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What Are Funk Styles?

What are Funk Styles?

Popping, Locking, Waving, Gliding…

Funk Styles covers the dances and styles performed by Poppers and Lockers to differentiate their styles from bboying and the other styles often grouped under the category of “street dance”.Popping is a style popularised by Boogaloo Sam of the Electric Boogaloos in the mid 70s and involves a sudden contraction and relaxation of the muscles which give the impression of a robotic movement (the “pop” or “hit”).


It is often combined with another style, called Waving, in which the dancer gives the illusion of a wave of energy passing through their body (through isolation of specific muscle groups), and Gliding, in which the the dancer gives the illusion that their feet are gliding along the floor (Michael Jackson’s “moonwalk” is the most famous example, in fact this move’s real name is the Back Slide). Waving and gliding alone are often misunderstood as Popping.

Other associated dances include Boogaloo, Strobing, Animation, Botting (“The robot” – there’s a lot more to it than your dad can do though) and Tutting. The dance evolved from dancing to West Coast Funk such as George Clinton (in comparison to Breaking which evolved with East coast funk) and evolved along with the musical evolution of funk.

Locking is a style invented by Don Camblelock in the 1960s. It involves a central position called the “lock” from which the dancer executes other moves such as the “Uncle Sam Point”, wrist rolls, the Whichaways, the Pimp Walk etc. Locking is a very funky style. Unlike Popping and Waving, Locking is not usually mixed up with Popping by practitioners of the
authentic style.

Popping and Locking were popularised in the 1970s by the program Soul Train and brought to mainstream attention in the 1980s by films such as Beat Street and Breakdance: The movie.