How to get better at hip hop dancing
Quick And Dirty Hip-Hop Tips
Nothing good ever comes easy, so if you really want to master hip-hop you’ll need some determination and dedication. Luckily, you’re only ever a few block away from your next class. Once you set your heart to it, hip-hop is easy to master if you keep in mind these quick and dirty hip-hop tips.#1 – It’s okay to be chill
When you’re dancing hip-hop, you need to relax your body to let the music guide you. It’s okay to be chill, and in fact it’s better. You definitely do not want to look stiff. Even though some hip-hop moves like locking may feel a bit rigid, you need to relax to achieve those smooth moves. There’s no way you’ll be able to enjoy the rhythm if you’re moving like you’re got a stick up your backside.#2 – Loosen up your feet and arms
This isn’t ballroom dancing, you don’t need to create a frame around your body with your arms. And in fact, you want your legs and arms to be loose so that they’re relaxed (see above) and ready to go where your moves take them. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and keep your knees slightly bent so you’re ready to try any dance move that comes your way. Arms by your sides—not crosses, not fidgeting. Just let them hang so you stay relaxed when you start to move to the music.#3 – Wear something comfortable
If you want to be able to master all those smooth moves, you’ve got to wear comfortable clothes. You may choose to wear something more form-fitting when you take your moves on the road—but when you’re learning go for something comfortable.
Even though you’ve just bought some new super cute sneakers and there are about million leggings in your closet that you want to try with that cool crop top you picked up, be sure to wear something that feels good on your skin and that lets you move around with ease. That means sneakers that allow you to slide easily and clothes that let you move. Nothing can spoil a dance class more than tank top slipping off (wardrobe malfunction, here you come), or a stiff shoe putting pressure on your joints.#4 – Learn the moves
Everything feels challenging at the beginning, but there’s no need to be discouraged when you catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror during your first class. Don’t worry about nailing the perfect swagger, focus on learning the moves. It’s true that hip hop is a super accessible dance style—almost anyone with a sense of rhythm can pick it up—but that doesn’t mean you can just wing it without learning the basics.
Once you have learned the core moves though, the world is pretty much your dance floor. You can mix and match your moves and create a customized flow that feels all your own. In the beginning, concentrate on remembering the dance patterns. When you do, you’ll have an easier time down the line picking up the speed and improving your overall performance.#5 – Know your body
Once you know the moves, get to know your body. Hip-hop is special in that to really master it, you need to bring your own personality to each and every movement. And the dance itself is made up of a lot of isolated moves that require focus and precision. To be able to master new moves you need to think about every part of your body as a separate entity. So start with getting to know your body first—try some light yoga or Pilates at home on the side. Continuous movement and exercise will help you learn more about yourself and how your body moves.#6 – Feel the music
Everything in hop-hop comes back to the music. Whether it’s old school hip-hop like Dr. Dre or more modern hits from Drake and Kanye, the music is what shaped this culture and made it so fun. You need to feel the music to be able to follow the rhythm. Almost every song has a symmetrical pattern, so if you pay attention to the beat and bass, you’ll notice that it all feels so right. The beat is your unspoken dance pattern in everything you do, so relax and let it move through you.#7 – Start from the bottom
We all start from the bottom, not only Drake. When you’re beginning with hip-hop, don’t get discouraged. Start with the beginner moves like the Dougie, stanky leg, and popping. Even shuffling your feet counts—try the classic T-step or the running man. Anyone can master these moves with just a little bit a rhythm and dedication. Once you’ve nailed the basics, you can whip them out on any dance floor, anywhere. And you can also start layering on the more complicated moves, like moonwalking and the pop, lock, and drop.#8 – Have fun!
If you’re not having fun, then what are you doing? Hip-hop is all about freedom to express yourself, about the power to be who you are and work with others to create something truly incredible. So have fun while you’re practicing and working out! Let your true self shine through. Stay relaxed, stay calm, and stay focused.
If you still want more, there are a whole bunch of useful online videos that explain the major hip-hop moves in detail, so you can practice at home before hitting a studio. There are plenty of beginning hip-hop classes in the city, though, so don’t stay home for too long! Don’t forget that hip-hop is about you—your body, your movement, your experience. So don’t be afraid to ask your instructor to show you the move again, and be sure to work at your own pace.
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3 Tips to become a better Hip Hop Dancer
Building your dance confidence, one move at at time.
We’ve all been there – walking into a dance class for the first time with those uneasy feelings. You’re not sure what to expect. “Is it going to be hard? Am I going to be able to keep up? I’ve never danced before and everyone else is going to be better than me…. ” You may be having this conversation with yourself.
