One of the styles of dance that I think goes underrated is the style of Hip Hop. Nowadays with more and more musicals getting more urban, this style of dancing needs to be encouraged. If any young ones want to make it in today’s Broadway scene, they need to be versatile in many forms of dance including Hip Hop. And within that genre of dance there are so many sub-genres like BBoy, Pop And Lock, and one could even argue that Voguing is an off shoot of hip hop. The first ever Hip Hop Musical was called So! What Happens Now?
Here’s a great video from how Hip Hop is being used today!
Their is a rich history associated with musical theater dance, one which extends into the fine arts world of ballet, into to the lively world of modern dance as well as the more decadent realms such as vaudeville, cabarets and burlesque halls.
Although it is now considered to be racist and shameful form of art, in the 19th century minstrel shows had an extensive role in bringing dance to the stages of America. Performers would blacken their faces to bring a more lively portrayal of the African people, they used Irish jigs, hard shoe and clog dancing as ways of entertaining their audiences. The dances which were developed by these traveling performers were what was used as the standard for jazz and tap.
It was not until 1936 when the well known ballet choreographer George Balanchine helped play a changing role in the world of theater dance, where it was once seen as a mere diversion from a story line, one that displayed beautiful bodies and fancy moves, Balanchine brought in a certain sophistication and a classical side to the stage opening the doors for other classically trained dancers to enter.
After Rodgers and Hammerstein teamed up in 1943 to create the always classic musical Oklahoma! Agnes DeMille not only became the very first, significant female choreographer for Broadway performances, her dances were turned into major plot forms, her innovated ways paved the way for well known plays such as Singin´in the Rain to make it all the way screen. Dance was now well on its way from having an incidental role in musical theater to having a central role.
Musical theater style of dance is not one dance for, it is a combination of many dance art forms. Each play and musical implements the styles and techniques that will best suit the story plot making it unique and lively, dramatic and if needed even mundane, theater style dance is so combined it is one of a kind.