How to bone break dance

Flexing: the 'bone-breaking' dance craze that bubbled up from Brooklyn | Dance

The reflection in the mirror shows a wiry body tightly tensed, with a tattooed chest and hair tied up in two afro bunches. He lifts his shoulder and starts to twist it almost out of its socket, muscles knobbling and bulging, until it looks like something extraterrestrial.

This is not a freak show, but a dance. Called “bone-breaking”, it’s one of the more wince-inducing moves in the family of flexing, New York’s latest street dance craze, an offshoot of Jamaican dancehall that’s been bubbling up from the streets of Brooklyn over the past decade and is now staking its claim as a stage art.

Bone-breaking, pausing, get low, gliding, connecting, hat tricks and punchline: these are the terms I’m getting to know. I ask Reggie “Regg Roc” Gray, one of the dance’s pioneers, what punchline is. “A really extravagant movement that nobody would ever think of doing,” he says. “I have a friend, Jay, who’ll do really big tricks, like jump off a second-floor building and do a back flip. That ends the show.” That does sound like quite a show-stopper.

Gray is in the UK to spread the flexing love to Manchester, where he’s masterminding a show for the international festival called FlexN Manchester, a coming together of 10 Brooklyn flex dancers and 10 local street dancers performing at the Old Granada Studios.

The dancers are warming up for rehearsals, the morning after a Friday night out. Fuelled by Kit Kats and camaraderie, they start with a gentle groove to a reggae rhythm, get tangled up in some fast footwork, and break off into pairs to work out routines. The style originated from dancehall’s bruk-up (meaning “broken-up”), its rubbery bodies and facial expressions now expanded to something more complex. There might be jolting torsos and thumping steps interrupting the flow, as well as pausing, which looks like an electrical current pulsing through the body, and gliding – think moonwalk 2.0.

Flo during rehearsals for FlexN. Photograph: Tristram Kenton

There’s a sense of family in the room, what with all the laughing, joshing, sharing steps and teaching each other. For Gray, flexing has always been about community. He started dancing at school, battling in the dining hall, and used to go to parties every Saturday at the home of a couple called Rocky and Sandra Cummings, who created a talent show, and later a cable TV show, called Flex N Brooklyn. “They let hundreds of people into their home,” says Gray. “Sandra used to cook for us, spaghetti and Kool-Aid. It’s always been a big circle of people coming together, making a change and doing something for the youth.”

The Brooklynites are keen to emphasise that this is a culture separate to hip-hop. It has its own DJs and music (based on reggae rhythms – or riddims), and label-loving fashion style, as well as its own slang. There’s the word “modd”, meaning something great or over the top (in a good way), and its superlative form, “zodd”.

Performers Bain and Andrew during rehearsals for FlexN. Photograph: Tristram Kenton

For Gray, this all started as somewhere to go and hang out on a Saturday, but it turned into something much more significant. “I was real quiet,” he says. “I was always shy, this nerdy kid. And it brought me out. I was changing from fitting in to standing out.” Nurturing the flexing community has since become his life, bringing him a successful career. As well as running events all over Brooklyn, in March Gray co-created a show with opera maverick Peter Sellars at New York’s Park Avenue Armoury (where MIF boss Alex Poots is also artistic director).

The local dancers taking part in FlexN Manchester were all flown out to the Armoury show for what was their first taste of flexing. “Whoa, I had never seen anything like it before,” says 23-year-old Jack Bain from Sale. They were instantly welcomed into the community. “We’d only seen them for a day and they were, ‘Yo, the UK family!’”

But then it was down to work – and flexing has asked more of the Manchester dancers than they are used to. There are the usual aches and bruises involved in any physical challenge but, at its heart, flex is a dance that’s all about expression and storytelling, creating characters and using mime-like movements to outline specific situations. In rehearsals, I watch a courtroom scene unfold, with only a few chairs for props, but a clear narrative emerges. “It’s about driving the emotion out of them and letting them understand it’s more than just dance,” says Gray. “You gotta tap into a place you’ve never gone before – you gotta go to a place where you’re almost vulnerable.”

Paola “Flo” Nyembo, one of the Manchester crew, laughs and says: “Regg is always screaming at us, ‘More! More!’ I know the emotion I’m trying to give, but Regg will be like, ‘It’s not reading.’ I’ve been thinking I’m giving 100%, but I’m not at all.”

“He scrapes everything from the barrel,” says Dale Coleridge, aka Goodsoul. “He doesn’t want anything left – it’s all out on the floor. Yesterday, doing my solo, I literally had to go outside because I was going to pass out. Regg was screaming at me. I’m like, ‘There’s nothing left!’”

In my solo, I went outside because I was going to pass out. Regg was screaming at me. I’m like, ‘There’s nothing left!’

