If you would love to spice up your dancing skills, learn a completely new dancing style, or simply would like to learn more about dancing history. You will love this article about breakdancing!
We all know the phrase ‘dancing is a great way to connect with other people’. Or ‘dancing is a worldwide language’.
Dancing can help anyone! It is the best way to express your emotions, to let go of them, relax and feel happy.
In fact, dancing classes are known to help children who suffer from learning ability or psychological disturbances!
Whether you are discovering your style. Would love to learn a new dancing style. Or just would like to go in depth about the specific dancing styles and where it comes from. You are at the right place!
Breakdancing is an energetic type of dance! Breakdancers express their talent while using their energy, creativity and improvisational skills.
It is performed by using the craziest athletic moves! Those include spinning on your arms, knees or even your head!
If you would like to know more about breakdancing history. The introduction of the movements, music and specific terminology. You will enjoy the following article that will hopefully give you the basic to become a breakdancer yourself.
What is Breakdancing
Break Dancing is an energetic form of dancing! It is popularized by the American as well as African American people.
Breakdancing includes stylized footwork and athletic movements. Movements such as spinning on your knees, hands or head are extremely popular for breakdancing.
In fact, breakdancing is an extremely improvisational type of dance. It does not have standard moves or steps. The whole emphasis and importance of break dancing is the energy, elements of danger and creativity.
The history of breakdancing originates primarily among African-American and Puerto Rican youths. It originated during the 1970s.
The term ‘break’ comes from a particular sound made by disk jockeys (DJs). It is produced by mixing different styles as well as sounds of music. It turns out to sound like a continuous sounding beat.
In the history of breakdancing, the music technique was started by DJ Kool Herc. His full name is Clive Campbell. Originally, C. Campbell is a Jamaican DJ in New York.
DJ Kool Herc mixed the sound break from two identical records. While playing the breaks repeatedly, he was switching from one record to the other. In fact, DJ Kool Herc was called ‘cutting breaks’.
During his concerts, DJ Kool Herc used to tell his audience ‘’B-boys go down!’’. This phrase indicated that the dancers who perform gymnastic moves should start dancing.
For an interesting fact, this phrase became a hallmark for break dancing. Nowadays, a breakdancer is also referred to as a B-Boying or B-Girling!
During the ‘cutting breaks’ and ‘B-Boys go down’, DJ Kool Herc provided the audience a rhythmic base. These breaks allowed the dancers to show off their skills of dancing by using their energy, creativity and improvisational skills.
In the history of breakdancing, this led to the first battles between the dancers. In fact, the crowds called ‘cyphers’ would form around the dancers to watch their performance. Therefore, they would judge and complement each other on their skills based on the performance.
The early birds to breakdancing, later on, started to add different styles to the dance. They started to add dancing moves from ‘pop’ or ‘locks’ styles. In fact, these styles gave breakdancing a ‘robotic’ dance of style.
Did you know, all-time famous celebrity Michael Jackson was the first mover towards breakdancing popularity? In the history of breakdancing, the moonwalk performed by Michael Jackson was an imitation of street style dancing.
Later, record producers acknowledged this style. They started to look deeper into this genre, and signed artists who would be good in presenting the street style of the breakers.
This caused breakdancing style go from a street phenomenon to the one that is liked and embraces by a wider culture.
Nowadays, breakdancing has an enormous influence on modern dance styles. It is performed in rap videos as well as live concerts with popular celebrities. Such a mainstream of breakdancing genre was never more clearly demonstrated than it is in today!
After an interesting history of breakdancing, let’s take a closer to look at how to breakdance. Particularly, what exact dance elements and break dance moves it consist of.
In fact, there are in total of four primary break dance moves. The following are namely TopRock, DownRock, power moves and freezes.
TopRock breakdancing move is performed while standing up and doing the strings of steps. This style is usually performed in order to perfect the opening of the show.
TopRock dancing style contains a huge variety of steps. It is therefore usually dependent on the dancer’s expression. The expressions such as aggressive, calm, excited or happy! You can easily predict the mood of the show just by looking at the opening!
Also, a great freedom is allowed when performing TopRock dancing move. In theory, any breakdancing step moves can be called TopRock. As long as the breakdancer is able to maintain the mood of the show, attitude and the cleanliness.
If you are still wondering what we mean by TopRock steps. They usually remind other dance styles movements. TopRock most probably will resemble styles such as tap dance, popping, locking or house style dancing moves.
It is also important to know, from the TopRock opening it transitions into DownRock and then power moves. Those transitions in fact are called ‘drops’.