Well, we are going to help you redirect those thoughts into the right mindset! Those thoughts are all components of fears and doubt, and it’s all a lie you tell yourself to back out of what you really want to accomplish. Of course, we’re going to be real with you. Class will definitely be a challenge, especially if it’s your first time dancing (hip hop). But isn’t that why we are here? To learn something NEW? Learning anything new will come with it’s struggles, but WE ARE HERE TO HELP YOU!
We have been teaching hip hop dance for over 15 combined years now, and we’ve definitely seen a pattern in some of the key things that students are missing in their approach to executing hip hop movement. We are excited to share our 3 biggest technique tips to have you feeling more confident as you enter your first class!
1. Stay grounded!
You may be thinking, what the heck does that mean? It’s quite simple actually when you recognize these things while the instructor becomes to demonstrate movement. To be grounded in your movement, you must be able to FEEL your feet press into the floor. So if someone were to try to move your foot out from under you, it wouldn’t budge.
So how do you stay grounded? Bend those knees!! You’d be shocked at how much more control you have over your movement when you make sure you are bending your knees. Also, dance in the balls of your feet, not flat footed, unless instructed to! Again, you will have so much more control as you are going from one move to the next.
2. Hinge at the waist!
So you know when you’re stretching and you bend over to reach for your toes? That is a hinge. Basically you are hinging to bring your shoulders forward and down. Or maybe you are reaching either right or left to whisper a secret in your friend’s ear.
Insert swag here! This is where you can start to add personality in your movement with some dimension. Imagine if you were to do a whole dance standing completely straight up? That may work for other dance styles, but for hip hop? Naaaaah son!!!! When you combine hinging at the waist with being grounded, that’s when magic starts to happen.
3. Understand where your weight is!
No, we are not referring to where your beautiful curves on your body are. We’re talking about, where is your weight in a series of movements? Right, left, front, back, center? Having your weight in your right foot when it’s supposed to be in your left will be an issue as you transition to the next move. So when taking class and something isn’t feeling right, ask your instructor where your weight is supposed to be. That should correlate with where you are hinging 98% of the time. You’d be shocked at what a difference a subtle weight shift can do for your movement transitions.
There you have it! Our 3 biggest tips for beginners. These are techniques that all experienced and professional hip hop dancers are aware of and are using in their movement.
So now, what about YOU?
Do you feel a little more prepared to take your first class? As we mentioned earlier, we are not going to lie to you. Just because you have these technique tips in your toolbox doesn’t mean that class will be a breeze. Your first several classes are going to come with different speed bumps. The only true way to navigate those bumps and become better is to DANCE. Yes, dance as often as you can keeping these tips in mind as you get better. That entails taking classes, and working through those kinks as you progress as a dancer.
If you’re ready to start your hip hop dance journey, we invite you to join us on a Tuesday evening for Hip Hop 4 Starters!
teaching basic movements and features of dance
Hip-hop, like any other dance direction, is best studied at a professional school. After all, only a qualified teacher will find an individual approach to a new student and teach the necessary movements. But if this is not possible, or if you want to come to class prepared, you can try to master the direction of hip-hop at home. How to dance the first movements, now we will tell.
Like any dance, hip-hop training includes getting acquainted not only with the basic movements of the style, but also with a certain philosophy. And in this direction it is special. Hip-hop came to us in the second half of the last century from the most disadvantaged areas of New York and Los Angeles. Tired of injustice, aggression and blood, teenagers, who mostly did not have the cleanest reputation, invented their own special way to resolve conflicts - with the help of dance battles and rap parties. Hip-hop is a free dance, a challenge to society and a protest against any inequality. That is why the main thing in this style is not at all the clarity of the learned movements, but the sense of rhythm, improvisation and expression of the individuality of the performer. nine0003
Getting Started: Preparation and Basic Movements
Before learning hip-hop for beginners, you should make sure that you feel comfortable doing it. According to experienced dancers, three things will help you relax and start learning:
- Appropriate environment: flat floor, spacious room, full-length mirror.
- Loose clothing and comfortable shoes. Nothing should hinder movement.
- Hip-hop rhythmic music. nine0015
A little ritual will help you tune yourself into the wave of hip-hop: stand with your legs apart, put your hands down and close your eyes. Listen carefully to the sound of the music and try to learn to hear the beat. Rock to the beat. And now you have already mastered the first movement. Congratulations! It's time to move on to more complex elements.