It sounds brutal but it’s been a revelation for the dancers, the self-expression proving highly cathartic. “Dancers can be the life of the party and all that,” says Bain, “but a lot of us are reclusive, and the things that go on in our head we don’t necessarily vocalise. But we do want to say it, and this is a great way to learn how to get it out.” In fact, if you’ve ever seen a dance show and wondered what the dancers were trying to say, flexing might be your thing. As Bain puts it, you can watch an angst-filled performer but think, “I get it, you’re upset – but about what?”

“I think that’s the beauty of it,” says Nyembo. People think dance is backflips and splits but Gray wants to communicate actual things that are happening in the world and our own understanding of it. “He wants it to be so real that people feel uncomfortable. So he gets a reaction and we can make people question themselves.”

The opportunity to address real-life issues is crucial to the flexors, who tackle racism, injustice, social problems and their own personal experiences. The Armoury show in New York directly responded to the shooting of Michael Brown and the choking of Eric Garner, as well as the tensions and unrest in post-Ferguson America. For the US cohort, flexing represents more than a dance style: it’s a voice for the young and marginalised – and that’s something Gray wants to spread to the UK.

As bodies jerk, judder, surge, spiral and contort across the studio, Gray’s deep voice sends out a rallying cry to his dancers. “Power through our practice!” he shouts. “Freedom and power!”

FlexN Manchester is at the Old Granada Studios, 11-18 July. Flexn will also be performing at the 2015 Brisbane festival, Australia, 23-26 September.

the importance of stretching – mattzworld

[This post is a little different from most of mine, while it’s still about dance injury/recovery and it can be applied to ballet, it is focused on the style of Bone Breaking.  It was written in collaboration with nolamahon, who’s blog focuses on health concerns for ballet dancers.]

Bone breaking, or flexing is a style of dancing which involves physical contortions of the body which look as if they would be physically impossible or would break the dancers bones. These moves are often integrated with other styles like tutting, waving, and gliding. These dance moves rely on illusions to make them seem more impossible than they actually are.

However, these dance moves do require that one pushes the limits of how their body can stretch in certain ways. As anecdotal evidence for this, when I (Matthew) learned how to do one of these moves in high school which involved locking my hands together and pulling my arms from the front to back and back to front, I had to practice with a lanyard using less and less of it before I was able to do it with my hand actually interlocked. Given that this is the case, stretching should be considered very important for ensuring safety when practicing these moves.

In any sort of exercise stretching is important, and it’s particularly important in dance.  For something like bone breaking stretching can not only help to prevent injuries, but it can also help to increase the range of motion in a joint and make the dancing easier.  Mayo Clinic has an article on stretching in which they outline some important things to remember when stretching.  Some of the main points from this article are commonly known, like the importance of warming up before stretching (stretching is NOT a warm up!), keeping up with your stretching, and focus on major muscle groups.  However some of the points listed are less obvious.  One important thing to keep in mind is that stretching should NOT hurt, while you should feel some tension or a light burn, it shouldn’t cause pain. There is also a common misconception that you should bounce lightly in (or push in and out of) your stretches.  This is actually not a good idea, as bouncing can cause an injury, you should instead hold a steady stretch for 30 seconds to a minute.  And, of course, if the exercise you’re doing heavily uses one area of the body or set of muscles you should give that area extra focus.

When stretching, it is important to note that that there are two things a person can stretch, muscles and ligaments. has an article addressing this idea in regards to yoga, but can be easily applied to bone breaking.  Stretching your muscles should be the goal, as stretching muscles doesn’t make any permanent changes to the body.  In contrast ligaments (which have the purpose of supporting the bones and holding them together) are not designed to stretch, and as such they do not un-stretch and return to their normal length.  When this happens across the majority of the body it is called hypermobility (when referring to this in just one joint it is called a hyper-extended joint).  Since your tendons are meant to hold your bones in place, if they stretch out too much it can make your joints unstable and as such, the surrounding muscles have to tense up massively to make up for the additional stretch of the ligaments.  So, while many people who do bone breaking have hyper-extended joints and use them in their dancing, it’s important to not force hyper-extension in non-hyper-extended joints.

In a perfect world, you would stretch every time you exercised, but for a lot of people that isn’t totally practical.  Instead, you should stretch at least a couple of times per week.  Remember, if you’re stretching correctly, your flexibility won’t stay if you stop using it.  As far as what exactly to do when stretching, it’s a good idea to find a general full body stretch (like the one on the Feelfit Channel on youtube) and then follow it by a more specific set of stretches to target any body parts you personally want to stretch out (like the stretch with the lanyard mentioned by Matthew).  It’s also a good idea to change up your stretching routine every once in a while.  If you never change your routine you run the risk of falling into a rut or failing to stretch certain body parts.  Whereas if you find new routines regularly, you’re more likely to hit everything you need.  While doing these it’s important to remember the tips mentioned before.  Make sure you’re fully warmed up, don’t bounce in your stretches, and don’t push yourself too far.  It’s important to remember that you probably won’t be magically flexible to begin and that gaining flexibility can take time.

