What Is Krump Dancing?

I am sure if you have been involved in the dance world you have heard the word ‘krump’ come up from time to time. So what is krump dancing?

Well, Krump dancing is actually street dance that was popularized in the United States and it is characterized by free, expressive, exaggerated, and highly energetic movements. I suppose it would fall under the umbrella of Hip Hop Dancing. Some studios however host specialized krump classes. In our studio, we tend to do introductions to all the different types of hip-hop, and then the dancers can branch out to their favorite later on as they get older.

what is krump dancing

What Is Krump Dancing?

I love watching Krump. It is hard-hitting and exciting, but not every dancer can pull it off and it is extremely exhausting to do if you do it properly.

Sometimes spelled K.R.U.M.P., which is an acronym for Kingdom Radically Uplifted Mighty Praise. This almost makes it look as if Krump is a faith-based art form. The religious slash spiritual connotation is actually intentional. Back in the 90s, a lot of young dancers pushed for krumping to become a faith-based artistic dance style.

Some even say that each movement that a krump dancer does exudes anger and hatred. Unfortunately, this is how krumping has gotten such a bad reputation over the years.

It was created by two dancers in South Central, Los Angeles during the early 2000s:

Ceasare “Tight Eyez” Wills, and Jo’Artis “Big Mimo” Ratti

The youths who started krumping saw the dance form as a way for them to escape gang life and release their anger, aggression, and frustration positively and in a non-violent way.

Los Angeles in the 1990s was a city that was known for its high crime rates. Young people of color had to live in communities plagued by gang violence, drugs, and crime. Dancing gave them an outlet to express themselves and served as a temporary reprieve away from the daily violence that they had to go through.

The root word ‘Krump’ came from the lyrics of a song in the 1990s. There was also a highly successful documentary made in the early 2000s about krump called ‘RIZE’.

You can click here to check it out via Amazon.

Clowning is the less aggressive predecessor to krumping and was created in 1992 by Thomas ‘Tommy The Clown’ Johnson in Compton, California.

In the 1990s, Johnson and his dancers, the Hip Hop Clowns, would paint their faces and perform clowning for children at birthday parties or for the general public at other functions as a form of entertainment.

Both krumping and clowning share many similarities, but there is also a world of differences between them. Krumping is more mature, its pacing is more rapid, and of course, its moves pack a lot more power and “violence.”

Clowning, on the other hand, is more easy-going, light-hearted, and fun. After all, it was meant to be a dance that serves as an introduction to dancing for kids and young people.

Originally, krump was a freestyle dance. Choreographed performances were very rare. However, these days, krump performances are being increasingly choreographed.

CBS News has compared the intensity within Krumping to what rockers experience in a mosh pit. ‘If the movement were words, krumping would be a poetry slam.’

Krumping was not directly created by Tommy the Clown, however, krumping did grow out of clowning. Ceasare Willis and Jo’Artis Ratti were both originally clown dancers for Johnson, but their dancing was considered too ‘rugged’ and ‘raw’ for clowning so they eventually broke away and developed their own style.

This style is now known as krumping. Johnson eventually opened a clown dancing academy and started the Battle Zone competition at the Great Western Forum where both krump and Clown crews could come together and battle each other in front of an audience or their peers.

Check out this tutorial and try out some basic krump moves for yourself.

What Do Krumpers Wear?

Generally, most krumpers go for loose, baggy clothing. The frenetic and often extreme moves that they perform don’t allow for skintight or restrictive clothing. For footwear, popular choices among krumpers are Timberland boots and high-top sneakers.

Many krumpers paint their faces in tribal patterns as a way to reconnect with their African roots. Meanwhile, many others use face paints as a way to assume someone else’s identity.

Painting their faces allows them to escape their day-to-day life as well as their identity by becoming someone else, from a different time, and a different place. It’s a poetic, artistic form of escapism that some people termed as “secret fantasies”.

Remember, despite krumping being a street dance, its philosophy and presentation are spiritual.

What Is The Main Difference Between Hip-Hop And Krump Dancing?

Krumping looks far more aggressive to watch than any of the other hip-hop styles and it is danced to extremely fast-paced music. Hip-hop tends to be slightly slower and moves are not as explosive.

So even if you are not interested in krump as a dance form, it is a great one to try out, as you may surprise yourself. Personally, I was ballet trained all my life, but krump is my favorite form of hip-hop and the style that I best relate to.

If you have anything to add to this article on what is krump dancing, please feel free to comment below.

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7 thoughts on “What Is Krump Dancing?”

  1. I am certainly not part of the dance world although I have taken classes in ballroom and salsa.  I have seen dancers that fit the description you have given in this article, but assumed that they were some kind of imaginative break dancers.  If I am not mistaken, Krump dancing my be feartured on several TV adds in the US.  I am always amazed how how people can create a form of art or movement to release their emotions in positive ways.  Thank you for teaching me about Krump dancing.  I am going to look for it.  You might be right.  If there is a class I can find, I will try it and see if it fits.

  2. Hey there! I really enjoyed your post on Krump dancing. As someone who loves watching dance performances, it was great to learn more about this unique and energetic style. I appreciate how you broke down the history and origins of Krump and explained its significance in hip hop culture. Your descriptions of the dance moves were so vivid, it almost felt like I was watching a performance. Thanks for sharing your insights and knowledge on Krump dancing!

  3. Wow! It was great to learn about Krump dancing, even though I am not a hip hop dancer. It was wonderful to read about how and why it started. I love your website as it shows us a variety of dancing types.
    Thank you again it was awesome to read about Krump dancing.

  4. Wow! It was great to learn about Krump dancing, even though I am not that much in dancing. It was wonderful to read about how and why it’s started. I like your post its showed us the variety of dancing types.Thank you again it was awesome to read about Krump dancing.

  5. I have seen these dance movements before but didn’t know that it had a name. So this has been informative to me, thank you! I am familiar with liturgical dancing which is more softer and graceful way of showing praise and I guess if you combine this with a more aggressive manner but keeping the praise in mind it becomes a more passionate and expressive way to honour God. Great article and I enjoyed the videos too!


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