Are street dancing and hip-hop dancing the same thing? Ask five dancers and you’ll get five different answers, because while these styles do overlap, they’ve each definitely got their own thing going on, too. Hip-hop dance came first, originating from a cultural movement that started in New York in the 1970s. This is the same movement that rapping, DJing and graffiti sprang from—a movement that introduced the world to explosive yet elegant art forms that had been incubating in New York’s African American community for years.

When hip-hop broke, it broke fast. Seemingly overnight, suburban schoolchildren began break dancing and “the running man” became an aerobics class staple. Hip-hop’s expressive, energetic style incorporates popping, locking, house and most recently, krumping; all of which are fun challenges for any aspiring dancer to tackle.

Hip-hop dancing is based on a series of hard to master skills, but street dancing is more relaxed and improvisational. Street dancing is more like what you’d see in a dance club, in an Usher video or at a party. It’s something almost anyone can enjoy after they learn a few basic moves, and it’s a great way to get moving. This style of dancing is often mixed with harder-to-master hip-hop moves, and the two styles overlap so much that telling them apart is usually a personal distinction. Learning both simultaneously makes for a challenging dance experience with a party attitude and a generous amount of shaking what your mother gave you.

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