What is Breakdancing? Breakdancing, often referred to simply as breaking or b-boying/b-girling, is a dynamic and acrobatic form of street dance that emerged as a part of hip-hop culture in the 1970s, particularly in the Bronx borough of New York City. It is characterized by its athletic moves, intricate footwork, spins, freezes, and expressive gestures. Breakdancing is distinguished by its improvisational and competitive nature, where dancers, known as b-boys or b-girls, engage in battles or cyphers (circles of dancers) to showcase their skills.

Breakdancing is experiencing a resurgence in popularity as more newcomers join the art form. However, achieving long-term success in breakdancing hinges on beginning with foundational skills and gradually advancing to the sophisticated techniques demonstrated by seasoned professionals in breakdance moves.

Originally emerging as a sub-genre of hip-hop in the 1970s, breaking has expanded far beyond its New York City origins to cities like London, Paris, and Tokyo. For beginners embarking on their breakdancing journey, the question often arises: where should one begin?

This guide from Learn Breakdance introduces various foundational moves essential for mastering the art. Here are the top 10 moves you should familiarize yourself with to build a strong base in breakdancing.

The basic categories of breakdance moves

The basic categories of breakdance moves
The basic categories of breakdance moves

Learning how to breakdance can initially seem daunting when you witness professionals spinning and flipping effortlessly on stage.

For beginners, it’s advisable to start with mastering the fundamental categories of moves:

  • Top Rock: Dance movements performed while standing upright.
  • Down Rock: Floor-based dancing, encompassing various styles of footwork and backrocks.
  • Freezes: Acrobatic poses that showcase strength and balance.
  • Power Moves: Dynamic spins and tricks that are synonymous with breakdancing.

Like any skill, progressing steadily and gaining confidence in each move is crucial for achieving your desired proficiency. While it’s inspiring to observe the athleticism and skill displayed at events like the upcoming Paris 2024 Olympic Games, it’s important to avoid overexertion to prevent injuries.

what are the top 10 Breakdance Moves to get started with?

Top rock

Top rock
Top rock

Before aspiring to join the ranks of the top 10 b-boys, it’s essential to begin with mastering the foundational step-touch movements. These initial steps serve as the building blocks of breakdancing, laying the groundwork for more advanced routines.

The basic step-touch involves shifting your weight comfortably from one foot to the other, incorporating arm movements, and introducing variations such as shuffles, side steps, and kicks. Emphasizing a relaxed and flexible upper body is crucial for executing top rock breakdance moves effectively. This foundational practice not only establishes coordination and rhythm but also prepares dancers for the intricacies and dynamic transitions that define breakdancing at higher levels of proficiency.

6-Step

The 6-step, a fundamental move in breakdancing, initiates from a squatting position. Begin by stepping forward with your right foot while simultaneously kicking your left foot out to the side. Next, bring your right foot back in as your left foot moves behind to the right, creating a circular motion.

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Many instructors recommend practicing this foundational move at home to enhance body control and develop a natural flow in breakdancing.

Choosing the right shoes for breaking is crucial for facilitating seamless movement. Proper footwear ensures comfort and support, allowing dancers to execute movements with ease.

To master the complete six-step circle, we recommend following an instructional video tutorial that provides detailed guidance on perfecting each step and refining your technique. This visual resource will assist in grasping the nuances of the 6-step, helping you progress confidently in your breakdancing journey.

Baby Freeze

Baby Freeze
Baby Freeze

The baby freeze is an essential freeze for beginners looking to expand their repertoire. To initiate a baby freeze, follow these steps:

  • Start from a position on your hands and knees.
  • Lift one leg off the ground and position your knee against the back of your elbow on the same side.
  • Use your free hand to maintain balance and support the rest of your body.

Achieving perfect b-boy form in the baby freeze involves focusing on stabilizing your body throughout the pose. This requires maintaining balance and control, ensuring that your posture remains steady and poised.

Practicing this freeze regularly will not only strengthen your foundational skills in breakdancing but also enhance your ability to execute more complex freezes and transitions with precision and confidence.

Back Spin

Before delving into the complexities of a headspin, it’s beneficial to start with a foundational move like the backspin. The backspin was crafted to introduce an impressive maneuver that doesn’t demand the immense strength and technique required for more intricate powermoves.

To execute a backspin:

  • Begin by sitting on the floor and swiftly lie down on your back.
  • Pull your knees towards your chest and extend your legs outward in a controlled motion.
  • Concurrently, use your arms to push off the ground, generating the necessary momentum to initiate the spin.
  • The rotation should center around your upper back. Focus on maintaining control throughout the spin, aiming to prolong the duration you can spin without interruption.

