What is street dance?
Here at B-Better, we pride ourselves on being London’s only company that specialises in teaching street style, club style and funk style dances. There are countless dance styles which exist under the ‘street dance’ umbrella, and it’s our passion to share these with you.
Sometimes we say that street dance isn’t a real style, as it’s often more ‘personalised choreography’ than foundations in any particular form. You can find more on that in our blog, ‘5 tips to help you grow‘ in street dance. We appreciate that you may have come looking for ‘street dance’, BUT there is just so much more to enjoy!
Read on to find the dance style for you!
Before we break down individual dance styles, we are happy to tell you that our classes are non-competitive, fun and informative and we pride ourselves on helping you unlock your inner dance artist. B-Better also aims to raise self-esteem, motor skills, memory, fitness and social skills. Our teachers welcome everyone regardless of age, ability, sex or experience, and help them get the best of themselves.
And now, let’s find the dance style for you!
Breakin’ / B-Boying / B-Girling
Breakin’ is thought of as the original HipHop dance style. First appearing in New York, in the early seventies, breakin’ was artistically fuelled by James Brown footwork and latin dances.
The term ‘breakin’ is thought to have some from one of two different meanings, which depends on who you talk to:
- The ‘breaks’ in the music being played by Father of HipHop, DJ Kool Herc .
- Reaching your ‘ breaking point’. The South Bronx in the early seventies was a difficult place to live and through social hardship, and occasionally there may be outbreaks of anti-social behaviour. Translated to dance, when the music hits you hard enough, you have to react!
The 5 main elements of breakin’ include:
- Top rock (the standing part),
- Go downs (getting down to the floor in interesting ways)
- Footwork (using shuffles and sweeps like the 6-step)
- Power moves (spin moves which may occur on ANY part of the body) and
- Freezes (the punctuation of your breakin’ set where the body is held in interesting shapes).
Try this dance style if: You have bags of energy, a desire to explore explosive power and want to seriously impress at social occasions! And remember, breakin’ will feature at the 2024 Olympic Games, so get to practice. See examples here: b-boying / b-girling
Locking is a dance you may recognise by its expressive gestures, and it’s an easy one to get into.
This funk dance style originated in California in the late 60s. Don Campbellock put together a collection of popular dances of the time, and his inability to perform the ‘funky chicken’ actually led to the creation of ‘The Lock’.
Some movements include:
- The Atlas / Uplock
- The Lock
- Pimp Walk
- Uncle Sam Point
- The Rocksteady
We recognise locking by the highly expressive performance, locked / held movements and positions, and the sweet funk music!
Try this dance style if: You like dance styles that are easy to understand and can be expanded in measurable ways. Locking is funky and attractive to the eye in social circumstances, whilst also not needing great athleticism to enjoy. See example here: locking
Hustle is the most celebrated partner dance form in the underground dance scene and is gaining popularity by the day. Also known as the ‘New York Hustle’ and ‘Latin Hustle’, this dance, although first popularised in the 70s, has found a new audience in the modern day, through the industry and invention of Jeff Selby.
You can recognise this dance by the timing (‘and one, two, three’) and the cross body position of the partners, whilst also observing the freestyle tricks of the dancers when separated.
Try this dance style if: You want to try partner dancing (which is a great way to socialise) and want to be one of the cool kids at the club! See example here: New-Style Hustle
Waacking / Shway
This is a style for the performers amongst us.
Originating in the gay clubs of Los Angeles in the 70s, waacking / whacking/ wacking, was born out of ‘punking’. Punking is behaviour, acting or mimicry. The artists that frequented these clubs would pretend to be movie stars and other iconic figures of the time. The word ‘punk’ was used as a derogatory term for homosexuals and the community took ownership of this word and gave it a grander meaning.
It’s thought that the ‘whack’ was just one of many gestures performed while punking and the term was spelt differently in order to avert the negative connotations of the term ‘whack’. Shabba Doo, the creator of Shway style (‘Shabba Doo’s Way) waacking, is thought to have been the first straight man to go to the gay club and discover this style and a number of modern day movements can be attributed to him.
Waacking can be recognised by, fast arm movements, dramatic performance and groovy disco music. Wherever waacking dancers are, it’s a party!
Try this dance style if: You dance with your arms a lot. You love disco music and like to be the life of the party. You want to connect with music. See an example here: waacking
From the clubs of Chicago and New York, House dance was born. Although House music has been popular in UK for decades, the public knowledge of this icon of dance styles is little known.
