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What is Tutting?

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Tutting is one of the funk styles/street dance styles affiliated with Hip Hop, and is considered by most to be an off-shoot of Popping, at least originally. 

toddler girl doing Tutting Dance - Dance Style Dance

What is Tutting in Hip-Hop Dance?

Tutting is a style of dance that involves making shapes and angles (usually 90-degree angles) with the body, limbs, hands, fingers, etc, and is thought to have been inspired initially from Egyptian hieroglyphs and depictions of King Tut the pharaoh. 

In the USA, Tutting emerged in the mid-1970s to early 1980s when Poppers would hit Tutting poses or make Tutting shapes and angles while they were Popping. 

Who created Tutting?

The person who pioneered this style was Mark Benson aka King Boogaloo Tut. It is said that he was inspired after seeing Boogaloo Sam (founder of the Electric Boogaloos) dancing in Mac Arthur Park in Long Beach, CA. 

Benson was only 15 at the time, and he wanted to be a part of the Electric Boogaloos, so he decided he needed to find a way to stand out. The Electric Boogaloos already had members with specialties; they had a popper, boogaloo, ticker, puppet styles, etc. Then one day Mark was watching an episode of Batman, and the villain was King Tut the pharaoh. He realized there was no King Tuts popping anywhere, and knew he’d found a way to stand out. 

He was inspired by the shapes made and depicted in Egyptian hieroglyphs, and decided to “give them movement and a soul and the rest is history”(Benson). 

In 1979, he choreographed The Street Scape and went on to tour the world during the 80’s. He has appeared, choroegraphed for and been a part of many television dance shows such as Soul Train, So You Think You Can Dance, America’s Best Dance Crew and America’s Got Talent.

Popin’ Pete (Popping Pete), an original member of the Electric Boogaloos verifies Mark as the pioneer of the Tutting style in his post, “…We would go around to many different places popping/boogaloo/ticking and Mark would break that tut out on people and eyes would buck, we went all over watching people dance, and there NO ONE DOING TUTTING BEFORE HIM! this was the summer of 1978” (Popin’ Pete).

How Do You Do Tutting Dance Moves?

Because of the sharp use of angles, it is important to make clean lines with whatever body parts you’re tutting with. There are many interesting concepts to help make your Tutting more intricate and creative. 

The box concept is one that is often used, creating box shapes with the arms, hands, fingers, etc. Tutting also uses Popping concepts to link and animate the various shapes being made.

 Is tutting the same as Voguing?

No Tutting is not the same as voguing which you can read more about here!

Other styles that integrate Tutting concepts are Voguing, Waving and Liquiding –just to name a few.

The creative hinging and bending of geometric shapes is very interesting to watch, which is why so many people find it so appealing. 

If you are interested in learning some Tutting basics I highly recommend you check out this tutorial below by Mr. Wiggles, an original member of the Electric Boogaloos.

This page is just one of hundreds of definitions of the many styles and genres of dance.

This library is being continually added to by the writers and contributors of Dance Parent 101!