With our next international competition right around the corner, we wanted to take a look at how street dance brings people together across the Six Nations that we invite to compete. In France, Germany, Ireland, and the UK, hip hop and street dance culture have well and truly entered the mainstream. 'Street Dance' and 'Hip Hop' are universal terms for the dance styles that we all know and love, but what are the similarities? What are the differences? Read on to find out…
In the UK, street dance hasn’t stopped growing in popularity. Classes that teach street dance styles from waacking, popping, locking, freestyle, breaking, dancehall, and much more have been added to the bill at many a dance school across each nation. Even the top performing arts training colleges and universities recognize the importance of street dance training; street dance styles are highly sought after in the commercial dance world. Events like the prestigious Breakin’ Convention in Sadler’s Wells theatre have been bringing street dance to the forefront of contemporary culture, and what’s more, street dance competitions have sprung up all over England, Scotland, and Wales. It’s not just popular in big cities – although the battle scene in London is hard to top – as street dance schools are the beating heart of small towns and communities. Dance schools have opened their doors to children of all walks of life, involvement in street dance provides young people with a wealth of opportunity to develop professional skills, confidence, and determination.
Across the sea, Ireland has had a similar journey bringing hip hop into the mainstream. According to the Culture Trip, hip hop has not been traditionally associated with Ireland at all, yet the popularity of the dance style is soaring. Hip hop music has steadily grown its Irish fanbase, and consequently the dance style has gained a strong following. Much like the UK, street dance schools can be found in big cities as well as rural towns, and provide young dancers with a community in which to flourish.
And how does this compare with the Continent? En France, bringing street dance into everyday life has taken a similar journey to that in Ireland; a love for hip hop music sparked a long-term interest in the dance styles associated, and street dance studios have opened their doors to thousands upon thousands of dancers as the years have gone by. Despite being the founding nation of ballet, street dance is taught at many a dance school in the tricolore nation. What’s more, the French government provides plenty of funding for the dance style to grow, with events being sponsored by the Ministères de la Culture et l'Education. According to the Local, one of the most popular events in France last year was a street music festival, encompassing dance and urban arts.
The popularity of street dance in Germany has taken a similar turn, and has been especially popular within immigrant youth culture. Diversity in German street dance industry is key to its success, and street dance classes encourage self-expression and unity.
As such, street dance across our Six Nations support young people to develop and grow, encouraging dancers to follow their passion and hone their craft.
What’s your favourite aspect of street dance in your country? Let us know! @udostreetdance