A Quick introduction to Street Dance in London
Street Dance is literally, and figuratively, everywhere. Once Flawless and Diversity went head to head on Britain’s got talent back in 2009, Street Dance in London and around the country was never the same again. In this article we’ll cover:
- A brief history of the London street dance scene
- Some events that we’d recommend you attend
- Training spots where you can meet other dancers
- An introduction to some London-based dance icons
- Signposting you to street dance classes in London
If you’d like to fast-forward to our classes, click here.
Ok. Here comes your ultimate guide to Street Dance in London. First we must ask, ‘What is street dance?’
What is Street Dance?
Street Dance is an umbrella term for a number of different dance styles. Street Dance, in itself, is not a foundational dance style and is a mix of different dance styles
Typically, when we see Street Dance, it’s personalised choreography or personalised movement utilising techniques from different styles. These may include, but are not limited to:
- Hip Hop
- House footwork and more
For your reference, examples of these styles and more can be found here.
The individual dance styles are typically born from the club, social circumstance or literally performed on the hard concrete by those who innovate in the style. In playgrounds and on pavements across the world, Street Dances are always being created. Some people say that Tap Dance is the original Street Dance and there some strong grounds for that theory, BUT…
..There are even older dances out there AND you didn’t come here looking for Tap 😉
Now let’s look at some…
London Street Dance History.
GWI / Street Dance XXL
I’d like to start with a few events, such as GWI, which stands for Get With It.
GWI was an event that came about back in 1995 and was created by James Nahr. This event later became Street Dance XXL.
A number of groups that we know and love today started at GWI or were formed during this era including Flawless, Diversity, Boy Blue and Kymberlee Jay. Street Dance in London REALLY took hold with the birth of GWI
Jump off was an event which was all about the battle. At Jump Off there were various battle disciplines including production, rap freestyle, singing and of course dance. The Street Dance competition at Jump Off was hotly contested and if you won 7 weeks in a row you got £1,000. Not bad for 2005! Perhaps the most recognised rivalry in Jump Off history was between TTP and K.I.
In future iterations of the event, a group named Prototype defeated all who came before them and the baton was naturally passed to another monster group called IMD
Currently, The Jump Off is not running but we hope it will return. See the latest on their YouTube channel. Although a multi-disciplinary event, focused on entertainment, Jump Off was integral in the development of Street Dance in London.
Here are some other historic Street Dance events and club nights that shaped our community:
We have to mention a nightclub called Madame JoJo’s which was based in Soho and closed in 2014. Every Sunday, Free Your Soul, curated by Groove Sanctuary and D-Lo, was a night that united the underground dance scene and truly was one of the ‘Four Pillars’ of our community. The other three are Funk Off, Throwdown and Trocadero.
Throwdown was an event that took place every second Thursday of the month. The event was built more heavily around Breaking, but several other dance styles could also be seen there on a monthly basis. We expand on Throwdown more in this post.
Lastly, I would like to mention an event called Funk Off which was a weekly Friday evening event in Islington created and run by DJ Zulu. Funk Off unified all lovers of funk, disco and boogie music and was one of the ‘Four Pillars of our dance community of the time.
Did YOU go to Funk Off? Check this gallery for a blast from the past. Let’s now introduce some more personalities of Street Dance in London.
Next I’d like to name some important people in London Street Dance culture.
Boy Blue entertainment, created by a Kenrick Sandy and Mikey J Asante, is an award-winning company which has changed the lives of hundreds of dancers since its creation. Boy Blue continues to sell out shows wherever they are headlining and Kenrick continues to have the passion to create. Did we mention he has an MBE? Find out more about Boy Blue here.
Next I’d like to give a mention to David Vilo also known as D-Lo. D-Lo changed the shape of the London underground dance scene by putting on events by bringing dancers from around Europe to share their energy at UK events. We will expand on D-Lo’s history in a future post, but please know that Street Dance in London would NOT be what it is now without him. In the meanwhile, please click here to see his next event.
