Encyclopedia of Dance: Breakdancing


Breakdance is a spectacular dance that combines amazing plasticity and the complexity of acrobatic stunts. Its main properties are improvisation, originality and incendiary

Breakdancing represents the dance direction of hip-hop culture and includes many styles. Its execution requires good coordination, physical endurance, a sense of rhythm and flexibility. In movements that include improvisational transitions from original plastique to acrobatic elements with spins on the head, jumps on the arms and turns around his body, the dancer not only demonstrates mastery, but also splashes out his emotions and energy.

The history of the origin of the dance

There is an interesting legend that tells that in the early 70s in America, people from the poor quarters of New York, who were accustomed to sort things out with weapons in their hands, decided to demonstrate their strength and dexterity in a more original way. Opponents went out in turn against each other and showed their skills and intentions in the language of movements.

Any legend is based on real facts, so it can be unequivocally said that breakdancing originated as a street dance and only in the process of its development became a performing art. Break dancers rarely use this name, preferring «breaking» or «b-boying». The term «breakdancing» was created artificially and was used in the media. It was necessary to separate the different directions included in the concept of breaking.

Breakdancing is predominantly performed by males, as it is difficult for girls to learn it due to their physical characteristics, although many b-girls (girls dancing breakdance) also achieve amazing success.

In its progress, breakdance went through several stages, including both borrowing from other dances that included their elements in breakdance, and the development of b-boying itself. So we can mention the Good Foot style, in which broken movements and elements of rotation on the ground first appeared. Do not forget about the influence of Puerto Ricans, who developed and implemented many acrobatic tricks. «Participated» in the formation of breakdance and elements of kung fu, and rhythmic components that came from African immigrants, etc.


Of course, the development of breakdance was facilitated by battles — breaker competitions, in which it was very important to impress the enemy with the greatest possible sophistication of combinations of movements and tricks. The dancers began to unite in teams, developing their own styles and original movements.

Currently, breakdancing is spread all over the world, there are numerous breakdance schools, championships and festivals are held.


Conventionally, breakdance is divided into upper and lower. The division is formal because the dance includes combinations of elements from both levels.

Elements of the upper breakdance require more plasticity and improvisational moves, while the lower one requires physical training and acrobatic skills.

Top breakdance includes many areas, but the main ones are:

  • Animation — a style in which dancers imitate the jerky movements of animated puppets.
  • Waving — body movements that visually resemble waves.
  • King tut is a dance in which the movements of the limbs must be carried out at right angles.
  • Slowmo is a style similar to slow motion video playback.

In turn, the lower break dance includes the following main styles:

  • Fly (flare / delasal) — represents the movement of the legs in a circle with a change of hands.
  • Rotations on the head (headspin, drill)
  • Rotations on the back or shoulder blades (backspin, windmill)

There are many styles of breakdance, and the more of them a dancer has, the more opportunities he has for successful battle performances.

Break dance features

Breakdancing is danced to fast music with strong percussion, the most commonly used musical genres are:

  • soul
  • funk
  • rep

Despite the proliferation of educational videos, it is better to learn how to breakdance at school under the guidance of an experienced coach.

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