Airflares are not just breakdancing moves; they are the epitome of strength, precision, and flair. Whether you are a seasoned B-Boy or B-Girl or just starting, mastering the airflare can elevate your skills and impress anyone watching. This tutorial will guide you through every step, from the basics to successfully executing and linking multiple airflares.

0:05 AIRFLARE TUTORIAL

Welcome to the exciting world of airflares, one of the most breathtaking powermoves in breakdancing. This tutorial is designed to help dancers of all levels understand and master the airflare, turning this seemingly complex movement into a sequence of manageable steps. By dissecting each component of the airflare, we aim to equip you with the skills needed to execute this move confidently and safely.

What is an Airflare?

An airflare, often seen in competitive breakdancing, is a dynamic move where the dancer spins horizontally over the ground, using their arms to lift their body into the air in a continuous, fluid motion. Unlike the traditional floor-based flare, where one or both legs and hands might touch the ground, the airflare requires the dancer to be airborne, creating a stunning visual effect.

Importance of Learning Airflares

Mastering airflares can significantly elevate a dancer’s repertoire, showcasing their athletic prowess and creativity. This move not only impresses audiences and judges but also builds incredible upper body and core strength, enhancing overall dancing performance. Moreover, learning airflares can improve your spatial awareness, coordination, and rhythm—key elements in breakdancing.

Challenges of Airflares

Airflares are notoriously challenging due to their requirement for strength, timing, and precision. Achieving the right momentum and maintaining control while airborne demands practice and patience. It also poses a physical challenge, requiring robust shoulder, arm, and core strength to support and propel the body through each rotation.

Structure of the Tutorial

This tutorial is structured to guide you through every aspect of learning an airflare:

  1. Introduction to the Move: Understanding what an airflare is and what it entails.
  2. Preparation: Conditioning your body through targeted exercises to build the necessary strength and flexibility.
  3. Technique Breakdown: Detailed step-by-step instructions on the mechanics of the move.
  4. Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them: Insights into frequent challenges learners face and tips on how to overcome them.
  5. Practice Drills: Specific exercises to help you practice and perfect each part of the airflare.
  6. Progression Tips: Advice on how to transition from practicing components of the airflare to executing the full move smoothly.

0:21 PREREQUISITES

Before you embark on learning airflares, it’s crucial to establish a solid foundation of physical and technical skills. These prerequisites not only ensure a higher chance of successful learning but also significantly reduce the risk of injury. Let’s break down the essential prerequisites needed for mastering airflares:

1. Handstand Proficiency

Airflares require a high degree of balance and upper body strength, which can be effectively developed through handstand practice. Being comfortable in a handstand position helps you understand how to control your body while upside down, a skill directly transferable to performing airflares. Aim to hold a stable handstand for at least 10 seconds before advancing to airflare training.

2. Strong Shoulders and Arms

The dynamic nature of airflares demands robust shoulders and arms as these body parts bear most of your weight throughout the move. Strengthening these areas is crucial and can be achieved through:

  • Push-ups: Regular and explosive push-ups increase upper body strength and power.
  • Pike push-ups: These focus specifically on the shoulders and help build the necessary strength for airflares.
  • Pull-ups and dips: These exercises enhance overall upper body strength, improving your ability to lift and hold your body weight.

3. Explosive Power

Airflares are power moves that require sudden bursts of energy to propel the body into and through the air. Developing explosive strength is key and can be facilitated through:

  • Plyometrics: Exercises like box jumps and burpees help develop fast-twitch muscle fibers, which contribute to explosive power.
  • Sprints and agility drills: These improve your overall speed and reaction times, beneficial for the quick transitions in airflares.

4. Core Strength

A strong core is essential for stabilizing the body mid-air and controlling your movements during the execution of an airflare. Incorporate the following core-strengthening exercises into your routine:

  • Planks and side planks: These improve overall core stability.
  • Leg raises and hanging knee raises: These exercises target the lower abdominals and hip flexors, crucial for the leg movements in airflares.
  • Twists and rotational exercises: Strengthen the obliques, which help in twisting and turning movements.

