Breakdancing is what people who don’t really know anything about it call what is actually “b-boy” or “breaking”–this isn’t your fault, don’t feel bad, it’s a result of the media trying to glamorize and profit from the popularity of this particular style of dance. It originally came about as part of the hip-hop culture in the 1970s in New York City, primarily the South Bronx. You can b-boy to not just hip-hop but other types of music as well that are usually
|mixed especially for b-boy (or “breakdancing”, if you must) to prolong the musical breaks. I’m going to teach some of the bare-bones basics about break dancing that you need to know then I’m literally going to show you exactly what to do–the video I’ve got for you is just SO good if you’re a beginner and just starting out for the first time and want a|
quick lesson that’ll let you start breaking (and not looking like a fool) right away given a couple hours practice with your favorite music.
Breakdancing / B-boy Basics
There are four simple moves that make up the foundation of breakdance/b-boy: downrock, toprock, power moves, and freezes/suicides.
- Toprock is any series of moves done from a standing position. It’s normally going to be your opening move that you’ll use to transition into more acrobatic things.
- Downrock (also known as “floorwork”) is any footwork that’s done on, guess where, the floor. It usually requires complicated contorting of your lower body which will then allow you to move immediately into the more athletic and spectacular moves called power moves.
- Power Moves require that you already have some momentum going and they also need a bit of upper body strength to execute. The way it works is that you support yourself with your upper body and then use your lower body to generate rotational momentum (you spin 😀 ). Well-known examples would be moves like the head spin, the flare, the windmill, and the swipe–some of these are actually taken from martial arts (like the butterfly kick) and gymnastics (the flare).
- Freezes/Suicides: When someone starts doing one of these it almost always means the end of a set (it could also just be a pause). A freezes is just a pose, the more difficult the better, which usually means you’ll have to hold yourself off the ground with only your upper body strength. A suicide, on the other hand, is designed to make it look like you’ve lost control and will therefore typically require you to fall onto your stomach, back, etc. The more painful your suicide looks, the more impressive it will be, but a true professional will always execute it in such a way as to reduce the chance of injury and pain.
Let’s learn how to breakdance (b-boy)
Watch this a few times, then start it over once more and pause it on the first technique, get out on your floor, and get to work (go slow, be patient–you’ll be amazed at your progress after a couple of hours):
Additional Resources and Further Reading
If you want to go beyond what you’ve learned here and get really good the first thing I’d recommend you do is check out a DVD called Breakdance Step-by-Step by Break Easy and Zulu Gremlin. These guys aren’t just nationally top ranked b-boy competitors and dancers, they’re excellent teachers as well (they teach b-boy for a living to the dancers in music videos).
Mahalo has got an EXCELLENT article on how to breakdance, lot’s of information, pics, and videos. Really good quality stuff.
And, of course, you gotta go join up at bboy.org–it’s a whole online community centered around b-boy with forums, videos, etc.