I just found out that Merce Cunningham died Sunday night. No, he doesn't have much at all to do with hip hop dance but he was one of the great figures of modern dance and someone who all serious dancers should know about and all choreographers can benefit from considering more closely:
"Mr. Cunningham ranks among the foremost figures of artistic modernism and among the few who have transformed the nature and status of dance theater, visionaries like Isadora Duncan, Serge Diaghilev, Martha Graham and George Balanchine."
I studied modern dance in college from 1977 to 1982. I saw Cunningham's company a number of times over the years and even took a master class with him when I was an undergrad. As a young choreographer, he was one of my biggest heroes.
Official Site: Merce Cunningham Dance Company