Light Shoes Electrify Urban Dance Styles
The immense power of light shoes in the world of shuffling is no mystery. Wearing light shoes while cutting shapes has become a sensation in itself and we’ve already discussed it at length. However, dancers of many styles can add some flair and individuality to their routines quite effortlessly, just by throwing on a pair of HoverKicks light shoes!
Light Shoes for a Generation of Urban Dancers
Whether you’re performing in the bright lights of a stage on one of New York’s famous stages or you’re practicing in the comfort of your own living room, light shoes can be a great addition for urban dancers of all styles and ability levels.
Urban Dance Styles
The term “urban dance styles” doesn’t refer to an individual form. Rather, it is an all-encompassing term for a wide array of modern dances which blend jazz, contemporary, and commercial movements. This mixture of styles and tempo can produce any number of results, which will often be dictated by the music being danced to. One thing is for certain, most urban styles involve routines that would be complimented perfectly by light shoes!
A Brief History of Urban Dance
You can trace the roots of urban dance back to the late seventies and early eighties, allowing fans of hip-hop and its subcultures a means of expressing themselves. It gave movement to genres that traditional dances like the Salsa, Tango, and Ballet were (let’s be honest) completely incompatible with.
Funky or gritty, upbeat or slow. No two songs from hip-hop or any of the genres that it spawned are the same. As such, neither are any two urban dance styles. Choreographers and performers themselves have total freedom in their expression; and light shoes can really help nurture this expressive freedom.
A rapid change in muscle tension, from simultaneously contracting and relaxing muscle groups to the beat of the music gives popping its iconic style. In 1972, Boogaloo Sam started mixing popping into his routine. At that point, the style was nameless. Fortunately, while he performed his routine, he vocalized a “pop” with each muscle flexed and this gave the iconic dance its name—and it stuck!
Since popping is so widely used in modern dance battles, it stands to reason that adding a pair of light shoes to any popping routine may just give dancers the edge they need to beat their opponents—or impress their Instagram followers!
In the early seventies, Don Campbell began using improvised steps—now known as locking—in the bars and clubs of Los Angeles. Swift motion followed by a deliberate pause (or lock) of the dance, along with slaps, splits, and finger points quickly caught on. The style’s popularity rapidly increased after being picked up by Soul Train, a televised dance show.
Over the years, the improvisational nature of locking has lead to it influencing many urban dance styles, including those found in this article. The jerky nature of locking allows it to blend into other routines seamlessly, especially during significant breaks in the music. In essence, modern locking acts as a go between—a pause, if you will—as a prefix and suffix to more technical dance moves.
Formerly known as B-boying, the breakdancing fire was ignited in the dance battle scene of early seventies New York City. An evolution of the Good Foot style that was immortalized by James Brown, old school breakdancing was a little different to the breaking that we see today; it was just as impressive though!
Modern breakers incorporate insane headspins, crazy windmills, and a whole host of other gnarly tricks into their routines. The rapid foot and leg movements—often controlled by nothing more than the dancer’s momentum—can lead to impressive light shows when combined with light shoes!
Clowning and Krumping
Clowning and Krumping are two separate, albeit similar styles. Despite this, they often get lumped together (as in this article). There’s a good reason for that, though. In a rather bizarre twist of fate, Thomas “Tommy the Clown” Johnson invented clowning when he was asked to be a clown at a birthday party his friend was throwing during the nineties. He combined his high-energy, happy go lucky attitude with both the costume and his love of dancing. Almost overnight, clowning was born.
A decade later, krumping entered the scene. It rapidly became a more serious form of clowning and the costumes and face paint synonymous with clowning began to disappear. With the clowning traditions mostly left behind, krumping was free to become the pop culture staple that it is today.
Both styles remain fairly similar although krumping tends to be quicker—and more aggressive! In fact, to the uninitiated, krumping battles could begin to look somewhat similar to a duel between martial artists.
Of course, it is this fast-paced and headstrong display that makes krumping work so well with light shoes!
This is the first dance we’ve featured in this article that didn’t originate in this country. Electro Dance, also referred to as Tecktonik and Milky Way, was born in France at the turn of the twenty-first century. While the focus here is on energetic, often frantic, arm and hand movements, dancers still make use of their feet in a way similar to that of a shuffler.
The use of glow sticks is prominent in the Electro Dance scene. Figure eights, freehand, and points are abundant in routines and neon perfectly accentuates the movements involved. Couple the use of glow sticks and flashing gloves with a set of light shoes, and you’re in for a winner!
Light Shoes to Change the Landscape of Urban Dance Forever
The art of urban dance has grown over the years. From a chaotic collection of pseudo dances on the streets of California and New York, to featuring in videos from the biggest music stars of the modern age, the concoction of urban attitude and artistic routines doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Especially not with the likes of Chris Brown and Jason Derulo keeping things fresh!
Whether you’re popping, locking, clowning, or combining the styles; it’s safe to say that the crisp and fluid movements of urban dance styles work in perfect harmony with light shoes!