December 2014 | 2 Tips for Hip-Hop Teachers | Know Your History

Photo by Michael Higgins

Photo by Michael Higgins

Know Your History

By Geo Hubela

Tip 1
More and more people are hip-hop dancing today, so be in the know and teach your students the history behind the movement and its terminology.

Most believe the term “hip-hop” was coined in the early 1980s by pioneering DJ and producer Afrika Bambaataa. Hip-hop is a melting pot of artistic elements that originated in the South Bronx in the early 1970s and spread through New York City and subsequently throughout the world. It encompasses rap (music), turntablism (DJing), breaking (dance), and graffiti (art). These elements provide the framework for the culture and will forever remain present in the hip-hop genre.


Tip 2
Breaking, or b-boying or b-girling, is one of the major elements of hip-hop and an extremely athletic style of dance. Breaking has been influenced by movement forms from many cultures, including Afro-Brazilian, Latin styles, martial arts, Russian folk dance, and West Coast funk styles. The term “b-boy” came from DJ Kool Herc, who, at parties in the 1970s, gave the name to dancers who saved their best moves for the “break” section of a song. B-boys and b-girls display their technical skills and aggressive attitude in “battles,” in which dancers try to top another dancer’s or crew’s moves. One of the most famous break crews to date, the Rock Steady Crew, was founded in 1977 and is still in existence.

Geo Hubela is the co-founder and director of ICON Dance Complex in New Jersey. His ICONic brand activities range from to the ICONic Boyz hip-hop troupe to instructional DVDs.