Mixtape Collective offers limitless possibilities when it investigates the past, present and future of hip-hop dance with its weekend presentation of "Mixtape 6: Cypherspace," at the Cowles Center.

"I want people to ask the question, What is hip-hop?" said Jason Noer, artistic director of the Mixtape Collective. "This is often what we're pursuing in our dance company. We're pushing the boundaries."

Formed in 2017, Mixtape showcases emerging hip-hop dance styles and other forms of street and social dances in the Twin Cities ecosystem. The group recently became a nonprofit with a mission to educate, research and perform.

Noer's history with the Cowles goes back to 2007, when it was called the Shubert Theater and was two blocks away from its current location. He began dancing in 1988 in Fremont, Calif., drawing inspiration from rapper MC Hammer, who had a dance studio there. It's also where Noer got into break dancing or breaking, as it is referred to by most practitioners. He brought that background to Minnesota, connecting to breakers, hip-hop and social dancers, and bringing vernacular dance to the concert stage. He is now writing a dissertation about the history of the Twin Cities breaking scene.

For the Cowles performance, Cheng Xiong explores the breaking style's past with a piece that draws on its roots and Desare Cox looks at today's hip-hop dance style, with a focus on joy. Tottiana Rose Stolberg and Selwyn (Selly) Talley look at the future of the dance with a dystopian work. Noer, meanwhile has choreographed transitions between past, present and future.

The performers explain the styles that will featured in "Cypherspace" on Saturday and Sunday in Minneapolis.

Breaking: "It is one of the first original forms of hip-hop dance. It's an umbrella style," said Xiong. "It's very physical. It is tricks, and being on your hands, being on the floor. It involves rolling and spins on all types of body parts."

Hip-hop dance: The core of this style is that it's created in community, said Noer, with artistic expressions firmly rooted in the aesthetics of Black diasporic dance. "Another way to say that is that this is Black dance," he said.

Xiong said hip-hop is more upright than breaking. Although one can still do similar trick styles as breaking, "it's less focused on tricks and is more of a body articulation with the beat."

Jazz funk: Like hip-hop, jazz funk uses big energy movements, but there's even more technique that derives from ballet. Jazz funk has an element of fluidity and sensuality. "It has a more feminine vibe to it," Stolberg said.

Powerhead breaking: It is a breaking style that focuses on power moves like highly physical rotation spins, Xiong said.

Majorette: This form is derived from historically Black colleges in the South and from troupes usually made up entirely of women. It's a high-energy movement that involves the arms and hips, said Talley, but it also can be slow and sensual.

Voguing/waacking: The two styles come from opposite coasts. Voguing, a dance style used in Madonna's "Vogue" video, originated in New York's ballroom dance scene. Waacking comes from gay clubs in Los Angeles. While voguing is more focused on the hands, waacking uses the full arm and upper chest, Stolberg said.

Street dance: "Street dance is house dance and rocking and krumping and funk styles, which includes popping," said Noer. "It's the form that the music corresponds to. House dancers dance to house. They don't call themselves hip-hop dancers."

Social dancing: It relates to "anything the kids are doing, like on TikTok," Noer said. When he was first getting into dance, social dance meant the Running Man, the Roger Rabbit, the Cabbage Patch and the Patty Duke. "Today it would be like the Dougie."

Cypher: This style features a circle of dancers, in the center of which they perform freestyle moves.

Freestyle: "Basically, it's any move that you want to do," said Talley. "It's whatever you throw out."

Rocking: In this style, two dancers come into a circle and perform rock steps — where they rock back on their heels. They also might do a kick rock step, where they kick one foot while rocking back on the other. The two dancers pantomime outsmarting each other in a pretend fight. At a certain point in a rocking dance, there's a "break," which involves a jerky movement where the dancer goes down to the floor.

House dancing: Started by queer Black club dancers, it involves a bouncing movement where the whole body is in sync with the music, called the jack. "There's a lot of heel taps," said Noer. "You're pushing on a foot from underneath your body and tapping the heel and coming back." House dancing is all about grooving.

'Mixtape 6: Cypherspace'

When: 7:30 p.m. Sat., 2 p.m. Sun., Cowles Center, 528 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls.

Tickets: $30, 612-206-3600, thecowlescenter.org.