Against the odds, Kym impacted the dance industry in a way that many had not seen previously. She’ll be the first to tell you that when she burst onto the scene most commercial dancers didn’t look like her and most commercial dancers didn’t move like her. She broke the mould with her talent and and exuberant presence. She went on to become a Nike ambassador and to this day has inspired us all.
Kym has created numerous performance platforms including ‘Serious about Street Dance’ and ‘Come Together’ and was my first inspiration as a presenter too. We will expand on Kym’s story in a future post. See what she’s up to NOW by visiting her website.
Kate Scanlan / Scanners Inc
Next I’d like to mention Kate Scanlan. Kate is the creator of Scanners Inc which is an organisation which produces artistic platforms and acts as a consultancy also. Kate is the proprietor of The Bridge (an annual block party), Pete’s Pop Shop (a tour with Electric Boogaloos’ Poppin’ Pete) and co-produces Move It, Europe’s biggest dance expo. I could go on, but please know that Kate is at the centre of a LOT which is amazingly powerful in our scene and community.
We cannot talk about Street Dance in London without mentioning Clara Bajado.
Clara’s presence here in the UK scene is truly remarkable. Whether in education or events, parties or panel discussions, Clara is truly one of a kind. A talented dancer, teacher and truly beautiful spirit, she is someone I admire a lot! Clara facilitates a number of events on the dance calendar, with perhaps the most important being Juste Debout UK. We expand on this event below so read on.
The Waacktitioners were UK’s first dance crew in the Waacking dance style. The crew was created by Kumari Suraj and Damien Anyasi (me!) through B-Better, back in 2009. The Waacktitioners went on to make Waacking a much loved and widely spread style in the British Isles. This team changed Street Dance in London for keeps!
Although on a break, The Waacktitioners still operate as soloists and occasionally as collaborators. The members continue to inspire in a number of fields across the artistic world and, I’m pictured above with other founding members 🙂 ! I miss these guys
If you’ve ever been to Pineapple Dance Studio, you will have seen Lil-J’s classes advertised. In the game for more than 20 years, many who come to London from around the world will have headed to Pineapple and taken class with Lil-J. Whether you knew it or not, Lil-J is a long time educator of Street Dance in London.
You can find out more about Lil-J and her classes here.
Empire House Family
Empire House Family has been running since 2014, putting on events with free entry, free fruit and dope House DJs. As battle hosts and icons of 4 To The Floor (see Events below), Empire House Family are major contributors to the London scene for House lovers.
T-Boy and Inga
Next I’d like to mention Tomas ‘T-Boy’ Drafi and Ingrida Bertasiute for the work that they do with the Hustle dance scene. Although one of the lesser-known dance styles, commercially speaking, there are thousands of people worldwide that Hustle. Inga and T-Boy have brought Hustle to a wider audience. Their connection and partnership have inspired and continue to inspire many and through their hard work and the hard work of others we now have a very rich and beautiful Hustle scene in London.
Special mention to my partner Nikolas Snode for being the brains behind Hustle LDN – a place to find all the latest news and events. Click here for Hustle dance in London.
Definitives / Glenn Hudson
The choreographer of Definitives, Glenn Hudson, has always created work that you have to watch. Glenn’s vision which is reflected in the cleanliness and precision of his choreography is truly something unique and any Definitives video that you can find will reflect our thoughts more clearly than we can say.
Avant Garde / Tony Adigun
We have to mention Avant Garde. Tony Adigun’s company, Avant Garde have been around for nearly 19 years and always created unique and inspiring HipHop and Contemporary work. This company has developed amazing talent and performed on and created platforms around the world. Do yourself a favour and find out more here.
Frankie J is a major inspiration to ALL of us and his list of artistic credits only scratches the surface of his impact on the dance scene.
A beautiful spirit and awe-inspiring blend of technique, imagination and soulful performance, Frankie is endeared to all who have the good fortune to see him perform. The ‘Red Dread House Head’ is a spirit of the London scene. Find out more here.
Jay Jay Revlon
DJ, host and London voguing icon, Jay Jay Revlon has helped to cultivate a rich and vibrant ballroom scene here in London. We will expand on Jay’s work in a future post, but for now, find out where the next Kiki is taking place by visiting his Facebook.
