Encyclopedia of Dance: Street Dancing


Street dancing is an unusual mix of directions, born in a storm of emotions. At the junction of styles, the dancer’s desire to be different from others, new dance trends appear in the world

The term «street dancing» means dances that are performed not in choreographic studios, but in various public places: in clubs, discos, on the streets and schoolyards. There are no strict rules here, and there is only one rule — everyone has the right to individuality.

History of occurrence

Street styles such as locking, pop locking, breakdance began their history in the United States in the 70s of the last century. More modern trends — hip-hop, krump, funk — gained prominence in the 80s. Young people, gathering together, arranged a kind of dance competition — battles. At first they were spontaneous, and then they began to organize in advance. For such competitions, the dancers began to prepare specially, to invite fans and spectators. Now such competitions are held annually both locally and internationally in different parts of the world. The most famous of them are Battle of the Year and Juste Debout.

Usually performances of street dancers are improvisational in nature, but ready-made numbers are also included in the competition. The development of street dancing does not stand still. And now new elements, directions, styles, currents are being created. There is also a process of combining more traditional styles with street styles, which leads to the emergence of new, rather original hybrid forms of dance, such as, for example, street jazz.

What is street dancing?

Under the general name «street dances» dances of different styles and directions are combined. Each of them has its own technique and its own characteristics. These are dances that are performed with pleasure, and not under the pressure of strict norms and standards. The mood of the dancer today and now is the main content of street dances. The performer focuses on individuality and originality. For the sake of creating his own individual style, the dancer is not afraid to mix and interpret the movements of other dance styles in his own way. Improvisation is the main feature of street dancing. Even performances prepared in advance do not have a rigid framework, and can be changed under the influence of the momentary mood of the performer. The feeling of the dancer is an important criterion for how appropriate this or that movement is in each particular case. A change in the emotional state of a dancer can lead to a completely new, original interpretation of a dance number.

Street dance

Features of street dancing

The original form of demonstration of their choreographic skills by dancers is the so-called fights. The term was originally used to refer to break dancing, but is now applied to other forms of street dancing as well.

The action is as follows. In the center of the hall or on the street, a place is vacated for dancers. Spectators stand around and cheer on those performers that they like. The judges, together with the audience, determine the winners. Usually the dancers demonstrate their skill in turn, unless it is a prearranged group number. Representatives of one team of hip-hop dancers are called gangs.

Another type of such competition is called «wall to wall». The performers stand in a straight line facing each other and perform impromptu dance moves. This type of competition is used less frequently, since in this case the possibilities for the manifestation of individuality are limited.

An integral part of the dance battles is a demonstration of respect for the participants in the competition for each other and, especially, for rivals. Aggressive showdown, fights, inappropriate behavior are not welcome.

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