Sunday, October 20, 2013

Videos of Old School Hip Hop Dances From The 1980s & 1990s

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post showcases five videos that demonstrate "old school" Hip Hop dances. I believe all of these dances are from the 1980s and the 1990s, but I'm not sure of that.

The content of this post is presented for folkloric, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

WARNING: Some comments from and from the YouTube videos that are embedded in this post include profanity and the "n word".

Also, remember that multiple songs & dances may have the same or similar names and some of the videos for those dances aren't suitable for children's viewing.

by cazort Mar 31, 2004
"old school
Anything that is from an earlier era and looked upon with high regard or respect. Can be used to refer to music, clothing, language, or anything really."

From Spoot Juice May 23, 2004
"old school
1) Retro
2) As Before (as something was done, said, etc.)

1) Those shoes are so old school!
2) We're just kickin' it ol' school!

"Kickin it" = "doing it"
Given the age group of the majority of the population in the United States who use the hip hop coined term "old school" [ages 45 and under], at this time "old school" appears to mostly refer to R&B/Hip Hop music/dances from the 1980s and the 1990s. That term also appears to be a mostly positive, nostalgic reference to African American clothing & hair fashions and slang from the 1980s and the 1990s.

"Old school" music isn't the same thing as "old time music". "Old Time Music" is the formal genre name for American banjo & fiddle music that is from the 19th century and the early 20th century. A lot of that music has Black American roots, although nowadays it is mostly performed by non-Black musicians & singers. Click for an example of an Old Time Music song entitled "Shout Lula".

(These videos are posted in chronological order with the oldest dated video presented first.)

Example #1: Throwback dance moves from the 80s and 90s

verballyunspoken, Uploaded on Feb 24, 2009

Just being silly and showing off my How many throwback dance moves can you name? Put them in the comment box. I hope you have fun watching..cuz I had a blast making this


1) It takes Two - Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock
2) Humpty dance - Digital Underground
3) Push It- Salt N Pepa
4) Every Little Step- Bobby Brown
5) Control - Janet Jackson
6) Poison - Bell Biv Devoe
7) Pleasure Principle - Janet Jackson
8) What Have You Done For Me Lately - Janet Jackson
9) Don't Be Cruel - Bobby Brown
10) Ruffneck - MC Lyte
11) What about your Friends - TLC
12) Can't Stop no playa - Da organization
13) Whichaway - Intoxicated

I don't know the names of all..I just know how to perform the dance moves..if anyone can name these:

1) the Alf
2) Humpty Hump
3) Reebok
4) Running Man
5) Snake
6) ????
7) Whop
8) Prep
9) L-V (some call it the heel-toe)
10) The Heavy D
A commenter wrote that #6 was called “the poison dance”. But that commenter added question marks to the end of his or her comment meaning that he or she wasn’t sure about that name.
“Poison” is a record name by Bell Biv Devoe [listed as #7]

Example #2: Throwback Dance Moves-Part 2

verballyunspoken, Uploaded on Mar 3, 2009

It's Part 2 Ya'll...there were a lot of dance moves in the 80's and 90's. I'm takin' ya'll back with a suprise at the


1) Straight-up - Paula Abdul
2) Groove Me - Guy
3) Feels Good - Tony! Toni! Tone!
4) Back to Life - Soul II Soul
5) ALright - Janet Jackson
6) Girls Dem Suga - Beanie Man ft Mya
7) Rebirth of Slick - Digable Planets

1) Roger Rabbit
2) Robo Cop
3) Heavy D
4) Cabbage Patch
5) ??? (It was in Janet's "alright" video..)
6) Butterfly & Bolo
7) Bobby Brown
8) The "Carlton" Dance

Example #3: Old School Dancing

oaklandtobrentwood, Uploaded on May 27, 2009

Old School Dancing 101
"101" [pronounced "one oh one"] means something that is fundamental (basic; beginner's level). The term "101" comes from the course number that is given in United States universities & collegs for entry level courses in a particular subject.
Dances (from subtitles in the video)
the camel walk
Mc Hammer
Biz Markie
Cabbage Patch
Body Talk
Polio Medfly
69 Yoke “N”
Penguin Walk
Ms. Pacman
Fluke “N”
???? [means the dancer wasn’t sure what this dance is called]
The Smurf [not the 1-2 Step]

Selected comments from that video's viewer comment thread:
24ohmy, 2013
"The names are right for Cali. The names for the same dances sometimes were regional. In LA we'd have one name but my cousins in Philly, NJ, NY had a different name for the same dance."

tony, 2009
"the mc hammer was actually called the "Shaka Zulu" "

oaklandtobrentwood, 2009
"in Oakland, Ca. We call it the Hammer"

Guyver X, 2009
what's the name of this song?

oaklandtobrentwood, 2009
"Its a old school song called "Yella" "

Frostgrl681, 2013
"Hold up ...the dance you are doing is not Fluke N . That dance was called the Prep"

Frostgrl681, 2013
"Uhm excuse me sir but your MC Hammer dance is actually the alf dance"

Example #4: Teisha & Kia Do Old School Dances

NewKiTV, Uploaded on Jul 21, 2009

...Teisha & Kia Pay Tribute To Old School Dances-salt n pepa, mary j. blige, hammer etc.
One of the women said that these dances are from the late 1980s and the early 1990s.

No dance names are given. The records' names are given as subtitles.

Example #5: Hip Hop Old School Dictionary


COSMOSUKR, Uploaded on Dec 26, 2010
Note that hoaxer87 (2013) identified these dancers as the”world famouse ELITE FORCE CREW (MOP TOP), Henry Link and Buddha Stretch”

Here are the names of the dances that are demonstrated in that video as indicated by subtitles and the dancers' calling out the dance names:
The Smurf
The Wop
Cabbage Patch
Happy Feet
The Fila
Here's a comment from that video's viewer comment thread:

37janie, 2013
"Everybody tells us smthing confusing. Last week at the Street Dance Kemp in CZ Henry Link taught that the Reebok is actually the Gucci. Just sayin for those who want to learn.

Yo and the 'Mike Tyson' move(which is not in this video but I dont mind mentioning it) is just a variation of a running man.

Peace yall #Always a student"

My thanks to the musical artists whose songs are featured in these videos. Thanks also to the dancers and to the publishers of these videos on YouTube. Thanks also to all those who are quoted in this post.

Thanks for visiting pancocojams.

Visitor comments are welcome.


  1. Many thanks for all the work you put into this post. I was looking for the names for the Old School dance moves, for the animal characters in the kid's novel I'm working on. Your post gave me all I need! It also made me homesick. I moved from the US about 10 years ago, to the UK. And we may speak the same language...but we don't. Thanks again. Best wishes, Sara

    1. Thanks for your comment, Sara.

      This was a fun post to work on. I'm glad it's helpful to you.

      Your children's novel sounds great. Please let us know all the title when it is published!

      And, yes, Britsh English is often quite different than UK English.

      I wonder how many of these dances were done in the UK-and with the same names.