Hip Hop Dance Moves

Hip Hop Dance Moves

Hip hop dance moves keep dancers moving to the beat of contemporary music all over the world. Although the roots of hip hop music are in Reggae and rap, hip hop dance moves are more influenced by African Dance and gymnastics than any other source. Try your hand at the following moves that are among the most popular, beloved hip hop dances around.

Popping and Locking

Popping and locking is a basic staple of hip hop dancing. This is a largely improvisational dance by its nature, so you have freedom with it. However, some basics are as follows:

  1. Alternate how you contract and relax your muscles in the arms, legs and torso. Do so in quick, pop-like motions.
  2. Flex the muscles in your arms, legs, or torso (sometimes simultaneously) and grind your shoulders, then pause and remain in place for a specific amount of time, thereby "locking" it. For example, you may opt to bend your arms at your elbows, holding your hands in the air. Lock it.
  3. Count to three (or other designated time) to the music, then pop into another position, locking it again.

If you click on the photo below, it opens up a step sheet that you can use to better learn these dance moves with a visual aid. Download and print the step sheet using Adobe Reader so you'll have a portable version to practice with.

pop and lock diagram
Click to download this pop and lock diagram.

Soulja Boy

The Soulja Boy is both the stage name of a successful young rapper named DeAndre Cortez Way and the name of a hip hop dance that he helped to popularize. Try to approach this dance with a laid back attitude and have fun with it.

  1. Relax your limbs and stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Jump and simultaneously cross your feet. Now, jump back to your starting position with your feet shoulder width apart.
  2. Kick your left foot back as you bend your knee. As you do this, touch the bottom of your foot.
  3. Twist your hips from side to side.
  4. Now, adjust your weight and sit back into your right hip, with your left knee slightly bent. Keep your toe on the ground. Loosen up your arms and hold them just lower than shoulder height. Next, move your arms back and forth as you twist. Lower your arms and snap your fingers as you lean back.
  5. Bend your knee slightly, then move your right foot and touch your toe diagonally to the left. Move your left foot and touch your toe in line with your right shoulder. Bend your knee as you lift your right leg and touch your knee with your hand.
  6. Turn to the left with your entire body. Bring your hands together, palm to palm, and hold your hands together at chest level, pointing out.
  7. Push off with your hands, swinging your arms to opposite sides. Lean forward while lifting your right leg with bended knee. This step is meant to mimic flight.
  8. Keep your feet shoulder width apart, then jump to the left three times before jumping to the right three times. Repeat. As you move to the right, your arms should swing to the left and vice versa.
  9. Repeat these steps on the other side.

The SpongeBob

The spongebob dance first rose to popularity in Baltimore, Maryland, clubs in the 1990's. It's a fun dance move that's easy to do. Despite a popular misconception, the spongebob dance is not related to the character SpongeBob SquarePants. Once you get started with this dance move, you'll realize that, the more you try it, the easier it becomes.

  1. Start by standing straight with your legs shoulder width apart and your arms straight by your sides. Kick your right foot behind your left knee for one count. Your legs should be making the shape of a figure 4.
  2. Kick out to the right and simultaneously hop to the left a few inches with your left foot.
  3. Place the right foot firmly on the ground and lift up your left foot. Kick your left foot behind your right knee for a single count, once again making the shape of a figure 4, but with the legs in the opposite place as before.
  4. Kick to the left. At the same time, hop to the right a few inches with your right foot.
  5. Repeat the above steps several times in succession. Do this until you can pick up the pace while maintaining your balance. It will eventually be hard for people to see precisely what you're doing with your feet.

The Moonwalk

The moonwalk is probably most closely associated with Michael Jackson's beloved, iconic performance of it during his performance of Billie Jean on the Motown 25th Anniversary Special in 1983. You know a dance move made an impact when it's still being discussed decades later. The moonwalk is still popular, and it's a fun dance move where you appear to be walking forward when you're actually moving backwards. It looks complicated, but the steps are actually very simple.

  1. Lift your left heel and leave only your toes touching the ground. Simultaneously, slide the right foot back.
  2. Smoothly shift the weight and repeat with the opposite side.
  3. Repeat this several times in succession to complete the move.

Click on the image below for a printable diagram that you can use to better learn this dance move.

moonwalk diagram
Click to download this moonwalk diagram.

The Running Man

The running man just may be among the most beloved hip hop dance moves. You'll likely have a lot of fun with this one.

  1. Turn to your side. Start with your feet together and arms hanging loosely at your sides.
  2. Lift your left leg up high as you bend your knee, forming a 90-degree angle. As you do so, also lift your arms and bend them as you would if you were actually going to run. Close your hands into fists.
  3. Push down and back simultaneously with your left leg. Now, lift your right leg up as high as you did with your left leg. Bend your knee at the same time, forming a 90-degree angle. Push your arms down with more relaxed fists.
  4. Repeat Steps 2 and 3 several times in succession, and you will find yourself mastering the running man.

Keep On Dancing

Master these steps to get a great grasp on hip hop dance moves. While it is still developing in the streets, hip hop has crossed the line to mainstream culture. It is taught in dance studios and community centers, and it's even a featured dance form on popular shows like So You Think You Can Dance. Like most fun dances, its growing popularity is guaranteed to keep hip hop a staple of contemporary dance culture.

Hip Hop Dance Moves