What Is Urban Dance? A Quick Guide

In 2021, there are over 66,200 dance studios in the US. Dance is a fun way to express ourselves, blow off steam, get some exercise, and learn about other cultures! Needless to say, it’s an incredibly enriching experience that gives us some skills for life.

There are many types of dance classes out there, and one that’s been growing in popularity is urban dance.

What is urban dance anyway? Read on to find out!

What Is Urban Dance?

Urban dance is a type of hip-hop dance, but with more freedom and improvisation. There are actually several different types of urban dance, including breakdancing, popping, locking, etc.

In fact, if you grew up in the 2000s, you might remember breakdancing being extremely popular. Those who danced this style of urban dance were called b-boys and b-girls.

Controversy Over the Name

Starting in 2020, especially after George Floyd’s death, many dance studios are abandoning the term “urban dance”, as there’s speculation that it’s a derogatory term. More specifically, “urban” is used as a way to stereotype the community and is used as a nicer way to say “ghetto”.

The alternative nowadays is to call it “street dance”. So when looking for classes, some studios might list their classes this way. Otherwise, other ones (like this program) still call it “urban dance”.

Types of Urban Dance

We’ve mentioned some types of urban dance above, but maybe you aren’t sure of what these dances entail. Here’s a brief urban dance guide!


Breakdancing (or breaking) involves using your entire body to pull off amazing, almost acrobatic moves. Some even say it looks like martial arts, as many moves involve maneuvering expertly to get from the ground to a standing position, and vice versa.


Popping actually first came on the scene back in the 1970s, which means it’s been around for quite some time. This funk dance mainly focuses on tensing your muscles and relaxing them to the beat of the track. YOu can either do this in a fluid or intentionally jerky motion, depending on the effect you wish to achieve.

There are subgenres of popping, including the robot and boogaloo.


This is also a type of funk dance and is often combined with popping. With locking, you’ll maintain a position while you perform other movements with your arms, hands, and feet. These actions are typically done in a rounded fashion.

Get Into an Urban Dance Class

Urban dance is a great way to get active and enjoy yourself with some excellent music. Because there are so many styles available, it’s always a good idea to check out several classes before you settle on one or two.

Once you’ve found a good studio, then learning urban dance will change your life. Grab a few friends to enroll with you and have some fun!

To learn more about dancing and other arts, check out the rest of our blog.


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