In the 1970s, in the streets of the South Bronx of New York, driven by a desire to get away from it all, a group of young people got together, invented names for themselves (Kool-Hurc, Phase-2, Grand Mixer D.S.T) and invented a dance: breaking, characterised by the acrobatic nature of the figures on the floor. In a circle, the ‘Bboys’ wait for the DJ, at the controls of two turntables, to set the tempo and start scratching and breaking. One boy breaks away to dance, then another, each in turn. This is breaking, the origin of hip-hop dance.
In the 1980s, the hip-hop movement crossed the Atlantic and had a huge impact in France. It began to take off between 1982 and 1984, thanks to the audiovisual media. People were dancing in the big cities, from Les Halles in Paris to the rubble of the collapsed tower blocks of Les Minguettes in Vénissieux. Groups were formed. Young people danced and invented a street culture, a multidisciplinary language in which dance echoed graffiti and rap. They express themselves through words, gestures and paint. They meet not in gangs but in “possee” to exchange ideas and steps.
Hip-hop gradually blended break and stand-up dancing, with each dancer having their own style: locking, popping, boogaloo, new style, krump, etc. Hip-hop takes its inspiration from whatever it likes. By incorporating a wide range of techniques, hip-hop is enriched and dancers have more and more gestures and movements at their disposal. In hip-hop dance, you can recognise African dance, capoeira (Brazilian dance and sport), Spanish flamenco, Indian dance, acrobatics, contemporary dance, jazz, butô (Japanese dance), etc. It is thanks to all these dances that hip-hop is evolving.
Dancers come together in “battles” or “challenges”, competing in “crews” or solo. Today there are competitions with an international reputation, such as the famous “Battle of the Year”, which brings together thousands of young people every year.