Mastering the backspin not only builds foundational skills in breakdancing but also enhances your ability to control and execute more advanced maneuvers in the future.

Crab Freeze

Crab Freeze 
Crab Freeze

Let’s delve into adding another dynamic freeze to your breakdancing repertoire: the crab freeze. Follow these detailed steps to master the crab freeze:

  • Start by sitting on the floor with your legs extended in front of you.
  • Place your hands behind your body with your fingers pointing away from you.
  • Lift your hips off the ground while leaning slightly forward.
  • Balance on your hands and feet, creating a stable “table” position with your body.

The key to perfecting the crab freeze lies in achieving a strong and balanced posture. Focus on distributing your weight evenly between your hands and feet while keeping your core engaged. This freeze not only enhances your breakdancing versatility but also strengthens your overall body control and stability.

Coffee Grinder

The coffee grinder, also known as the helicopter, serves as a fundamental breakdancing move essential for progressing to more advanced techniques such as flares, windmills, and handstands. Mastering this move is crucial as it establishes the foundation for fluid transitions and dynamic footwork.

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To execute the coffee grinder effectively, follow these detailed steps:

  • Start from a squatting position with one hand placed firmly on the ground to support your body weight.
  • Initiate the movement by swinging your legs in a circular motion around your body.
  • Concentrate on shifting your weight towards the hand that remains on the floor throughout the rotation.

Achieving proficiency in the coffee grinder requires focus on coordination, balance, and maintaining a controlled circular motion with your legs. This foundational practice will enhance your ability to execute complex breakdancing sequences seamlessly.

Turtle Freeze

Turtle Freeze
Turtle Freeze

The turtle freeze, another foundational freeze in breakdancing, is an ideal warm-up move that complements the perfect practice regimen.

To execute the turtle freeze effectively, follow these steps:

  • Begin from a squatting position and place both hands firmly on the ground in front of you.
  • Lean forward and shift your weight onto one elbow, ensuring stability and balance.
  • Your forearm should support the majority of your body weight.
  • From a rear view, lift your legs off the ground and tuck them toward your chest.

Maintaining proper form in the turtle freeze involves focusing on stability, balance, and core strength.

Headstand

Feeling ready to challenge yourself? Let’s explore a more advanced breakdancing move: the headstand, a quintessential skill that every breaker should strive to master.

However, due to the risk of neck injuries (accounting for 22% of breaking injuries), it’s crucial to approach this move with caution. Always have a spotter present and perform on a soft surface, avoiding concrete.

To execute the headstand:

  • Start from a kneeling position with your hands placed firmly on the ground.
  • Position your head in front of your hands to create a stable triangle shape that supports your balance.
  • Gradually lift your legs off the ground while engaging your core muscles to stabilize your body weight.
  • Maintain the headstand for as long as possible, focusing on maintaining balance and control.

Comboing

Comboing
Comboing

Combining moves in breakdancing isn’t just about individual maneuvers; it’s about seamlessly chaining them together. This interconnected flow is crucial for advancing your skills in breaking.

To elevate your breaking prowess and prepare for battles, focus on practicing smooth transitions between the moves discussed earlier while maintaining rhythm and momentum. Mastering the art of comboing enhances your ability to string together sequences that flow effortlessly, showcasing both technical skill and artistic expression in your performances.

Windmill

Windmilling is a quintessential and iconic move in breakdancing that every enthusiast should aspire to master. However, understanding how to execute a windmill can initially be perplexing.

Start by assuming a position similar to that of a backspin. It’s recommended that only advanced breakers attempt to initiate the windmill from a standing position due to the heightened risk of injury. Transition into the move by rolling onto your shoulders while simultaneously swinging your legs in a circular motion. Use your arms strategically to maintain momentum and continue rotating until you shift onto your upper back. The key is to sustain the motion by consistently kicking your legs and swinging in a controlled manner without interruption.

Practicing these mechanics diligently will enhance your ability to perform the windmill fluidly and confidently. As you progress, focus on refining your technique and developing the stamina required to execute prolonged windmills, thereby elevating your proficiency in this iconic breakdancing maneuver.

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This compilation of the top 10 breakdance moves serves as your gateway into the vibrant world of this hip-hop sub-genre. Approach learning these moves with patience, and don’t hesitate to step back occasionally to refine your form. Prioritizing proper technique is essential for advancing and mastering your skills as a breaker.

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