The basic movements of hip-hop are swing and step. You are already familiar with the first one. Now try to put your right foot to the side and stretch your right hand up. Bend your right leg, transferring your body weight to it, and lower your arm to shoulder level. Turn the body to the left, bend the left leg, and put the right leg on the toe. Now lower your right knee, arch your back and reach your hands to the floor. When you manage to complete this combination, consider yourself a good start in hip-hop. nine0003
Sign up for a trial lesson
Here are some more basic hip-hop moves for beginners:
- Starting position - standing, feet shoulder-width apart, and arms along the body. We squeeze the brushes into a fist and alternately bring forward one hand, then the other. Then we connect the legs bent at the knee: left hand - right leg, right leg - left hand.
- Starting position - standing. We jump in place and cross our legs, and bend our arms as if we were rowing.
- Starting position - standing, feet slightly wider than shoulders. We put the right leg a little back, bend the legs at the knees, which at the same time look straight. With the right hand we cover the face, with the left, folded into a fist, we put it in the region of the heart. Then at the same time we tilt our head to the right and unclench the left hand, and after that we turn the right knee and right hand to the right. nine0015
- Starting position - standing, feet firmly pressed to the floor, knees slightly bent. We put the spread fingers of the right hand on the chest, keep the elbow parallel to the floor. We bend in an arc, as if we received a blow right in the heart. Then we make two turns in different directions, straighten our back and return to the starting position. The hand at this time falls from the heart to the waist. At the end, we throw the pelvis forward again, round the back and tighten the buttocks.
You can achieve the first results quite quickly. But when you start to study closely how to dance hip hop, you will soon notice that there are no clear movements and rules in this direction. Having mastered a few basic elements, the dancers begin to improvise, create their own combinations and dance as creative fantasy suggests. nine0003
How to continue: choosing a style
If you have mastered the first movements of hip-hop from videos and photos on the Internet, it's time to choose the direction in which you will develop further. Hip-hop culture is a wide range of dance styles that differ from each other both in elements and in general mood. The main ones are:
- Breakdance is still popular basic style of hip-hop, on which the direction originated.
- Popping - rhythmic contraction of various muscle groups to the music so that it looks like jolts on the performer's body; nine0015
- Wave - smooth and plastic movements of the body, the most famous of which is the wave with hands;
- Afro-jazz - shaking mainly the lower and most prominent part of the body in women;
- Crump - energetic shaking of various limbs to the music so that it seems as if someone has moved into the dancer;
- New Style, also known as freestyle, is an improvisational dance that combines not only hip-hop movements, but also elements borrowed from more than a dozen other dance styles. nine0015
- La Style - Hip-hop, where the emphasis is on entertainment, so this style is used mainly in videos and when staging shows.
- Ragga jazz is a dance tuned to the music: the performer's legs work under the drums, and the hands become active during the recitative.
- Locking - an energetic dance with "locks" - freezing in different positions for a few seconds or periodically slowing down the movement.
- Power move is a spectacular style that includes complex acrobatic elements, handstands, various twists, and transitions. nine0015
- C-walk is a “language” dance with a criminal past that emphasizes intense and very dynamic footwork.
Women's and men's hip-hop
The next step in how to learn hip-hop without leaving home is to bring a little femininity or, conversely, brutality into your existing skills - depending on your gender accessories. The thing is that female and male hip-hop are somewhat different from each other, and, therefore, representatives of the beautiful and strong half are trained in this direction in different ways. nine0003
Hip-hop dancing for beginner girls is based on plasticity, flexibility and unobtrusive sexuality. Girls wear baggy sweatpants and hoodies on a par with men, perform sweeping movements, but their execution looks different: hips, legs and shoulders are more involved, the elements are a little smoother and sexier.
Male hip-hop, on the contrary, is more daring, energetic and sometimes even aggressive. The focus is on the work of the arms and body, acrobatic elements and movements that require strength and male endurance. nine0003
If you prefer to learn this difficult direction from videos, it is better to initially choose hip hop training, where the movements will be performed by a dancer of your gender. Together with the right technique, you will be able to capture the gender characteristics of the choreographic elements.
A few more secrets
Learning to dance hip-hop at home, without classes with a professional teacher, is not easy, but real. Especially if you add training with a few more components. Here, as in learning a foreign language, only complete immersion in the culture will help. So, here are some tips from “experienced” hiphopers who have mastered a lot not under the guidance of a qualified mentor, but at home by the mirror:
- Videos with basic exercises will help you master some of the moves, but for additional skills, it is better to turn to online courses. Hip-hop lessons for beginners are regularly held online, often live.
