Hip Hop Routines

There is a great sense of performance in Hip Hop routines. You are doing this dance to be looked at straight away.

It's come from the streets where rehearsing the moves and performing them were the same thing. Hip Hop routines still retain that immediacy.

So you should always be thinking about how your moves look and giving them your own attitude, your own edge.

Personal interpretation of these moves is more encouraged than in many other dances. So you don't have to concentrate so hard on dping each individual move perfectly – although if your aim is to be a backing dancer for one of the big R n B performers, you are going to have to do everything very precisely!

But that's a way off for now, while you are still a beginner.

As there is such a strong element of performance to Hip Hop routines, you can quite often find yourself a class that congratulates itself with frequent rounds of applause - as you'll see in our online class...
How fantastic it is to be in your first class, perform a short routine and get a round of applause!

These Hip Hop dance lessons are great – very encouraging and very motivational.

However, as there is such a performance element to Hip Hop routines (and because the lessons are usually packed full), classes are often split into smaller groups once the routine is fully built.

Individual groups then perform the final routine while the rest of the class watches.

This is always scary for newbies and (as you may have read elsewhere on this site) is something that turns a lot of people off learning to dance.

But hopefully, in Hip Hop, it'll just bring out the performer in you.

As a point of good dance class etiquette, if you are split into groups to perform the routine, when you are not dancing, politely watch and applaud those whose turn it is to dance.

You may often find this is the time when the groups of those not currently dancing simply practise their own moves (which is OK) or just start talking amongst themselves and paying no attention to the pupils who are dancing (which is not OK).

Respect a dancer (even a very new one) when they are performing and give them the support, attention and encouragement they deserve.

And if you lead by example, hopefully you will get the same respect in return.

Hip Hop Music

Music is obviously a huge part of Hip Hop classes and you better like it loud!

We've never, ever been to a quiet Hip Hop lesson. And as nearly all of the music used to accompany these classes is brand new or very recent, it gives the whole class a feeling of being in a club.

This is great – it helps relax the pupils and encourages more freedom of movement than a standard class set up.

And a heavy bass beat supports the moves so well that it really helps you dance. You should try to feel the moves when you hear the beat.

So, you will have learnt the first eight beat part of the Hip Hop routine with just the teacher's instruction. Now it is going to be set to music for the first time.

It is at this point it can all come together magically and you'll be amazed at how professional your dancing looks. Or it could be a disaster. And it won't depend on the quality of dancing, either.

A really good teacher will have carefully planned what kind of routine to build to what music track. And a really, really good teacher, like Lil' J can build a routine that easily adapts to different beats.

See this in action in our online lesson.

So, a great teacher knows how to properly choreograph Hip Hop routines that work with lots of different beats.

But, sometimes, the timing of the routine that you've built and the timing of the music in your class won't match.

We've seen this happen enough times to mention it here.

You may find that you've practised your first block of eight beats of dancing at a certain pace, only to find that when the music comes on for you to dance to, it is faster and you've suddenly got to speed up your moves. It just happens that way sometimes.

Hopefully your teacher will correct this and speed up the practise or find a slower beat to dance it to.

But if you find it too fast, try slightly fewer moves done well, rather than squeeze all the moves in messily.

So perhaps leave out the arm movements for now and concentrate on getting the steps right with just your feet.

And as we said, never ever spin faster than you can control it.

Fortunately this mismatched music thing only happens occasionally. And often, a good teacher will play a blast of the music they want to set the routine to first, at the beginning of the class, so that you can get the rhythm in your head.

Sometimes, your whole 32 beat routine will be done to the same music track throughout the whole lesson.

This is very useful for continuity – you get used to the music and where you should be on each beat.

The down side of this is it makes for a crappy class if you don't like the track the teacher has chosen! And it gets very repetitive.

Other times, you will find that, in order to spice up the class a bit and challenge you more, the teacher will set the first block of eight beats to one track, then the second to another and so on until you put the whole routine together to a final track.

This is great as you get used to adapting your dance to different tracks and it varies the class a bit.

To see this in action, it's time to join in with our full length classes featuring Lil'J as she teaches a complete routine to absolute beginners...

› Hip Hop routines