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How to Choreograph a Hip Hop Dance Routine

Preparing to enter a hip hop battleground? Well, you need to be ready to fight it out because these dance competitions tend to be tough. Learn how to choreograph a hip hop dance routine to create something that will have your competitors worried.
DancePoise Staff
Last Updated: Dec 10, 2017
'Save the Last Dance', 'Stomp the Yard', 'The Step Up' series, are all hip hop dance movies that have gotten more avid dancers interested in this style of dancing. It is no wonder then that hip hop dance battles are becoming all the more common with people putting in a lot of effort to come out tops. If you are taking part in a hip hop dance battle, then you will need to choreograph a hip hop routine. We will tell you how.
Choreographing a Hip Hop Dance
One of the most energetic dance styles out there, setting a hip hop dance number is not only a lot of fun but also challenging. It can be a real test to set a routine that not only pushes the dancers but also gets the audience excited. We will tell you how to choreograph a hip hop dance routine in easy steps.
Assess your Dancers
As the instructor choreographing the dance, your first task would be to check how good your dancers are. To choreograph a good routine, it may not be important to have brilliant dancers but it is imperative that the dancers do the steps given to them with perfection and an illusional ease. In order to give them the right steps, you need to know what their skill level is. A beginner to dancing will find it difficult to perform the same routine that someone who has been dancing for several years will find easy. If your group is made up of new and old dancers, trained and untrained dancers, then you need to choose a routine that treads the middle path and finds everyone on the same page. Challenge your dancers but do not push them to do improbable things. Once you are more familiar with what the dancers can do, you will find it easy to set the routine.
Select your Style
The next decision that you need to take is to decide on the style of hip hop dancing that you want to choreograph. This is a decision that needs to be made after taking into account the choice of your dancers. There are many different styles of hip hop, from the tough street styles of b-boying, popping and locking to the more emotional lyrical hip hop. Again choosing the right style of hip hop is important. If the style is not something that your dancers are comfortable with, then the dance routine may turn out to be a disaster. One thing that you need to remember while choreographing a hip hop routine is to let it seem improvisational. Whichever style you decide on, remember to incorporate this into your dance.
Choose a Song
Once you have decided on a hip hop style to dance on, picking a song becomes slightly easier. It is important that the record you choose matches the rhythm that you want the routine to have. Always spend some time picking out a collection of songs for your dance routine and then narrow it down. You can choose to select a single song or choose to mix a couple of songs to create a record that is more reflective of your dance style. Also, if you are going with a story or a theme for your routine, then the song needs to keep pace with that. If your song is a complete antithesis of what you want to portray with the routine, then your dance will not have the effect you want it to have.
Set your Routine
Now comes the actual task of choreographing the routine. If you have experience with setting hip hop routines, then this should be the easy part for you. Watch hip hop dance videos to get an idea regarding what is new on the street. Incorporate these into your routine. Make a list of those steps that you can use in the song that you have chosen. Work with your dancers and ask them for suggestions. Identify the mood of the song across different sections of the music and set steps accordingly. Concentrate on the beats. It may be advisable to first concentrate on the footwork and then add in the hand and arm movements. While choreographing the steps, divide it into steps on the count of eight. This makes it easy to practice the steps.
Once you have set the routine, it is up to you to get your team to practice regularly. It may be a good idea to practice in a room that has mirrors so that the dancers can see for themselves how the routine looks. Have group steps which will make the routine look more cohesive. It may also be a good idea to set apart a section for solos of the more talented dancers in the group. Perform the routine in front of someone who is not a part of the group for feedback. Learning to choreograph a hip hop dance routine is something that will take time and perseverance, but when you see your routine being performed on stage, there is nothing that can match the elation.