Encyclopedia of Dance: Popping


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Popping is a dance designed to create an illusion. Everyone can make their dreams and fantasies come true. You just need to be persistent and believe in yourself.

Popping is a dance style based on pop and hit movements, built on the alternation of rapid contraction and relaxation of the dancer’s muscles. Popping is called the dance of illusion, since many of its types (robot, wave, strobing) create the impression of unreality of what is happening.

History of occurrence dance

The dance appeared in the California town of Fresno in the 70s of the 20th century. Popping incorporated some elements of locking and other street dances. The spread of the new style was facilitated by the Electric Bugalus group, popular in the United States in the late 70s of the last century. Its leader, Sem Solomon (Boogalo Sem), came up with the original moves that formed the basis of popping and boogalo dance styles. With each muscle contraction, Sem Solomon uttered the exclamation «pop», which predetermined the name of the new dance direction. The Electric Bugalus band presented popping, which gained popularity thanks to the TV program «Soul Train».

Popping is now intensively developing. Many stars of show business use this dance as backup dancers to their songs in order to make the number brighter, more spectacular, more original. Perhaps the most famous popping artist was Michael Jackson. He used this dance direction in his numbers along with other choreographic trends, as a result of which he created an individual and unique dance phenomenon.

What is popping?

Dancers performing this style are called poppers. To achieve mastery in the art of popping, you need to thoroughly master the basic movements and only then move on. Pop is the basic movement of the entire dance style. It consists in a sharp, jerky muscle contraction and is usually used at the end of a movement, less often at the beginning.

The Fresno element involves putting one arm forward and turning the body in the opposite direction with a simultaneous double pop in the legs and arms.popping

Arm wave — a wave is a dance movement in which hands are involved. Unlike Waving, where wave-like movements are carried out by the whole body, in Arm wave the wave passes only through the upper limbs. The unsurpassed master of Weaving was the aforementioned Michael Jackson.

Kinds dance

There are seven main types of popping:

1. Waving

The style involves the use in the dance of the technique of «letting a wave» through the body and arms.

2. Gliding

The technique of sliding feet on the surface, rolling from toe to heel.

3. Robot

A type of popping in which imitation of robotic movements takes place. This style was extremely popular at certain stages. Spectators and performers were fascinated by the action, which blurred the boundaries between art and reality. The Robot style, like no other, justified the essence of popping, as a dance direction that creates an illusion. At a certain moment, the audience falls under the magic of dance and ceases to perceive the performer as a person, but associates him with a robot.

4. King Tut

Popular in post-Soviet countries (unlike the USA) direction of popping. This type is otherwise called «the style of the Egyptian pharaohs» and is based on the creation of 90-degree angles by the dancer’s body parts.

5. Strobing

Popping style, reminiscent of movements in the light of a strobe light.

6. Puppet

Puppet style. Movements copy dolls or cartoon characters.

7. Glow Motion

This type of popping is represented by movements that look like slow motion.

Popping Features

Features of the popping dance direction are also manifested in clothes. In the popper outfits, there is a craving for the classical style: the traditional elements of the artist are a hat, shoes, a horizontal striped shirt, and a jacket. Over time, the classic version of the popper’s clothes has changed, but the hat has remained an indispensable and indisputable attribute of the dancers.

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