Have you ever been mesmerized by those talented breakdancers twirling and somersaulting on the dance floor, making it look like they’re defying gravity? It’s like watching magic happen right before your eyes! And have you ever stopped to wonder just how they manage to do jaw-dropping flare with such grace and flair?

Flares are like the crown jewels of breakdancing – they’re super cool but also super tricky to master. They require a special blend of strength, flexibility, and skillful moves. Flares are tough because they demand a high level of skill in several areas all at once: strength, flexibility, and technique. It’s like juggling multiple things at once while doing a difficult task!

But fear not! In this blog, we’re going to take a deep dive into the art of mastering flares. We’ll break down the steps, share some insider tips, and get you well on your way to mastering this awesome skill. So, dust off those dancing shoes, because we’re about to embark on an exciting journey into the electrifying world of breaking!

What is flare?

Definition

What is flare? The flare stands tall as a classic power move in the arsenal of every breakdancer. This acrobatic maneuver demands a significant amount of strength and dedication over several months to truly master. In gymnastics, the flare isn’t just for breakdancing—it’s also a move you might see on the pommel horse or during floor exercises.

Here’s how it works: the gymnast balances their torso by shifting between each arm while their legs swing in circular motions beneath them.
It’s all about keeping that fluid motion going as they gracefully swing their legs around in circles.

However, despite its challenging nature, the flare remains a cornerstone of beginner-level power moves that aspiring breakers should prioritize early on in their dance journey.

History

Let’s dive into the history of the flare! This iconic move made its way into the world of breaking around the mid-to-late 1970s. One of the earliest breakers to showcase flares was Trac 2, possibly among the very first to do so. But where did this move come from?

Well, it turns out the flare drew inspiration from a gymnastics skill called the Thomas flair. This move was pioneered by Kurt Thomas, who demonstrated it on the pommel horse as early as 1975 and later on the floor by 1978.

Kurt Bilteaux Thomas
Kurt Bilteaux Thomas

Who is Kurt Thomas? Kurt Thomas (full name is Kurt Bilteaux Thomas) is an incredible athlete and occasional actor from the United States. Born on March 29, 1956, Thomas made history in the world of gymnastics. In 1978, he achieved a remarkable milestone by becoming the first American male gymnast to clinch a gold medal at the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships, also known as the world championships.

But that’s not all! The following year, in 1979, Thomas went on to accomplish even more. He secured an impressive total of six medals at the world championship, setting a record for the most medals won by an American gymnast in a single world championship.

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By 1984, flares had become widespread within the breaking community, cementing their place as a fundamental and awe-inspiring element of the dance form.

Basics for the flare

Flexibility

When your body isn’t very flexible, it can hold you back from doing flares just right. Imagine trying to do a flare when your body feels stiff like a board – it’s tough! Sometimes, if you’re really strong, you might be able to muscle through it, but it’s not easy, and it doesn’t look as cool. To do flares well, you’ve got to be able to lift your knee up high, almost to your face, and also lift your shoulder. That takes some serious flexibility!

But here’s something people often forget: your shoulders need to be flexible too. You’ve got to be good at something called “skin the cats” to make sure your shoulders can move freely. That way, you can lift your hips up high when you start your flare, which is super important for getting them nice and clean.

Strength

Wrist / Forearms

  • Supporting your bodyweight on your wrists is super important for doing flares.
  • When you’re learning flares, your wrists can feel a lot of strain, especially if they’re not very strong.
  • It’s pretty common for people who are new to flares to end up with wrist injuries.
  • To avoid hurting your wrists, it’s best to gradually make them stronger over time.

Shoulders

  • Once you’ve got your wrists all sorted out, it’s time to think about your shoulders.
  • Your shoulders do a lot of heavy lifting when it comes to flares, literally!
  • To make sure your shoulders are up to the task, it’s helpful to be really good at handstands and handstand presses.
  • If you’re not familiar with these exercises, it might mean you need to spend some extra time training your shoulders before trying flares.

Flare exercises

L-Sit exercises
L-Sit exercises
  • Doing L-Sit exercises can be a big help in making your hip flexors stronger.
  • Try holding the L-Sit position for about 10 seconds, three times each week.
  • Strengthening your hip flexors will make it easier to lift your legs up high during the first part of a flare.
  • And the more you practice these flare exercises, the stronger and better you’ll get at doing flares overall.

Step-by-step guide to do flare

Step 1: Getting ready to go

  • To begin, set yourself up in what’s called the “suplex” position.
  • This means your hands are firmly planted on the ground, holding up your body.
  • Make sure your feet are positioned just a bit wider than your arms.
  • Your hands should be angled outward, forming roughly a 45-degree angle with the ground.

Step 2: Getting into motion

Now, let’s get moving!

  • Start by swinging your left leg around, aiming it towards your face.
  • At the same time, lift your left hand off the ground and swing it upwards and across your body.
  • As your left leg swings up and forward, allow your right leg to naturally follow in the same direction. It’s all about keeping the motion flowing smoothly and gracefully.

Step 3: Keeping the flow going

  • Once your right leg finishes its rotation in front of you, it’s time for the next move.
  • Your left hand should now touch the floor behind you as you shift your body weight onto it.
  • Now, it’s all about keeping that momentum going!
  • Swing your legs back under your body in a smooth motion.
  • Keep the circular movement of your legs going to return to the starting position.
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By maintaining this continuous circular motion with your legs, you’ll be able to keep doing multiple flares effortlessly.

Recommendations for a cool flare

Guide to do flare
Guide to do flare

Tips

Achieving multiple flares boils down to mastering the circular leg movement while effectively shifting your body weight onto your hands. To break it down further, start the move by

  • Placing one hand firmly on the floor, using it to push and maintain momentum.
  • Throughout the movement, ensure no other parts of your body touch the ground. It’s all about keeping that momentum flowing smoothly!
  • For extra support, consider adding plank exercises to your training routine.
  • Planking helps build core strength, which is crucial for maintaining the momentum needed for continuous flares.

Strengthening your core through planking will provide the stability and endurance required to execute flawless multiple flares.

Common mistakes to avoid

Improper hand placement

One common mistake is placing your primary hand (often the right hand) incorrectly.

  • Avoid positioning it too far ahead, too far out to the side, or too close to your body.
  • Incorrect placement can make it harder to control your movements and may even lead to injuries.

Incorrect leg movement

Another mistake to watch out for is kicking outward with your left leg.

  • Instead of aiming for a rotational or circular movement, kicking outward can throw off your balance.
  • It’s crucial to focus on kicking around rather than straight out to maintain control and stability throughout the flare.

Summary

In our journey into the electrifying world of breakdancing, there’s one move that truly stands out: the flare. Picture yourself effortlessly spinning and flipping on the dance floor, mesmerizing the crowd with your gravity-defying skills. But mastering the flare isn’t just about impressing others—it’s about embodying the rich history and evolution of this iconic move.

But what exactly is a flare, and how can you learn to do it? Imagine balancing your body weight on your hands while your legs gracefully swing in circular motions beneath you. It’s a combination of strength, agility, and technique, requiring months of dedicated practice to truly master.

To get started, you’ll need to build up your wrist and shoulder strength—essential for supporting your body weight and maintaining control during the flare. Strengthening your core through exercises like planking can also help you maintain momentum and stability throughout the move.

As you embark on your flare journey, remember the rich history and legacy behind this iconic move. From its origins in gymnastics to its widespread adoption in breaking, the flare embodies the spirit of creativity, innovation, and perseverance within the dance community.

If you want to level up your flare, please check out this YOUTUBE video for exercises to make your flare stronger!

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