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Hip Hop Dance Moves

Ishani Chatterjee Shukla
Fascinated by street dancing styles? Here's a brief take on hip hop dance moves to get some basic shakes-n-breaks right!
If you see something is going wrong within politics and the world today, then some Hip Hop artist is gonna come along and get straight with it. If they think that there's a lot of racism going on then there's another Hip Hop artist who's gonna come out and speak their mind. ~ Afrika Bambaataa
If you've seen Tyler Gage (Channing Tatum) dance his way through the Maryland School of Arts' showcase and into the heart of his co-performer, Nora Clark (Jenna Dewan), you probably know what hip hop dancing is all about!
This dance form and hip hop songs are all part of the hip hop culture the inception of which is attributed to James Brown, Afrika Bambaataa, Clive Campbell (better known as DJ Kool Herc), etc.
Hip hop dance is over 30 years old, and its history boasts of the Rock Steady Crew, The Lockers and the Electric Boogaloos as the most influential groups of this genre who popularized such styles of hip hop dancing as breaking, locking, and popping! Let us take a look at some very popular and basic dance moves of this genre.

Hip Hop Steps for Beginners

Below are some easy dance steps that you can try as a beginner. These are not very complex and may be doubled as dance moves for kids as well!
The Heel Toe: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Jump up, not very high off the ground, and lend in such a way that your right foot is aligned directly before your left foot, with the heel of your right foot and the toes of your left foot touching the ground.
Pivoting on your right heel, turn your right foot towards the right. This movement will make your balance shift towards your left and you would feel like you're about to fall on your left. Allow yourself to start falling on your left but just very slightly and then stop the fall with your left foot by moving it out about a foot towards the left.
Jump again, reigning your weight back towards the center and land with your left heel in front of your right toe this time! Repeat on the other side.
Popping: Hold your hand at your side in a flat karate chop stance positioned such that the palm is at chest level and the arm held about a foot away from your body. Drop your fingers up to the second knuckle to make a 90° angle with your palm. Now, drop the rest of your fingers up to the real knuckles without moving anything else.
Drop your hand up to your wrists and hold it such that the elbow comes below the wrist and your hand points downwards to form a small triangle. Now, raise your fingertips and your elbow, dropping your wrist. In this position, raise your shoulder up, followed by the opposite shoulder.
By the time you raise the opposite shoulder, your active arm should be almost straightened out. Now, following from dropping the opposite shoulder, raising your opposite arm's fingertips et al, follow the steps of the previous arm in reverse to cascade down on the other side.
The movement should look like a wave which tides along one arm and ebbs down the other!
Harlem Shake: This is one of the most popular and easy hip hop dance moves for men! Stand by spreading both your feet with at least a six-inch gap between the instep of each foot and the spot on the ground parallel to the corresponding shoulder-blade. Raise up your right shoulder and push out your left hip to give you a diagonal look!
Now, go back to rest on the center and raise up your left shoulder, pushing out your right hip to diagonalize on the other side! Repeat this set back and forth, without jerking or moving anything else.
Now, while you're at the shoulder-up-hip-out routine, between going from one side to the other, do two small push ups so that the entire thing looks like you're twirling a ribbon which cascades downwards while twirling sideways at the same time! Might seem difficult but it would come easy with some practice!
Moonwalk: Ahh... this term stirs up so many memories of Michael Jackson and his dance videos! Moonwalk and Michael Jackson are inseparable names and learning how to moonwalk is on the top of every aspiring hip-hop artist's must-learn chart!
Stand with your feet a little less than shoulder width apart and place your right foot such that the right toes touch the ground beside and along the center of the left foot. Lifting your right heel, place your weight on your right foot.
In this stance, take your left foot back in a sliding rather than walking motion, keeping it absolutely flat against the ground and stop on the left toe's end along the middle of the right foot. Drop your right heel and lift your left foot at the same time, making the movement as smooth as possible.
Remember, moonwalk is all about smooth walk; no jerks, no breaks! Now slide your right foot back as you did with the left foot and switch your feet as you did previously.
Crip Walk: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Jump lightly, sticking your right foot out by about six inches. Land with the heel of your right foot and the ball of your left foot touching the ground. Jump again, bringing your right foot to the beginning position and repeat with your left foot sticking forward. The crip walk is one of the most popular dance steps due to its ease and simplicity.
These are among a myriad of dance motions and are easy for those who are just learning how to dance hip hop! I have mentioned only these moves as they are among some of the basic and easy hip hop moves to learn.
Once you get a hang of these moves and become smooth in performing these, you can merrily graduate to more complex hip hop dance routines such as Locking, Soulja Boy, Sponge Bob and some complex break dancing.
Go ahead, get yourself a pair of dance shoes, fix up a full-sized mirror in your apartment, pump up the volume on some of the best hip hop songs around and get dat body movin'!