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The Art Of Breakdancing

Updated on July 25, 2012

Hip-Hop History

It All Started in New York.

In the 1970s,in the Bronx,the people had all this energy wanting to go somewhere and they wanted to do something with it,make something out of themselves.That's when Hip-Hop was invented.Ghetto population wanted to express their energy and themselves.They did it through Hip-Hop.

Now,Hip-Hop has 4 different elements.

We have

-The MC

-The Dj

-The Graffiti Artist

- And The B-Boy which is what we're going to talk about.

The Rock Steady Crew, One of the original b-boy crews
The Rock Steady Crew, One of the original b-boy crews



Breakdance is a street dance that started in the 1970s as a way to express yourself.(as mentioned above)

In the 1980s something terrible had happened which is that they've been exploited to the media!

They gained much media exposure,this had saddened Hip-Hop heads because the viewers and the media didn't know what breakdance was really about.They all thought it was just a dance when really it was more than that.It was all about self-expression representing yourself as an individual.B-boys didn't want breaking to evolve and be all about commerce.(Rapping)

Enough of that,breakdancing is divided into 4 elements.

-Top rock


-Power moves


Aesthetics are important too.You can't show up to a battle wearing a normal shirt with Mocassin shoes and capris shorts.You have got to be dressed with a B-BOY STYLE!There are lots of factors and you will be teached on how to dress like a B-boy.

During your B-boy career you should be participating in battles or cyphers.Now,there are rules to these social meetings that you need to know.You can either go with your crew or go solo.

A Toprocking b-boy  expressing himself
A Toprocking b-boy expressing himself



Now,the toprock is the element where you stay up and do moves with your feet as a warm up to whatever you have coming next.

Basic toprocks include

-The Indian Step 1.Stand straight 2.Cross one leg over the other 3.Bring it back 4.Repeat with other leg

-The Salsa Rock 1.Kick your leg forward 2.Bring it back 3.Move your other leg to the side 4.Bring it Back 5.Repeat

Tips:Stay on your tip-toes,be light footed.

Put your energy in it,the way you want to.(Self Expression)

Move your arms while toprocking,be free.(Self Expression)

The toprocks are the most important aspect in breaking.Without the toprocks you can't power move,freeze nor footwork.

You may be uncomfortable at first but as you keep practicing the steps you will feel more free and you will be able to add your own flavour into it.

Remember to move your hands as you toprock.They're meant to tell a story or diss the other B-boy.You do this by using your hands while toprocking and don't forget to follow the beat.The combo of toprock,hand movements and killing the beat is nasty!!! (Nasty in B-Boy terminology is like saying awesome.)

Toprocking Tutorial - for those who are more visual

This video shows you how to toprock the Indian Step and the Salsa Rock.

Toprock With Flavour



a.k.a. Groundwork

Footwork is another aspect of breaking.It's the part where you go on the ground and do steps with your whole body.

When your just starting out,it's going to seem difficult and complicated.It's okay,all you need is practice!

There are a lot of different footworks and steps out there.As usual you NEED to learn the basics.When you get good,you can even invent your own footwork steps.For now though,you need to learn the 6-step.

Every B-boy knows how to 6-step,if not then that person isn't a b-boy or b-girl.

An essential factor is that your hands must be clean to be a better b-boy/b-girl.

Not clean as in germ talk,but as in clean or fresh.

In the picture as you can see,there is a man doing some footwork.

Now,look at his hands,he's basically on his fingers and not on his palms.

When you do your footwork,DON'T keep your hands flat on the ground.

Of course it's going to hurt when you're starting out but as time goes by,you get used to it.

You can't keep doing simple footwork,you're going to have to mix it up one day and put in freezes.

Repeating the same footwork over and over again is WACK!


Remember:Keep your hands clean!

The Air Flare
The Air Flare

Power Moves

This is the part where the audience enjoys the art of B-Boy.It's because of the amazing phenomenon of power moves!They're also the hardest part of B-Boying and one power move can take months to learn along with years to perfect! Of course,before learning a power move you need to have a good body for it.When I say this I don't mean you can't do a power move if your fat.You just have to have enough muscles to support your own weight.If you did sports in the past or if your flexible then you probably have an advantage and power moves are going to come easier.Now,when you learn a power move,even if it took you years to learn it,don't be too proud of yourself because millions of other people probably know how to do it too.At a jam,you can't just do one power move for your whole entrance.That's unoriginal and you lack style.You have to put transitions and/or freezes into your power moves.Some people can even reverse their moves or go slow motion.THAT'S NASTY!Some moves may take you a few months to get used to.For example : The Head Spin.For this move you need to accustom your body to being upside down and create micro-fracture on your skull,which will then heal stronger every time you practice this move.That's how monks break sticks with their body parts.The easiest power move you can learn is probably the backspin.Even at that,some people find it difficult to do.