Before we go on, if you’re not sure what a Kiki is, our comprehensive directory of Street Dance slang will steer you right 🙂
Brooke and Roxanne Milliner
Ok, honestly, to cover the story of these sibling artists is going to be EXPANSIVE. Athletic, versatile and expressive with a maturity in battle and performance, if you’ve never heard of Roxy or Brooke, you can thank us by sharing this guide. Seriously, these guys are THAT important.
Multiple time national and world champions in Breakin’, Popping, Locking and mixed discipline street dance competitions, one day someone is gonna write a book on them. They are THAT relevant to our scene’s history.
Brooke appears in the TTP vs K.I. video above and both siblings make up part of team Prototype in the second video from Jump Off. Dude, they even share the same birthday. What are the chances?!
We will expand on their individual stories in future articles. You will not want to miss them!
‘Coach Kev’ or DJ Renegade was the mind behind Broken Jazz, Soul Mavericks, Flowzaic breakin’ crews and Monsterz popping crew. You can find out more about Soul Mavericks and Flowzaic in our Ultimate guide to Breakin’ in London.
An international DJ and judge, Renegade is an important personality and energy in our scene. We will share more of his story in a future article and really find out more about his role in Breakin’ being featured at the Olympic Games in 2024.
Michael ‘Bagsy’ Oladele
A versatile dancer and energetic presence in our scene. Bagsy is proprietor of Werk The Floor, a weekend dance experience where international artists join for battles, parties, workshops and good times – all in London city!
Bagsy has a great international reach and spearheads male Waacking in the UK at this time. A face of Street Dance in London.
Kieran ‘King K’ Warner
Recently winning the ‘Rising Star’ award from One Dance UK, Kieran is the major driving force behind the Lite Feet dance community in the UK.
Creating the event LiteFest in 2017, you CANNOT have experienced this style in Europe without having heard of Kieran. Expect more waves to be made this year as he continues to inspire, educate and unite the masses.
Finally, I’d like to mention Future Formalities, a young group of hip-hop dancers from East London who have a real presence across the battle scene and performance scene.
There are TONS of people and organisations we could have listed here who have supercharged our Street Dance in London so let us know who you think is missing. There is much to cover, so let’s look at training locations now.
Street Dance training spots
DIScOnnection Jam – Holloway, North London
DIScOnnection is an event that takes place once a month in Holloway, currently. This jam session is curated by Angelika, Tru and Tiago and is built on a love of the Waacking dance style, and is a welcome addition to the Street Dance in London scene.
Be sure to check their Facebook page to find out when their next event is.
Centre Stage Studioz – Maryland, East London
Next we have Maryland Studios also known as Centre Stage. This studio in East London holds sessions every Tuesday night that start at 10pm and go on till 2am the following day. If you like the late night training and want to be around some of London’s most talented movers, this is the place for you.
The address is:
1 Gurney Road, E15 1SH
The Yellow – Wembley, North West London
Next we’re going to mention a location that we touched on in our Breakin’ article. This place is The Yellow.
The Yellow is one of the newer spots in London and serves the Wembley area. Open training takes place every Wednesday from 7.30pm-10pm and costs only £3. Expect dancers with different artistic motivations to be present and be sure to bounce ideas with them. Click here to see a video of the dance activities at the Yellow. Street Dance in London is starting to take hold in deeper corners of the city.
Find The Yellow at this address: 1 Humphry Repton Ln, Wembley HA9 0GL
Royal Festival Hall – Central London
Next I’d like to mention Royal Festival Hall, a central location with shiny floors. Do check the timetable before you attend as often there is only silent training allowed so you won’t be able to play music from a speaker. People of many different styles go to this location to train and it’s still quite underground, unless you’re in the ‘In Crowd’, of course. The session takes place on the lower floor by the cloakroom and has mirrors.
The address is: Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX
Foreign Natives – Studio B, Brixton, South London
This event takes place on the first Friday of the month, but please check their Instagram just in case.
