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Differences between hip hop and Musical Theatre

Hip Hop and Musical Theatre are two different styles

and genres of music. Hip hop has more free flowing
movements while musical theatre is closely linked to
the nature of theatre itself. Aside from their differences
they some similarities. Did you know that both received
inspiration from African styles dances! Both in their
right are unique but share a number of hidden
Hip Hop
Hip Hop was invented in the early 1960's by individuals
who never received proper dance training but had a
natural instinct of movement. Thus it was brought to
the streets and was specifically meant for the people or
is the "people's dance". Also some of the moments in
hip hop obtained inspiration form early African dance
moves. Overtime it has gained popularity, even being
recognized as an official art (dance) style and having
new movements added to it. To give a better
perspective hip hop dances were once only played on
bars/clubs, but is now played on stages and
Musical Theatre
Musical Theatre has a luxuriant history that goes far
back to the 1700s, even tying in with the fine arts of
ballet and modern dances. It all began in the 1700 with
the first musical staged play was called The Beggars
Opera (note that musical theatre also took inspiration
African style dance moves). Although it never any
worldwide recognition, it amazed people with its ability
to use movements in as method to tell the plot.

However, it was not until the musical production of the

Black Crook that made musical theatre mainstream.
With extravagant dances, intricate movements, clever
use of movants to tell a story and remarkable music it
became a hit with audiences and changed the way
people looked at theatre. After a while (315 years to be
exact) musical theatres influence started to decrease
but it is changed and is relevant to the modern world.
Hip Hop
Music in hip hop could be described as more rhythmic.
Rapping is a critical part of Hip hop but at the same
time so is the music. The common link that both hip
hop and musical theatre is that they movements to the
music. Two main elements go into making hip hop
music rapping and DJing. The music as a result is a bit
more mixed and contains more words; though the
words and mixed music are balanced.
Musical Theatre
From peoples experience music in musical theatre plays
an important aspect in the plot. As mentioned before
musical theatre is closely linked to theatre, so is the
music. The music is an important tool to inform the
audience of what is happening on stage. It also
intertwine with the movements to give it a more
symbolic view. A good example of music as a tool would
when it starts to become intense indicating/giving the
impression something will happen or sad slow music
plays indicating a dramatic/sad event has occurred.
There are no elements or regulations to the music,
other than it has to go along with the theatrical play.

Hip Hop
Clothing in Hip Hop is more casual and gangster like.
The reason being of its place of origin. Hip hops birth
place was a gangster like 1960 American African
neighbourhood, the people who started the hip hop
movement didnt own any fancy, expensive cloths so
they made due with what they have. As a result the
clothing was a bit simple and gangster like. Though
over the course of time has changed, a noticeable
change would be the added bling.
Musical Theatre
The clothing in musical theatre is somewhat more
open than the ones in hip hop. Cloths generally
depend on the type of theatrical play and can
sometimes be casual items (exp. Jeans, shirt, pants
etc.) to fancier ones (exp. suits, blazers, ties etc.). Of
course there is an unspoken rule the clothing has to
look decent, catch the audiences attention (if the
theatrical play is important) and go along with the
Hip Hop
Movements in Hip hop are freer flowing. Hip hop has a
number of dances movements, however it would take
too long to name them. The movements themselves
have developed and changed progressively throughout
the years.
Musical Theatre
Movements in Musical theatre are often choreographed
because of theatrical plays or performances. The
movements themselves have mixed moves form other

styles. The moves are also rehearsed and can

sometimes be changed. Also the moves are suggested
by the dancers and the choreographer decides on the
best moves to combine to create a spectacular dance.
Hip Hop
The chorography in hip hop is slightly more suggestion
based. Dancers choose on certain moves to perform,
votes on which ones to do and the order. Of course that
is not to say a choreographer is needed. Chorographers
evaluate the dance and decide if some parts need to be
Musical Theatre
The chorography in muscle theatre is significant in the
process of making the dance work. The chorography
has to fit with the overall theme and be evaluated in
whole. Chorographers job is to make sure the dance
comes out well, incorporate the ideas of the dancers,
direct the dance and evaluate it for change. They also
have to make sure it is ready to present.
Production elements
Hip Hop
The production elements in hip hop go along the lines
like this:
The lighting is good not to bright not dim, focuses
on the main dancer but also the dancing group as
The sound for the music is stable and balanced out
with movements of the dancers

Stage is all set and might contain a few items for

the production
Musical Theatre
The production elements in musical theatre go along
the lines like this:
The lighting is mainly focused on the main dancer
but is also focused on the other dancers
Sound has to be ready and the dancers need to go
in time with it
The stage is often filled with props and
backgrounds for the play or performance
Presence in the modern world
Hip Hop
Hip hop has become an icon in pop culture it changed
from being in the streets to the stage. After some time
it gained huge popularity. Some rap songs sometimes
include a bit hip hop in them.
Musical Theatre
Although musical theatre showed to decline in
popularity, it came back with a successor Broadway.
Some of Broadways work include The Lion King and
Mama Mia. Even though it may be declining its still
altered the modern worlds view on theatre.

Musical Theatre
goes back further
than Hip Hop

The styles
inspiration from
African dance


Hip hop has two

key elements
when making
music, while
musical theatre
music is a plot


Hip Hop has a

limited range of
Musical theatre
movements are
not strict in other
words follow a
specific style
In hip hop clothing
is more casual
and in musical
theatre clothing is
more theatre
Hip hop has a bit
more popularity
than Musical
The Choreography
matter a bit more
in theatre
The music
produced is a bit
more mixed in hip


Modern day



The music in both
styles is a form of
expression. In Hip
hop could be used
to express feeling
or in Musical
theatre could be
used to express
the plot
Movement can be
complex and
complicated to

Clothing in the
two styles are
relevant to music
and movement

Both changed the

world differently

Both require a
Both use a good
amount of lighting
and sound