As clubs and music changed, so did dance, and
House dance can be recognised by footwork, jacking (the groove of the dance) and lofting (floor moves). A number of Hiphop steps also occur in the House form, which further amplifies it’s range.
Try this dance style if: You like footwork. You want to connect to music. You love House music! See an example here: House
Vogue / Voguing
From the ballrooms of New York, voguing was born. Inspired by ancient hieroglyphics, the military, martial arts and magazine models, a beautiful form emerged.
Although Madonna’s song of the same name brought worldwide attention to voguing, the style has since become much more public. There are three recognised forms of voguing: Old Way (pre 1990), New Way (Post 1990) and Vogue Fem (1995).
Chances are, an image of someone dropping on their back is a lingering image of vogue. We call this a ‘Dip’. We can also recognise this dance style, by strong, angular movements made with the limbs, and a very deliberate execution of performance. Discover more about the history in the award winning film, ‘Paris is Burning’.
Try this style if: You have an interest in performance. Also, try this style if you want to impress at social occasions. See an example here: Voguing
Popping is one of those dance styles that EVERYONE tries from time-to-time. Known by some as ‘body-popping’, this style was born in California in the late 1960s and has a history as rich as any other style. The ‘body’ part of the term is a commercial add-on by the less informed, in much the same way as ‘breakdance’ was a popular term.
A ‘pop’ is a short, sharp contraction of the muscles, and wherever you can gain muscle control, you can pop. Different forms recognised under the popping umbrella include:
- Boogaloo / Boog Style (Loose movements with hip and chest rolls)
- Tutting (Inspired by ancient hieroglyphics, like Vogue!)
- Strobing (The illusion of moving under a strobe light)
- Waving (The illusion of passing energy around your body)
- Gliding (Using feet to appear to float along the floor)
This dance style can be recognised by any one of these forms, but the pop itself is the most important feature.
Try this Popping if: You want to improve muscle control and timing, add an ingredient to your dance repertoire or develop a seemingly superhuman way of moving. See an example here: Popping
The fourth of our dance styles from California, Krump is one of the younger ones. Born out of Clowning in the early 2000’s, this style is one like no other.
Often misunderstood by the observing public, Krump is a highly energetic dance, with a great sense of performance and connection to the music (like waacking). Krumpers also also cheered on by other krumpers when they dance (like Lite Feet, see next section).
This dance can be most easily recognised by:
- Arm Swings
- Chest hits (like in popping, above)
- Facial expression and performance
Try this style if: You have a lot of energy to expend, you desire a safe outlet for strong feelings and you want to try a truly unique street style dance. See an example here: Krump
The youngest of the dance styles on our list is Lite Feet. Born out of Harlem, New York, this form is truly one to enjoy.
The term ‘Lite Feet’ was coined by Anthony ‘AG The Voice’ Glover (or, The Voice of Harlem). AG would chant, ‘Get the light feet going, get the light, the light’, as dancers would perform at local social occasions, particularly basketball games.
Moves that occur in the Lite Feet form include The Tone Whop, The Bad One, The Rev Up, Aunt Jackie, The Lock In and more.
Lite Feet can be recognised by:
- Spectators chanting the dancer’s name
- Ankle moves
- Dancing on the ‘and’ counts (super important)
- Jump ins (this occurs at the end of a detailed and engaging build up
Try Lite feet if: You want to explore a little known style, you like footwork and you want to grow in confidence. See an example here: Lite Feet
Perhaps the most universal of all the dance styles, HipHop is for you!
As music changed in the mid-late 80’s, dance did too and while some people were still Breakin’ (see above), others were evolving into more social dance forms.
HipHop dance in it’s own right is always changing, as music changes. The ‘Bart Simpson’ dance was born in the nineties, whereas the ‘Cat Daddy’ was born in the early 2010’s. Historically, HipHop dance could be recognised by the ‘Bounce’ or ‘ Rock’ grooves. Although these rules still remain, there some interpretations of this dance which just have ‘the feeling’ in their execution.
Try HipHop if: You have any interest in street style movement. See an example here: Hiphop .
If you’ve read this far, head over to our Classes page and see which styles are on offer this season! Now you’ve learnt some dance styles, learn some dance slang or find out which styles feature at our dance event this month.