A Hiphop-focused jam and exploration event, Foreign Natives is starting to gain traction here in London and we have Chaldon ‘Raven’ Williams to thank for this.
The address is: Studio B, 130 Brixton Hill, SW2 1RS
Electric Slide – Camden, North London – Returning soon
Finally we would like to mention Electric Slide which is our very own training space in Camden. This training session will run every Friday and is open to all levels and all dance styles. What’s unique about Electric Slide is typically there is a specific musical theme at each event.
Special Historic Mention – Trocadero, Piccadilly
Trocadero, in the West End was truly the home of Street Dance in London and was one of the ‘4 Pillars’ of our community. Alongside Groove Sanctuary / Madame Jojos, Throwdown and Funk Off, the training sessions at Trocadero reflected a golden era in London’s Street Dance history.
Although it’s unlikely Trocadero will ever be replaced, Royal Festival Hall is currently the most central universal dance training spot. Troc, you are missed :’-(
Street Dance events in London
4 To The Floor – Monthly event
4 To The Floor (4TTF) is a monthly event usually held at Book Club in Shoreditch East London. This party takes place on the 3rd Sunday of the month and is a House lover’s dream. Ricky Boom, Jay Carder and the team keep the bangers coming and many of London’s House dancers, Voguers, Waacking dancers and Hustler’s hit the floor every month. Club life and Street dance in London are in good hands.
4TTF has been an organic adopter of the energy of those that used to attend Groove Sanctuary at Madame JoJo’s. At the time of writing we have since discovered that Madame JoJo’s will reopen and we are all hoping to regain that ‘good old days’ feeling.
Floor Rippers – Monthly event
A truly novel event, Floor Rippers is a total hip-hop event with a live band! Launched in 2011 in Old Street, Floor Rippers is the kind of event you HAVE to attend if you are in town. That feel-good energy will stay with you for a long time. Catch their latest news here.
Rain Jam – Quarterly event
East London-based Rain Crew hold a quarterly event called Rain Jam which is a solid platform for b-boys and b-girls to compete. Rain Crew will often collaborate with other organisations to create something which appeals to a wider range of dancers and artists. Look them up and mark your calendar.
D-Lo Ent. Events – Regular Events
D-Lo runs a number of events across the yearly calendar including House Dance UK, The Jam and Circle Burnerz. As mentioned in the brief bio earlier, D-Lo has been pivotal in the development of the London dance scene and his events are always a vibe.
Find out which event is coming up next on his Facebook Page.
Deja Vu Events – Regular Events
Yann, the proprietor of Deja Vu, and I used to actually dance in the same group. I promise I’ll try and find a picture.
Deja Vu Entertainment run an event at least every 3 months and typically they are: ‘Upfront’ (Commercial showcase) in April, ‘Breakout’ in the Spring, ‘Dancers Delight’ in October, Dance Awards in November, ‘Set 4 Set’ and a host of other regional events.
A direct look at Deja Vu events can be found here .
Breakin’ Convention – Annual event
Possibly the most revered showcase of Street Dance in London, Breakin’ Convention, has been running every year for more than 15 years. This dance platform, educational experience and cultural moment of significance, is a must for dance fans all over.
Get set for the next event approaching in Spring and full details can be found here.
Juste Debout UK – Annual event
This event is the qualifier for the main Juste Debout event that takes place in Paris annually. The event is curated by Clara Bajado, who is mentioned above. This year another event called ‘6 Corners’ makes up part of the Juste Debout UK program and is , essentially, crew vs crew. We are super excited at the prospect of this event, and for an experience of Street Dance in London, this is it!
Find information on Juste Debout UK here.
LiteFest – Annual event
The next event we have to mention is LiteFest. LiteFest is an event that is centred. on the Lite Feet dance style. Although young, in essence, to the public, Lite Feet is not a young style. LiteFest, the event, has grown from strength to strength and in just 3 years and now has international qualifiers for the main event in London. If you are unsure of what Lite Feet is, please check our dance styles page here.
This event is curated by Kieran ‘King K’ Warner (mentioned above), and takes place in September. All details can be found here.
