrobatics etc inspired SOME moves.
What doesn’t help is the current TV programmes like Britain’s Got Talent frequently have “street dancers” perform and nothing is ever said. Am I saying it is wrong to call it street dance – no. I am saying that people who claim to be “Street dancers” don’t actually know the history and the origins of what they are doing. They still mimic what they see.
The lessons? Learn your history! Ask questions and don’t be a follower! Even geniuses ask questions (Tupac Shakur!).
I actually get a little deeper into Street Dance history here, and share some of my first experiences learning this culture/dance.
About the Author
Rob is the owner of Street Styles 4 All (SS4A), married to his wife Chloe. Follows Jesus (not on twitter), runs a Street Dance school. Rob also known as "Smoove Groove" runs the online courses at SS4A and is passionate Street Dance and about teaching Street Dance.