5. Flexibility

Flexibility, especially in the hips and lower back, allows for a greater range of motion during the airflare. Stretch regularly to improve flexibility, focusing on:

  • Hip openers: Exercises like pigeon pose and frog stretch.
  • Dynamic stretches: Such as leg swings, which prepare the muscles for the movements involved in airflares.
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6. Mental Preparation

Airflares are not only physically demanding but also mentally challenging. Confidence and the ability to visualize the movements play a significant role in your success:

  • Visualization: Regularly visualize yourself performing airflares. This mental rehearsal can enhance your muscle memory and confidence.
  • Incremental learning: Start by learning simpler moves that build up to an airflare, such as hand hops or regular flares, to gradually build your confidence and skill level.

0:55 THE SET-UP

Setting up correctly for an airflare is crucial, as the initial position and movement dictate the entire flow and success of the maneuver. The setup not only primes your body for the dynamic motion but also ensures that you generate enough momentum to carry through the rotations. Here’s how to effectively establish your setup for an airflare:

1. Choosing Your Direction

Firstly, decide whether you will spin clockwise or counterclockwise. This decision influences which hand and leg you will use to initiate the movement. Typically, right-handed individuals find it more natural to spin counterclockwise, while left-handed individuals may prefer clockwise. This choice is crucial as it aligns with your body’s natural inclination for balance and strength.

2. Starting Stance

Begin with your legs wider than shoulder-width apart to provide a stable base. Your feet should be firmly planted, and your weight evenly distributed. This wide stance helps in creating the necessary leverage for the initial kick.

3. Hand Placement

Place your dominant hand on the ground first. The position of the hand is vital:

  • Angle: Your fingers should point towards the center of your body (medially). This specific positioning helps initiate the rotational motion needed for the airflare.
  • Alignment: Ensure your hand is directly under your shoulder to maximize support and reduce strain on your wrist and shoulder.

4. Preparing for Momentum

Before you initiate the first kick, it’s important to engage your core and focus on the tension throughout your body. This tension helps in controlling the move and maintaining a compact form as you spin.

5. The Kick Off

The initial kick is what propels you into the air and starts the rotational motion. If spinning counterclockwise, you will:

  • Right Hand Down: As your right hand is planted, prepare to lift off.
  • Left Leg Action: Swiftly kick your left leg upwards and slightly across your body. This action should be both forceful and controlled. The height and speed of this kick are crucial as they generate the initial lift and momentum necessary for the airflare.

6. Upper Body Dynamics

As you place your hand and initiate the kick, your upper body plays a key role in maintaining momentum. The chest should lean slightly forward over the hand on the ground, creating a pivoting point around which your body will rotate. This forward lean is subtle but essential for maintaining the continuous motion needed for successive rotations.

7. Mental Focus

Lastly, mental preparation in the setup phase cannot be overstated. Focus on the sequence of movements and visualize executing them smoothly. This mental rehearsal helps in coordinating the complex body movements and can significantly improve the execution of the airflare.

3:42 THE THROW

The “throw” in an airflare refers to the critical moment when the dancer propels their body into the rotation and lift that defines the move. It is arguably the most challenging and crucial part of the airflare, as it sets the trajectory and height of the entire sequence. Understanding and mastering this segment can significantly enhance the effectiveness and aesthetics of your airflare. Here’s a detailed breakdown of executing “the throw” in an airflare:

1. Initiation of the Throw

The throw begins immediately after the setup phase. Once your hand is positioned and your legs are prepared:

  • Explosive Kick: The kick must be explosive and well-timed. For a counterclockwise airflare, as your right hand is planted, your left leg kicks powerfully upwards and slightly across the body. This action should feel like you are trying to lift your entire body off the ground using just the momentum of this leg.
  • Synchronization: The power of the throw depends significantly on the synchronization of your kicking leg with the arm that is planted. As you kick, press down firmly with your hand and arm to counterbalance the force of the kick and stabilize your body.

