Urban Dance and Hip Hop: A Dynamic Duo

Urban Dance and Hip Hop
Written by Corey Morgan

The world of dance is a realm of creativity, self-expression, and cultural significance. Within this dynamic landscape, two distinct genres, Urban Dance and Hip Hop, have emerged as prominent forms of movement that have captured the hearts and feet of dancers and enthusiasts worldwide.

In this exploration, we will embark on a journey through the origins and evolution of Urban Dance, shedding light on the roots that nurtured its growth and the transformative journey it has undertaken over the years.

Urban Dance: Origins and Evolution

Roots of Urban Dance

Urban Dance, often referred to as street dance, has deep roots that extend into the vibrant and diverse neighborhoods of cities across the globe. To truly understand the essence of Urban Dance, we must first delve into its humble beginnings.

Emerging in the 1970s, Urban Dance was a creative response to the multiculturalism and social dynamics of urban environments. It served as a canvas for young individuals to express themselves, narrate their stories, and establish connections within the streets and underground clubs.

Drawing inspiration from a multitude of sources, including African dance, Latin dance, jazz, and even elements of martial arts, early urban dancers masterfully blended these influences into a rich tapestry of movement.

In doing so, they gave birth to a myriad of dance styles, including breaking, popping, locking, and waacking. Each of these styles added a unique brushstroke to the evolving canvas of Urban Dance.

Evolution Through the Years

As Urban Dance continued to evolve, it spread its wings far beyond its city origins, influencing and being influenced by various cultures. The 1980s marked a significant turning point when Urban Dance became intertwined with the burgeoning hip-hop culture.

Dancers often took center stage alongside rap artists and DJs, creating a powerful synergy that fueled both art forms. During this era, iconic dance crews like the Rock Steady Crew and the Electric Boogaloos played pivotal roles in shaping Urban Dance into the captivating genre we know today.

Fast forward to the 21st century, and Urban Dance experienced a remarkable resurgence in popularity. Television shows such as “So You Think You Can Dance” and “America’s Best Dance Crew” provided platforms for dancers to showcase their talents to a global audience.

This exposure not only elevated Urban Dance to new heights but also allowed the world to witness the sheer talent and boundless creativity that thrived within the Urban Dance community.

Today, Urban Dance remains a vibrant and ever-evolving genre, continually shaping and reshaping itself in response to the ever-changing dance landscape.

Hip Hop: Origins and Evolution

Birth of Hip Hop

To truly appreciate the essence of Hip Hop, we must journey back to its humble beginnings, a time when the Bronx borough of New York City served as the crucible for this cultural phenomenon. Born in the 1970s, Hip Hop is far more than just a dance style; it encompasses music, art, fashion, and social activism, making it a multifaceted cultural movement.

One of the pivotal moments in the birth of Hip Hop was the emergence of its four core components: DJing, MCing (rapping), graffiti art, and breaking (dance). Among these, breaking, often referred to as b-boying or b-girling, quickly became a central element of Hip Hop culture.

Dancers congregated in street battles, showcasing their skills and pushing the boundaries of their art form. These battles played a critical role in not only shaping the dance aspect of Hip Hop but also in solidifying its place within the broader cultural movement.

Progression Over Time

As the years rolled on, Hip Hop underwent a transformative journey that mirrored the cultural shifts of society at large. In the 1980s and 1990s, Hip Hop culture gained recognition on a global scale, with rap music becoming a dominant force in the music industry.

This period also witnessed the rise of iconic Hip Hop dance moves such as the moonwalk, the worm, and the robot. These dances became synonymous with the larger Hip Hop movement and added depth to its expressive vocabulary.

Entering the 21st century, Hip Hop continued to expand its influence, transcending its original boundaries. Artists like Beyoncé and Chris Brown incorporated intricate dance routines into their performances, drawing from the diverse range of Hip Hop dance styles.

Krumping and jerking, for instance, gained popularity, infusing fresh energy into the genre. Beyond the dance floor, Hip Hop’s influence extended to fashion trends, language, and social activism, solidifying its place as a cultural powerhouse.

The evolution of Hip Hop stands as a testament to its resilience and adaptability. From its roots in the Bronx to its global impact, Hip Hop remains a cultural force to be reckoned with, continually evolving and redefining the boundaries of artistic expression.

Influence and Impact

Now that we’ve explored the origins, evolution, similarities, and differences between Urban Dance and Hip Hop, it’s time to turn our attention to the profound influence and impact these two dance genres have had on society, as well as their transformative effects on other dance forms.

Influence on Society

Empowering Marginalized Voices

Both Urban Dance and Hip Hop have played pivotal roles in amplifying the voices of marginalized communities. Emerging from the streets and neighborhoods of cities, these art forms provided a platform for individuals to express themselves, tell their stories, and address social issues that often went unheard.

Through dance, music, and art, Urban Dance and Hip Hop became powerful vehicles for empowerment and social change.

Promoting Diversity and Inclusion

These dance genres have also broken down cultural barriers and promoted diversity and inclusion. They transcended boundaries and brought people from different backgrounds together.

In a world where divisions often prevail, Urban Dance and Hip Hop serve as unifying forces that emphasize the shared human experience. They showcase the beauty of cultural exchange and collaboration, fostering a sense of unity and acceptance.

Shaping Fashion and Language

Beyond the dance floor, Urban Dance and Hip Hop have made a significant impact on fashion trends and language. Hip Hop culture, in particular, has influenced clothing styles, from baggy pants and sneakers to streetwear fashion.

The language of Hip Hop, with its distinctive slang and expressions, has become a part of mainstream culture, shaping the way people communicate and connect with one another.

Impact on Other Dance Forms

Blurring Boundaries

The influence of Urban Dance and Hip Hop extends far beyond their own genres. They have reshaped the landscape of dance as a whole, blurring the boundaries between styles and encouraging creative fusion.

Contemporary dance, for instance, frequently incorporates elements of Urban Dance and Hip Hop, merging these dynamic styles with classical techniques to create innovative and expressive choreography.

Dance Education

The popularity of Urban Dance and Hip Hop has led to the establishment of dance schools and academies dedicated to teaching these styles.

Dancers from around the world seek out these institutions to study and train in the intricacies of Urban Dance and Hip Hop. This globalization of the dance genres has broadened their influence and enriched the global dance community.


In conclusion, Urban Dance and Hip Hop are not merely dance forms; they are cultural phenomena that have left an indelible mark on society and the world of dance. Their influence on society goes beyond the dance studio or stage, as they empower marginalized voices, promote diversity, and shape fashion and language.

Moreover, their impact on other dance forms is evident in the way they have inspired choreographers and dancers to push the boundaries of creativity and innovation.

Whether you’re a dancer, a fan, or simply someone who appreciates the power of movement and expression, both Urban Dance and Hip Hop offer a vibrant and captivating journey through the world of dance. They serve as reminders of the transformative power of art and culture and continue to inspire generations to come.

As these dance genres evolve and adapt to changing times, their influence and impact will undoubtedly continue to shape our world.