Debate over dance styles

Cynthia Rossi and Jessica Powlen

As I was scrolling through Instagram one day, I embarked on a post that would later inspire a serious conversation about the dance world and even this very article. It was a post that made me truly realize how few people fully understand how diverse the dance world is and how many people’s careers depend on its variety. Yes, the Instagram post dared to say….that hip hop is the only style of dance that matters.

When I first read the post, my initial response was to fire back immediately. I wanted to counteract that Broadway shows such as The Nutcracker and Cats depend on other styles of dance besides hip hop. That on shows such as Dancing with the Stars and World of Dance, there are so many different styles that are brought to the table and it makes for extremely interesting and attention-grabbing entertainment. That if “hip hop is the only style of dance that matters,” the entire entertainment industry would be completely different.

When it comes to modern music videos, and even concerts, backup dancers are more commonly found in today’s culture performing an upbeat hip hop routine rather than a super technical ballet piece. However, that doesn’t delegitimize a “super technical ballet piece.” It is just how the entertainment world has evolved. For example, in the early 1900s, tap was extremely popular. However, tap is still an extremely popular dance style and is considered one of the basics for younger children when they start dancing.

Hip hop may be an entertaining style to watch and perform, but there are several others that are essential for being a good dancer, such as ballet, which is the foundation for almost all forms of dance, building the technique needed for growing in other styles.  Ballet is a very well known and loved form of dance. Just imagine The Nutcracker performed as a hip hop routine—Eck!

Tap is a significant style because it increases ankle strength and teaches musicality.  Every tap step made emphasizes rhythms to the music that no one knew existed.

A third very important dance style is lyrical/contemporary.  This is a form of dance mimicking ballet, but without technique needed.  This style is all about feel and expressing your emotions through movement.  It can be as soft as ballet, or as powerful as hip hop. Without this type of dance, no dancer would have a way to display their own feelings to the audience.

Now, I’m not saying that hip hop isn’t important. Hip hop has been incredibly influential in the entertainment industry and has provided many powerful hip hop dancers with a platform to share their talents with the world. Hip hop just simply isn’t “the only style of dance that matters.” Variety and diversity are terms that have such a huge impact on the dance world and that is why every style of dance deserves its own proper recognition.