2. Leveraging Momentum

Momentum is key in executing a successful throw:

  • Rotational Force: As you initiate the kick, think of your body as a lever with the arm as the fulcrum. The faster and more forceful the kick, the greater the rotational force you will generate.
  • Continuous Movement: There should be no pause between the kick and the motion of throwing your body into the airflare. This continuous movement helps maintain the momentum necessary for multiple rotations.
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3. Upper Body Engagement

Engaging your upper body correctly during the throw is vital for maintaining form and control:

  • Shoulder Stability: Keep the shoulders engaged and pushed away from the ears to avoid collapsing under your body weight. This stability is crucial for supporting the rotational motion.
  • Arm Placement: As your body lifts off the ground, prepare to shift your weight quickly to the other arm. This transition must be swift and controlled to keep the body moving smoothly through the air.

4. Creating Height and Lift

The height of your airflare largely depends on the execution of the throw:

  • Driving Upwards: Think of driving your hips upwards as you kick. This upward motion helps elevate your body, giving you the necessary height to complete the rotation.
  • Full Body Extension: Extend your body fully during the throw. A stretched body creates a longer lever, which can enhance the rotational speed and control.

5. Practice Drills

To improve your throw, consider these practice drills:

  • Kick Drills: Practice the kicking motion standing next to a wall to ensure you are getting enough lift and power in your kick.
  • Hop Drills: Practice small hops on the arm that you plant during the airflare. This will help build strength and confidence in your ability to support your body weight during the move.

6. Review and Adjust

After each attempt, review and adjust your technique:

  • Video Feedback: Recording your attempts can provide valuable insights into what adjustments are needed, particularly regarding timing and the force of your kick.
  • Peer Feedback: Getting feedback from experienced dancers can also help refine your technique and correct any inconsistencies.

5:22 THE CATCH

In the context of an airflare, “the catch” refers to the critical moment when you stabilize your rotation and prepare for the continuation of the move or transition into another. This segment is essential as it determines the fluidity and sustainability of the airflare cycle. Proper execution of the catch not only ensures a smooth performance but also significantly reduces the risk of injury. Here’s a detailed exploration of executing “the catch” in an airflare:

1. Timing and Transition

Timing is crucial in the catch phase. You must precisely gauge when to transition your weight from one arm to the other. This transition should occur at the peak of your rotational lift, just as your momentum starts to wane. At this moment:

  • Switch Arms: Swiftly but smoothly transfer your weight from the initial planting arm to the opposite arm. This move must be quick to maintain momentum but controlled enough to ensure stability.
  • Align Your Body: As you switch arms, align your torso to remain parallel with the ground. This helps maintain the centrifugal force needed for continuous rotation.

2. Arm Strength and Placement

The arm receiving your body weight plays a crucial role in stabilizing the entire move:

  • Strong Arm Support: The catching arm needs to be strong and ready to support your full body weight momentarily. Practicing exercises that strengthen your arms and shoulders can be very beneficial.
  • Correct Placement: Place your catching arm at a strategic angle that allows you to leverage your body weight effectively. It should be neither too close to your torso nor too extended but in a position that offers the best balance between support and mobility.

3. Core Engagement

Engaging your core is essential during the catch to stabilize your body and prevent any unwanted rotation or sagging:

  • Tight Core: Keep your core muscles tight and engaged throughout the catch. This not only supports your spine and lower back but also helps control the rotational speed and prepares your body for the next cycle or move.
  • Controlled Descent: As you catch yourself, use your core strength to control the descent of your legs, ensuring that they move in a controlled arc rather than crashing down.

4. Leg Positioning

The position of your legs during the catch can affect the overall fluidity and execution of the airflare:

  • Leg Momentum: Utilize the momentum of your legs to help propel your body into the next rotation. As you switch your weight to the catching arm, your legs should continue their upward arc, which helps in generating lift for the subsequent movement.
  • Symmetry and Balance: Keep your legs symmetrical and balanced. Uneven leg positioning can throw off your entire balance, leading to a failed catch or an unstable continuation.

