Dancing away distinction: queering hip hop culture through all style battles

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This article analyses how ‘all style’ battles facilitate a queering of hip hop’s dance floor. ‘All style’ battles incorporate various ‘street dance’ styles and their respective music genres (such as breaking, popping, locking (freestyle) hip hop, waacking, krumping and house). The intermixing and joining of divergent performativities, styles and cultural histories reconstitute hip hop’s rigid hierarchies of gender and sexuality by offering a site that celebrates plurality. In doing so, all style battles bypass the foundations that inform and legitimize hip hop’s heteropatriarchal distinctions, including the naturalization of an inherent, stable gendered self. ‘Queering’ the dance floor calls into question all bodily performance previously organized through gender. It exposes the stylization of the body, and the logic it rests upon, as an artifice. Through queering the dance floor, this article shows how all style battles can deconstruct, disrupt and expose the hierarchized heteropatriarchal distinctions in hip hop culture, calling attention to their arbitrary constructedness.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-26
Number of pages14
JournalQueer Studies in Media & Popular Culture
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019


  • hip hop
  • breaking
  • dance
  • street dance
  • gender
  • sexuality
  • queer


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