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Popular Types of Dance – List of Top Dance Genres

24 January 2020

Popular Types of Dance

Dance has been a part of human culture since the very earliest communities and
civilisations, with recorded evidence of dancing being found dating back to 30,000
years ago.

Since then, different dances have changed, merged and evolved into what we
know today as the most well-known dance genres.
Here is a list of the most popular types of dance:
1. Ballet
2. Ballroom
3. Contemporary
4. Hip Hop
5. Jazz
6. Tap Dance

Top Dance Genres

1. Ballet

Ballet dance developed during the Italian Renaissance, before evolving in France
and Russia into a concert dance meant for public performance. This is in the form
of a ballet, in which the dance is choreographed with classical music.
Ballet productions vary between using elaborate costumes and staging and using
minimal costuming and bare staging.

Ballet is now a widespread, highly technical form of dance with many subgenres
including classic, romantic, neoclassical and contemporary.
With six core recognised methods: the Cecchetti method, the Bournoville method,
the Vaganova method, the French School, the Royal Academy of Dance method
and the Balanchine method, ballet is studied professionally at top dance schools
all over the world.

2. Ballroom

Ballroom dance is a type of partner dance originating at the end of the sixteenth
century in France. Commonly used as shorthand for any partner dance, ballroom
has today evolved into two main subgenres – standard/smooth and Latin/rhythm.
Dances within these categories include the waltz, tango and foxtrot, and
pasodoble, bolero and samba.

Ballroom is a popular form of competitive dance, or dancesport, with competitions
being held all over the world.

3. Contemporary

Developed during the mid-twentieth century, contemporary dance is now one of
the most popular and technical forms of dance studied and performed
professionally, especially in the US and Europe.

Drawing on classical, modern and jazz dance styles, contemporary dance has
evolved to incorporate many characteristics of a broader range of dance forms.
Known for its emphasis on strong torso and legwork, contract and release, fall and
recovery and floor work, it is often known for unpredictable and disordered
changes in speed and rhythm throughout a performance.

4. Hip-Hop

Hip-hop dancing refers to a range of street dances that developed in relation to
hip hop music and culture. Hip-hop dancing dates back to the early 1970s in New
York and California, evolving out of Funk and the development of break beat.
Main styles of hip hop dancing include Breaking, Locking and Popping, with
derivative styles emerging out of these including Memphis Jookin’, Turfing, Jerkin’
and Krumping. These were often popularised and made mainstream after being
featured in music videos of the time.

Today, hip-hop is performed in outdoor spaces, in dance studios and competitively.
Unlike many competitive dance styles, hip-hop is often improvisational with dance
crews challenging each other to dance battles.

5. Jazz

Jazz dancing has its roots in seventeenth-century African traditions, brought to the
Americas via the Atlantic slave trade as slaves continued dancing traditions in
Brazil, the US and elsewhere on the continents.
Known for its improvisational and dramatic body movements, the jazz dancing
grew in popularity in early twentieth-century jazz clubs.

Today, jazz dancing builds on African American vernacular dance styles that
emerged along with Jazz music in the US. Swing, the Lindy Hop, the shimmy and
the Charleston are popular kinds of jazz dances.

6. Tap dancing

Tap dancing is a type of percussive dance characterised by the “tap” of shoes
hitting the floor as the person dances. Tap dancers often wear metal “taps” on the
heel and toe of a shoe to accentuate the sound.

Often performed as part of musical theatre, tap dancing often focuses on
choreography and formations, with more than one tap dancer performing at once.
Tap dancing characterises a range of dances including flamenco, rhythm, classical,
broadway and postmodern tap.