5. Practice Drills

To improve your catch, consider these focused drills:

  • Balance Drills: Practice holding your body weight on one arm while keeping your body parallel to the ground. This can be done using a wall or a practice bar to simulate the mid-air catch.
  • Transition Drills: Work on the arm-switching motion from different angles and speeds. This can help build the muscle memory and responsiveness needed for effective catching.
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6. Continuous Assessment and Adjustment

Evaluate your technique after each practice session:

  • Review Technique: Use video analysis to review your catch technique. Look for areas where your form breaks down or where you could improve your speed or stability.
  • Adjust Accordingly: Make small adjustments based on your observations. Focused corrections can lead to significant improvements over time.

6:27 THE 2nd AIRFLARE

Successfully executing the second airflare is about maintaining momentum, precision, and control from the initial airflare. This transition is not just a repetition but an enhancement of the foundational techniques applied in the first airflare, adapted to sustain the move’s dynamics and fluidity. Understanding how to effectively transition into and execute the second airflare is essential for performing multiple consecutive airflares. Here’s a detailed guide on mastering this crucial phase:

1. Sustaining Momentum

Momentum is the lifeblood of consecutive airflares. To ensure a smooth transition into the second airflare:

  • Fluid Motion: There should be no pause at the end of the first airflare. Instead, the movement should be continuous, using the inertia from the first to propel the second.
  • Speed Control: Managing the speed of your rotation is crucial. Too fast, and you might lose control; too slow, and you might not have enough momentum to carry through the second rotation.

2. Optimizing Body Position

The positioning of your body during the transition between the first and second airflare determines the efficiency of the movement:

  • Reposition Hands Quickly: The switch from one hand to the other between airflares should be swift and precise. This quick transition is vital to maintain the flow and to leverage your body’s rotational force.
  • Maintain Body Alignment: Keep your body extended and your hips elevated. Dropping your hips too soon can reduce the lift needed for the second airflare.

3. Leveraging the Catch

The catch phase at the end of the first airflare sets the stage for the initiation of the second:

  • Strong Catch: Ensure that the catch is robust and controlled, with your arm fully prepared to support and push off again.
  • Use Core Strength: Engage your core muscles intensely during the catch to stabilize your body and prepare for the next lift.

4. Reinitiating the Kick

The kick that initiates the second airflare needs to be as powerful as the first:

  • Explosive Re-Kick: As you transfer your weight to the starting hand of the second airflare, immediately initiate another powerful kick with the opposite leg to generate lift and rotational force.
  • Consistent Technique: Keep the kicking technique consistent with the first airflare, focusing on height and power to maintain or even increase the amplitude of the rotation.

5. Breathing and Rhythm

Maintaining your breathing and rhythm is essential for executing multiple airflares:

  • Controlled Breathing: Keep your breathing regular and controlled to ensure that your muscles receive enough oxygen to perform at peak efficiency.
  • Maintain Rhythm: The rhythm of your movements should be steady and fluid, which helps in timing your kicks and catches precisely.

6. Practice Drills

Drills that focus on strengthening the transition between airflares can improve your endurance and fluidity:

  • Multiple Airflare Attempts: Practice doing more than two airflares in a row, even if the subsequent ones are not perfect. This builds stamina and helps you understand the dynamics of sustaining multiple rotations.
  • Visualization and Mental Rehearsal: Mentally rehearse the transitions, focusing on each detail of your body’s movement to improve your physical execution.

7. Analyze and Adjust

Continuous improvement comes from consistent analysis and adjustment:

  • Video Feedback: Record your practice sessions to identify where momentum drops or form falters.
  • Incremental Improvements: Make small, focused improvements in each session to gradually enhance your overall performance.

Conclusion

Mastering airflares takes dedication, strength, and lots of practice. Each component, from the setup to the throw, and finally catching yourself, must be executed with precision. Start slow, focus on technique, and gradually build up to performing multiple airflares. Remember, the journey to mastering any breakdancing move is incremental, and persistence is your greatest ally.

Final Thoughts

We hope this tutorial provides the guidance you need to start your journey towards mastering airflares. Stay persistent, keep practicing, and soon, you’ll be showcasing this incredible powermove in your breakdance routines. Don’t forget to share your progress and connect with the breakdancing community for support and tips. Keep breaking, and see you on the dance floor!

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