Ante Up – Monthly. Returning soon
Next on the list is our very own Ante Up!
Ante Up! is a monthly dance battle, which is similar in essence to Throwdown (mentioned earlier). We cannot wait to relaunch our platform and do our part for Street Dance in London. Ante Up! will return to a venue near you soon, so stay tuned on our page here.
Street Dance competitions
It is important to mention some different kind of events and street dance competotions are big business nowadays. There is UDO (or united dance organisation) which holds several events around the world and around the UK all year. Check their website here to find the nearest competition to where you are.
There is a unique energy around competitions of this nature so we advise you to attend where you can and get a sense of the difference between UDO or BDO competitions and the underground dance battles.
There are TONS of events, but by finding these ones, it will open up your vision to others.
Let’s go on the classes.
Street Dance Classes in London
Introduction to Street Dance Classes in London
If you are looking for a class of Street dance in London, without any real direction, you may end up somewhere you don’t plan to be.
If you just want to dance and just want to learn choreography, any class that features one of these words will probably be suitable:
In classes of this nature you are bound to sweat and you are bound to use your body fully.
Studios where classes of this nature may be found include:
Special mention – Studio B, Brixton
Studio B list the most street style dance classes per week in London and you should definitely investigate their timetable, particularly if you’re in South London.
The full studio B schedule can be found here.
Special Mention – Studio K, Richmond
Studio K is based in Richmond, South-West London, and is the enterprise of The Waacktitioners own Kleio.
Visit Studio K for classes in a mix of styles from the classics to Locking. We can heartily recommend Waacking with Mademoiselle Ginger, listed below.
The full timetable for Studio K can be found right here.
If you are looking for classes where unique styles and specific dance technique is required or learnt, the list that follows is where we can advise you to attend.
Street Dance Choreography Classes in London
For choreography, we are fans of:
- Birdgang at Studio 68
- Kenrick Sandy at Studio 68 (listed above)
- Glenn Hudson
- Niklas Milling
- Kloe Dean / Myself Dance Company
- Sam Fleet at Base Dance Studios
- Dylan Mayoral
- Ombrascura Dance at Base Dance Studios
- Lil-J at Pineapple
Locking Dance Classes in London
- Jimmy Williams at Pineapple Dance studio (listed above)
- Yaw Darko at Base Dance studio (listed above)
- Calvin Francis at Pineapple Dance studio
House Dance Classes in London
- Turbo at Base Studios
- Houstyle with Ladybird at Studio B
- Clara / Indahouse at Studio B
- Bly Richards at Pineapple Dance studio
HipHop Dance Classes in London
For hip hop, please reference this article.
Breaking / Breakdance Classes in London
For Breakin’, please reference this article.
Waacking classes in London
For Waacking, we advise:
- Mademoiselle Ginger at Studio K, Tuesdays 7.30pm
- Disconnection (listed above)
- Shway with DeeDee
- Waacking with Geni Lou at Pineapple Dance studio
Voguing classes in London
For Vogue classes in London we advise:
Popping Dance classes in London
For Popping we advise:
- Fiyahouse on a Friday at Base Dance Studio
Dancehall classes in London
Soca Dance classes in London
For Soca dance classes we advise Zaia Arts
Afrobeat Dance classes in London
- Ignition Dance (listed above)
- Patience James G.O.P. at Base Studio
K-Pop Dance classes in London
Conclusion and Summary
In conclusion, there are lots of street dance classes in every city around the world. To ensure that you get the class you desire always try to find video and reviews of the teacher and class. If you’re looking for somewhere to train, try to connect with somebody that already trains there. If you can’t, just go along – dancers are typically a friendly bunch.
If you are looking for events, stay tuned to our social media and be part of the community and dance ecosystem. We touch on the importance of community in this post.
If there are any people, places, classes or other things of importance you would like to see listed in this article, please contact us. I will happily oblige where possible. If you’ve read this far, you are officially a contributor to Street Dance in London – we thank you!
Thanks for reading and see you in class,
See our ultimate guide to Breakin’ in London here!