Downrock is the following dance move following the TopRock. Is also known as footwork or floorwork.
This one of those breakdance moves that is performed on the floor. The dancer uses his hands and legs support in order to perfect it. This dance move includes the dancing moves known as 6-step or 3-step fundamentals.
The most simplistic DownRock performance is done entirely on feet and hands. However, the more complex variations include the involvement of the knees when threading limbs through each other.
So, how to breakdance after you perform both TopRock and DownRock dancing moves. The following break dance moves are so called power moves!
Power moves are the ones known as more complex and difficult. It requires the break dancer to be in so called ‘momentum’. In other words to be in a moment.
It requires the break dancer to use high speed, endurance, flexibility, strength and high self-control to execute the movement.
While performing power moves breakdancer is supported by his upper body. In the meantime, the rest of his body created circular momentum.
The greatest examples of breakdance power moves are swipe, windmill, head spin or back spin.
As an interesting fact, some of the power moves are borrowed from martial arts or gymnastics! As an example of a power move borrowed from gymnastics is the Thomas Flair dancing style. You call this breakdancing move as ‘flare’ when referring to b-boying vocabulary.
Continuing with the topic on how to breakdance. Freezes are very important dancing style when learning on how to breakdance!
Freezes are very stylish and complicated poses. It requires the breakdancer to suspend himself/herself off the ground while using upper body strength. The most well-known pose for it is called ‘pike freeze’.
If you are watching a breakdancing performance. And you can spot the breakdancer to do freeze poses. Note that the dancer wants to emphasize the strong beats in the songs. And also, it often signals that the show is coming to an end.
As an interesting fact. A breakdancer is, therefore, performing a lot of freeze poses in order to show his talent to feel the music. And also to show his physical strength!
When it comes to breakdance music. You should not only think of hip-hop music to meet breakdance music requirements! In fact, breakdancing music is not really restricted. The only specifications for breakdancing music are beat pattern conditions and tempo!
The best advice in order to perfect a great breakdance music. You can take your favorite songs, regardless of its genres. And remix them in order to get the needed speed and great beat patterns!
Interestingly, the most popular breakdance music pieces are borrowed from any other music genre you can imagine! It varies from funk, electro, jazz, soul or disco music styles!
The most popular and common features in break dance music are musical breaks and different compilation samples taken from different songs. Those are usually combined and looped by the DJ!
If you are wondering what the speed of your perfected breakdancing music should be. It should range somewhere between 110 to 135 beats per minute!
As we already talked about the famous first breakdancing mover DJ Kool Herc. He was the one who invented this concept for breakdancing music and call it ‘breakbeats’.
Break Dancing Clothing
When looking back at the history of breakdancing. A breakdancer had to convey a rough world of street gangs style! Those were the roots of breakdancing movers!
Therefore, the breakdancer’s clothing style should be particular. It is baggy pants or sweat suit, baseball caps often worn sideways or backwards. And for the shoes, usually sneakers are the best option!
Don’t forget. Your choice of shoes is extremely important. It can either break or make the deal of your breakdancing performance! It is important to feel comfortable in it. It is required for the dangerous nature of many break dance moves as well as comfort in perfecting your performance!
It is also said that the clothes of a breakdancer are extremely important. It is because your clothes should show your personality as well as the style of you as a breakdancer!
Some people love to add some gold chains. To show off the rough style of theirs. Other love to add a lot of color to their choice of clothing!
Most importantly, get creative and reflect your style as a breakdancer through your clothing style! Don’t forget to feel comfortable and not restricted to it. This way you free yourself to perform and do the best on the dancing floor!
Breakdance Terminology You Must Know
Terminology in the breakdancing scene is very important. There are various terms one must know if you are thinking on starting to breakdance yourself!
Most of the complicated terms are used in order to describe the breakdancing move! Makes sense, right? In other words, there are special words that breakdancers use to describe each other, which of the breakdancing moves they are about to perform!
The downside of it, there are plenty of terms you should know! However, if you are a beginner. You will learn different tricks and dancing moves one by one. As well as, you will learn the terminology one at the time!
The ones that you should already know just by reading this article are B-Boy and B-Girl. Those terms refer to the performers as breakdancers!
If you want to refer to the break dancers that already performing. And more to the performance that you see. You call it B-boying, B-girling or breaking!
The terminology for the dance moves is very wide. However, the most popular ones that you should know are backflip, battle or backspin!
The list goes on to floorflip, floor rocking or popping. However, you will learn all of these when practicing your at your first break dancing class!
Breakdancing is a great dancing style that is one of its kind! It has a great history, unique performance, and even its own vocabulary!
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