Want to learn an easy power move? - Here's a tutorial!

Shoulder Freeze
Shoulder Freeze

Freeze !

B-Boy Stance

Okay,now,in breakdancing there are freezes for big explosion sounds in the song.It's to kill the beat in a nasty way!

You can go on freezes from toprocks,footwork and powermoves.All the options are available.It's always nice to end a big nasty entrance in a freeze.It makes the crowd go wild!

There are tons of freezes.

Here's the basic.

1.The Planche

It's so simple,one arm,placed on your left or right side of your stomach.Lay your head on the floor,lay it on the corner of your head.Imagine as if your head were a square and you placed your head on the upper corner.So,the upper corner of your head is on the floor,one arm is holding your body up and your body is parallel.

I would write about other freezes but it would be more simple to show you instead.

The Baby Freeze

Practice your freezes for as long as you can so you can get used to them.

The Hollow Back - An Advanced Freeze


B-Boy Clothing

Okay so , when you break dance you can't just wear classy uniforms or suits.It doesn't make sense.You need to wear clothes that give a hip-hop feel.If you need help just keep reading.Since B-Boying started in the 1980s you shouldn't really wear today's products.You want clothing that was popular back then.The best brands are the sports brands like Adidas and Nike.Back then most B-Boys dressed in tracksuits or joggings,mostly Sportswear like jerseys and such.Also,the clothing would be better if it was made of fabric that's slippery in a way that could help them slide better for certain power moves.Going on to the shoes,the best break dancing shoe is the Puma Suede,not the Puma Clyde.Most people get confused between both because they both look alike but,Puma Suede is better than Puma Clyde.It just is.If you're more of a visual person here are some pictures.Certain Adidas shoes are good for break dancing too.


Rock Steady Crew
Rock Steady Crew

Matching Crew Outfits

NYC Breakers
NYC Breakers

This is from the movie Beat Street.The crew in the picture are the NYC Breakers

B-Boys from the 80's

Legendary B-Boy Flearock - From Skill Methodz Crew

Pretty Fresh
Pretty Fresh

Pretty Fresh

Puma Suede Shoes

Adidas "Gazelle"

Adidas "Superstar" with RunDMC

Spin Caps

For the specific power move "Headspin" there is a beanie made just for it.It has a non-friction fabric which really helps you perform headspins.You can buy them here.

A Cypher
A Cypher

Your Career

Cyphers , Battles , Shows

Now for your break dancing career you must participate in 3 of these concepts.

1.The Cypher



The cypher

A cypher is when a bunch of B-Boys group up in a certain area,form a circle and just dance to show what they've got and earn the respect of other B-Boys.In a cypher it's all about Freestyle dancing.You can make one with your friends,family and even start one in the streets,hoping that other B-Boys are there to participate.There are "rules" not to be broken.When someone enters the cypher,you have to respect them and let them finish dancing.To get in the cypher can be tricky because all the B-Boys are trying to get in but another B-Boy goes instead.You have to be quick to enter,stay in a B-Boy stance to let other B-Boys know that you're planning to get in the cypher.If ever 2 B-Boys go in the cypher at the same time,the first dancer to move to his footwork is the one who gets to stay in and the other dancer must leave and wait for another chance at entering.


You can battle other crews with your crew or battle solo with strangers,friends and such.In a battle,you have to diss the other crew or dancer with style.An important factor is to kill the beat! Also,don't keep repeating the same move.The goal of a battle isn't to use one move the whole time,it's to do as much moves as you can.When you battle crew versus crew,you can use teamwork also known as Commando's.A commando is a choreographed routine that ends up switching dancers.For example : A B-Boy is dancing,he then decides to do a commando with his buddy that they rehearsed over and over.They perform the commando and at the end of it,it's his buddy who ends up dancing.They perform a switch and the procedure of switching is Commando.When a dancer is dancing you have to respect his round and not interrupt him.


Shows are a small thing that you organize with your crew.Pretty Simple.

Don't do a show to songs that aren't meant for B-Boying.

Ichigeki Crew - Battle Of The Year 2005

Battle of the year is an annual event in Germany where Break Dancing crews from all over the world battle against other crews.Only the best of the best go to Battle of the year.Here we have the crew Ichigeki that won the award for Best Showcase.

What Do You Think About Break Dance?

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      It looks really awesome!

      I always wanted to learn but it's just to hard for me. ):