Of all the dance disciplines, there are few as intense and body-transforming as break dance. Not only does it look amazing (and, let’s face it, really cool), but it also does incredible things for your body. Upper body strength is key to break dancing and general fitness will need to be upheld just to be able to pull off some of the more complicated choreography. Warm ups before a break dance lesson will tend to include an aerobics-style workout, featuring crunches, push ups and headstands, making this one of the more tricky styles of dance to get into. More than worth it, however, as once you have begun to pick up even the most basic moves break dance is energetic, exciting and will transform body your physical shape and the general way you move.
The History of Break Dance
Break dance originated in the 1970’s, inspired in part by James Brown’s energetic onstage moves, and quickly became popular with young athletic men who wanted to take part in a form of dance that was impressive and acceptable on the streets. Break dancers formed ‘crews’ and could meet up to ‘battle’ (basically a dance-off, with the emphasis on pulling off the most impressive moves to win). In the 1990’s break dance became a widely accepted dance form as it began to seep into popular culture, appearing in films, music videos and even television ads. Very much associated with hip hop music, it became one of the most popular identifiers for young people (by this point both men and women) that were part of the hip hop subculture.
Although break dance has faded out of public consciousness since the 90’s, it is still very much one of the more dramatic and popular youth-oriented dance forms. You can take part in break dance and urban dance classes as part of many gyms, or in independent classes run by urban dance schools. Just do an Internet search to find your nearest class.
Break Dancing Moves
Break dance relies on a few basic elements. There are simple moves for each, which will build your strength and balance enough to move onto some of the more spectacular moves. Toprock are steps performed from a standing position, and are used often to warm up before dropping into the more complicated Downrock, which involves movements and positions on the floor, using hands as much as feet. Power moves and freezes are used to add more stylistic elements to the dance as a whole, with power moves being the more gymnastic movements, and freezes tending to end a section of break dance choreography – holding a strong pose either on your hands or feet (the physical representation of a ‘ta-dah!’).
When beginning to learn break dance, one of the first moves you will perfect is the 6-step, which is basically just walking in a circle on the floor with one hand on the ground. From this position, it is easy to move into more complicated poses, stands and movements. Once you have the 6-step down, the hardest part should be over and your rhythm and balance should be right for learning the trickier elements. This video shows a detailed instructions on how to do the 6-step so it is a great place to start and see if you can get the basic moves down.
Break dance will tone your entire body as well as strengthening your core as you learn to hold strong positions for long periods of time, and move your body in ways that you hadn’t previously even thought of! It will not only improve your general fitness, but give you better balance and posture as well, as you learn to move with much stronger control of your body.
Whilst not one of the simplest types of dance to pick up, break dance could easily be one of the most rewarding skills to learn.
Written by Caitlin who is a blogger for UK based poledancingpoles.info where she blogs about pole fitness. Caitlin is dance crazy and there is not a dance craze that she hasn’t tried. When she is not busy blogging she is usually found in a dance class or shimmying up her chrome x-pole and showing off her latest moves.
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