Street dance, as the name suggests, came from the streets, pioneered by the communities shunned from traditional dance studios for their race. They evolved out of the synergy, dynamism, and creativity of America’s underprivileged youth, and these styles have since taken the world by storm.
The term ‘breaking’ stems from a song’s ‘break’, strung together by the DJ, giving breakers a window to bust out their best moves. This became breaking’s claim to fame – the dramatic and powerful freezes and flares that incorporated gymnastics and acrobatics, as well as the flashy and rapid-fire footwork.
The OGs: Rock Steady Crew, New York City Breakers, Mighty Zulu Kingz
Campbell’s inability to perform the Robot Shuffle seamlessly caused him to stop mid-performance at a particular point, ‘locking’ for the first time. In response to the crowd laughing at him, Campbell created some of locking’s most iconic moves, such as the point. Campbell incorporated more locking motions into his future routines and the trend gained traction, resulting in a dance that is now known as locking.
Foundational steps: Lock, Uplock, Point, Wrist roll, Jazz split, Self-five
The OGs: Don Campbell, Toni Basil, Freddie Maxie, Jimmy “Scoo B Doo” Foster, Tony “GoGo” Lewis
1960s Harlem ballrooms were becoming a burgeoning cultural hub for the African- and Latin American LGBTQ+ communities; the performances they put on ranged from walking in pageant balls to voguing battles for the glory of their ‘house’. Voguing has since developed into different styles, namely Old Way, known for clean lines and symmetry; New Way, known for flexibility and incorporation of geometric shapes, and Vogue Fem, known for its hyperfemininity and ‘camp’.
Foundational steps: Hand performance (Old Vogue), clicks (New Vogue), arms control (New Vogue), (Vogue Fem) duckwalk, catwalk, hands, floor work, spins and dips.
The OGs: Crystal LaBeija, House of Xtravaganza, House of Ninja, House of Dupree, House of Aviance
Born in California and derived from the Boogaloo technique of “posing hard”, popping is done by rapidly contracting and relaxing the muscles in the body to put a sudden stop to a motion, thus creating a ‘pop’. Early popping was done to funk music until many poppers transitioned to hip-hop music after the 80’s. Today, poppers can even manipulate their muscles to move in time to the erratic and rapid-fire beats of dubstep and EDM.
Foundational steps: Isolation, tutting, hitting (the Fresno), Waving, Gliding
The OGs: Boogaloo Sam, Popin’ Pete, Electric Boogaloos, Mr. Wiggles