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In May of this year, the Breakin’ Convention returns to the Grand Theatre in Blackpool, with a fresh new line up that showcases some of the most exciting poppers, lockers, b-boys and b-girls that you’ll ever see.
As a celebration of hip-hop dance theatre, this festival is always a highlight, but do you know exactly where and when hip-hop dance first started?
The classification of “hip-hop dance” is actually an umbrella term that includes a range of “street dance” moves. Hip-hop culture was born in the mid-70s in New York City, and moves such as Breaking spread quickly across the globe off the back of movies and tours.
Hip Hop Dance Styles
The first hip-hop dance style, Breaking had mostly died out by the late 80s in response to the slowing down of hip-hop music. Perhaps more popularly known as “breakdancing”, practitioners of this extremely athletic and acrobatic dance style are known as b-boys and b-girls.
A funk dance style that involves holding a “locked” position for a short time before then continuing with a fast movement, and repeating the cycle. The style originated in the late 1960s and was created by Don Campbell.
Adapted from the Boogaloo cultural movement in the late 1970s. Popping is based on poses, where the dancers otherwise rhythmic movement suddenly ceases to create an exaggerated “pose”, a “pop” or a “hit”. The famous dance style known as the robot is often integrated into popping.
Linked to hip hop via mainstream exposure in relatively recent years, Krump is always danced upright to fast-paced music, is usually freestyled and involves aggressive stomps, jabs, chestpops and armswings. Dancers try to feed off and return each other’s energy.
A dance style more suited to the “head nod” or “boom bap” direction that hip-hop dance took after the early years of Breaking, Freestyle led to Club and Party dancing. It also increasingly drew from popular culture, naming steps and moves after Fila, Roger Rabbit, Robocop, Pee Wee Herman and more. Frequently, an unassuming movement by a famous celebrity would be exaggerated to form a whole new dance step. New steps are still being created today! In essence, the Freestyle of the 21st century is an evolving amalgamation of all hip-hop styles.
Hip-hop dance pioneers included Buddha Stretch, Link Loose Joint, Rosie Perez, Peter Paul, Shaik, Scoob and Scrap, but numerous groups were formed either independently of or in association with various music artists. Breakin’ Convention is one such modern group.
Breakin’ Convention is hosted and curated by UK hip hop theatre icon Jonzi D, and as well as a huge assortment of dance styles you’ll also be able to enjoy other classic elements of “the five pillars of hip-hop culture”, including DJing and Graffiti art. There’ll also be freestyle sessions going on throughout the building, so you’ll be able to enjoy The Grand in full!
Keep an eye on the upcoming dance shows at The Grand Theatre to find plenty of physical theatre performance to enjoy.
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