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Breakdancing - The Four Elements

Updated on June 5, 2011
The Four Elements with related moves
The Four Elements with related moves


The four elements of breakdancing are considered the most important parts that make up routines that crews perform. These four elements are TopRock, Footwork, Power Moves, and Freezes. If a breakdancer combines these four elements in their routine it often looks good, as they move up and down in levels of height, which is appealing to watch.

Typical TopRock
Typical TopRock


This term refers to the standing, and upright dancing and shuffles, and is basically just any string of steps performed while standing or upright. It calls upon a Breakers balance, flexibility, coordination, rhythm and style. The style of TopRock is what any B-Boy can change to his/her feelings and makes the dance their own; therefore they can stay unique and not be accused of “biting” other breakers moves. This is the dance that B-Boys use to enter their routines and freestyles. This is because it doesn’t look professional if you go straight into footwork and don’t put any effort into it. It is also important as it allows you to link your moves together because unless you are superhuman you will not be able to do move after move as it will tire you out and you could injure yourself, therefore simple TopRock will allow you to recuperate between moves. You can link most moves together using TopRock and can enter any variety of styles.

Typical Footwork
Typical Footwork


Footwork is defined by the way that in footwork, the hands support your body just as much as your feet do. The foundation move of footwork is the “Six-Step”. Every move evolved from the six-step and so once you master six-step, the other moves will come easier than if you hadn’t learnt it. Footwork mainly takes place on the floor, either on your hands and knees, or literally having your body on the floor. Having TopRock and Footwork ensures that the Bboy will breakdance on the upper level and the lower level. Breakdancing looks a lot better if you combine these as breakdancing at different levels flows a lot better than staying in one level.

Inverted Headstand Freeze
Inverted Headstand Freeze


Freezes are a major part of breakdancing as they are the best way to finish routines. They are also shown during breakdancing battles as a way to intimidate the opposing team. The main features needed in a freeze are flexibility, balance and strength. This is because you need flexibility to shape your body into the required shape made in the move, balance to ensure you can stay in that position for the required amount of time, and strength to ensure you can hold yourself up to make yourself stay in that position also.

Halfway through a Backflip
Halfway through a Backflip

Power Moves

Power moves are the show off type of move in breakdancing; it isn’t necessarily associated with rhythm and keeping in the beat of the dance, as it usually requires moving extremely fast, often around in circles. They are known as show off moves, because they are extremely difficult to learn and master and look a lot more extravagant compared to TopRock or Footwork. This is why they are called the power moves, because they require a lot of strength, flexibility and balance to accomplish. Some power moves are also simply moves that cannot fall into the other categories and so has been put into this category, examples of this are the knee spin or the backspin as these are not difficult moves to learn and don’t require much strength or flexibility (although it helps) so shouldn’t technically be a power move however they do not actually fit into the other categories so this seems more suited.

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