- Hiphop parties and hangouts will help you melt into this culture and make new acquaintances. Yes, of course, everyone will laugh at your first dances, but no one drags you to the center of the circle. While you're learning, watch the pros dance, adopt a style, and memorize some moves to practice at home. nine0015
- Clear training regimen. Only with regular practice can you achieve results. In addition, our body is set to a certain schedule, and if you exercise at a certain time, it will prepare for stress. As experienced dancers note, the optimal duration of even home workouts is two hours. This is enough for warming up, and for the lesson itself, and for stretching after.
- Additional physical activities. If you are in the mood not just for basic hip-hop movements, but for serious hip-hop elements with tricks, strengthening the muscles of the whole body is indispensable. You will need strong arms, strong core muscles, and no extra weight. This can be achieved by exercising in the gym or additional weight training at home. nine0015
- Compliance with safety regulations. Be sure to dance in comfortable non-slip shoes and loose clothing. Do not start training without a proper warm-up, and when practicing acrobatic elements, lay something soft on the floor.
Video tutorials will be enough to learn how to dance hip-hop. But to become a real dancer, you need to study the subculture from the inside. It is believed that a hiphoper has achieved true mastery when he is in perfect control of his body, does not “slow down” on the dance floor, knows how to improvise and select universal movements for any music. Hip-hop dance lends itself only to the very persistent and disciplined, those who are able to understand and accept its "philosophy of freedom". nine0003
Do not forget that there are many professionals around who are ready to help you take your first steps in hip-hop or improve the skills you learned at home. Qualified teachers of the La Boca dance club will find an individual approach to you, work out with you the technique of performing movements and even acrobatic elements. You don't have to go far: "La Boca" is located in the very center of St. Petersburg - on "Petrogradka"
Video: basic hip-hop movements
How to learn to dance hip hop at home
Each of us can become an excellent dancer, because the human body is just created for dancing. Many people have a sense of rhythm, emotions corresponding to music help to create a mood, and as for movements, they can always be diversified. Those simple steps that we give out in clubs are usually not enough to express yourself through dance, impress someone who is nearby and just get a huge positive charge. So let's start learning hip-hop! Why hip hop? Because it's easy, nice, interesting, and it's also cool to be able to dance as well as Beyoncé or Justin Timberlake. nine0003
Hard to learn, cool to fight
Hip-hop dancers usually demonstrate their skills in open combat. The so-called battle is an opportunity here and now to prove that your style is better. Also, battles contribute to the improvement of technique, the search for new movements and sequences, and the general steady growth of the dancer's skill. This technique works great in the Dragon School. All students, overcoming timidity at first, go to the center of the hall one on one with the "enemy" and show him, the teacher and themselves (first of all) that the lesson has been learned and progress is evident. Such “paired” performances help to painlessly record your mistakes and shortcomings, and at the same time borrow something new from colleagues. nine0003
That is why learning to dance hip-hop at home is more difficult. Results alone are not achieved so quickly. But home self-study allows you to get acquainted with its basics well.
A screen instead of a mirror
So, let's learn to dance hip-hop at home. To begin with, we free up space, dress more comfortably, put on sneakers. What for? Leg muscles that have become unaccustomed to regular loads can fail at the most unexpected moment, and sneakers will help to avoid sprains, the legs will warm up faster in them, therefore, there will be fewer injuries. Of course, hip-hop is no more traumatic than any other modern dance! Problems can only arise with the corners of the furniture in the room or with uneven floors. This is another reason why it is preferable to study in a special room. nine0003
But once we start, we don't stop. There are a lot of video tutorials on the Internet, it is quite difficult to choose the best one. Therefore, take my word for it and stop at the lessons from Alexander Dragon. This is not just a set of movements, but complexes developed within the framework of the author's "Quick Start" methodology. For starters, let's stretch. Let the monitor be like a mirror, repeat the movements in a mirror. Remember that a good workout is the key to the result. Let's get started!
First - to rock
Hip-hop is dominated by the concept of "groove" (in Russia it is also called "kach"). This is a drive from music, rhythm and body movement to the beat. It does not matter what the mirror shows at first, the main thing is that you enjoy it and do not intend to stop. The easiest way to catch a groove is by bending your knees to the beat. Try it! And now you can get acquainted with the simple basic movements of hip-hop dance. How to study at home? Just. Watch the video from the Dragon! nine0003
Unity of styles
When we learn hop-hop at home, a lot of questions arise. Do I need popping or is it complicated and irrelevant? Is moving like a robot cool or not? And in what sequence to comprehend all this? Yes, it is very difficult to comprehend the depth of the cultural layer of hip-hop on your own, without a mentor.