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Break dance training. VIEW ALL LESSONS >>>

Breaking or break dance (break dance) - one of the most spectacular areas of street dance, which includes torsion, energetic "runs" and sudden stops of the dancer (freez) during his exit. The dance style began to form in the early 70s in New York in the Bronx area. Only a few years have passed and from the underground dance breakdance has received worldwide fame and recognition. Today, breaking is one of the strongest dance subcultures, with a developed technique, system of events and a real street spirit. On this page you will see break dance lessons for beginners.

If you want to learn how to breakdance and feel that you can't do without a mentor, come to the Dragon Dance School for a trial breakdance lesson. Since 2000, we have been helping people learn how to move beautifully and feel the music. Already several thousand people have been trained and learned to dance. Even if you have never worked out before, even if you are not in good physical shape now, all this is easily fixable. You will understand that learning to dance is easy. Come for a free trial lesson.

Break dance training for beginners: the right warm-up

Any dance lesson in any style, be it breaking or hip-hop dance, should begin with a warm-up. This allows you to warm up the body, muscles and ligaments. This is especially important for learning the lower break, since it uses the maximum resources of the body, which means that in order to swing to the fullest, you need to warm up a lot, maybe even sweat a little.

Break dance video lessons: top rock (top rock)

Top rock is what the dancer does before entering the lower elements. However, top rock should not be neglected, for a good dancer is easily recognized by the first moves of top rock. It's like a business card. Look online lessons on top rock and learn the elements suggested there. This will allow you to learn how to breakdance even at home.

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Basic technique: footwork (style)

Footwork or style is one of the main sub-styles in breakdance. It includes, as the name suggests, "footwork". And indeed it is. A variety of "running", "cutting" and so on. Each bboy tries to stand out in footwork and do it in his own way. Therefore, it is important to learn the basics at the beginning, and then proceed to improvise and develop your own manner in footwork.

1. How to learn how to dance Break DANS: Sharchka

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4. dance for beginners: CC's

Basic technique: Freez/Power trix

If you watched breakdance videos from battles, then you probably remember that during the dance, the b-boy can suddenly stop or freeze in the most incredible position. These stops are called "friezes". Also in breakdance, many elements are performed from a handstand, elbows, etc. This power substyle is called "trix". Watch break dance lessons and master the base of these directions.

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Basic technique: Power move

Finally, we move on to the most spectacular part of break dance for many - power moves. These are power movements, all kinds of torsion on the head, back, various "air twists" and "air tracks". Indeed, power moves are the hallmark of breaking. In order to learn how to bray dance and perform complex elements, you will first need patience. Every break dance move requires thoughtful practice. Therefore, if something did not work out on the first try, do not be discouraged. Just do it again. Record your video. Compare with how it was explained in the video tutorial. A little work and everything will work out! You will learn to dance breakdance the way you have long wanted to!

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How to improve yourself in breakdancing

Red Bull b-boy athlete Killa Kolya gives 10 clear tips - a complete guide to breakdancing.

You can start at home too!

If you have a desire to dance breaking, try this direction, you can even start at home. Find tutorial videos on youtube and try to repeat what they show there. And if the desire to dance has already finally taken shape, then it's time to find any studio where there is a break dance and sign up.

Free form!

Clothing should be loose: not to fetter anywhere, not to squeeze, not to tighten. An excellent option can be hoodie pants and a T-shirt, you can even go up a size. And sneakers or sneakers, whoever is more comfortable.

Breakdance equipment also includes a hat and a jacket: a hat is needed in order to perform elements below, where the head touches the floor, so that there is protection, and the jacket helps to spin - it glide better, and also serves as protection.

Everyone will find their form

© Dean Treml/Red Bull Content Pool

And then everyone will find their form. You can see what your favorite b-boys have chosen as their equipment. You will see that someone has chosen tight clothes for themselves, someone prefers jeans. After all, the form is a continuation of the dance style. So, when you form your style, you will understand what is better to dance in. For example, if there is a big emphasis on stretching, it is better to give preference to loose clothing, it will be more comfortable in it.

The Basic Approach - The Foundation of Your Workout

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The Basic Approach

You can organize your workout according to the classic scheme: warm-up, study movements, pumping and stretching at the end of the workout. If you approach it from the dance side, then toprock is the best warm-up. This is a dance that does not have complex elements and physical activity, but at the same time, arms, legs, and the body are involved in it. If you give it 15-20 minutes, you can warm up well, here you need to follow the sensations. After that, you can move on to the movements below, for example, use the calls down and footwork. And when you feel that you are already in the right condition, you can proceed to the study of complex elements. And as a download, I most often do the breakdance elements themselves, I do them for the number of approaches: this is how the element is worked out and the download occurs. And finally, the basic stretch.


When choosing a place to train or dance, remember that atmosphere matters. There must be a spirit of creativity and the same people, close in spirit, from whom you will charge and charge them. To have an energy exchange. Plus to everything - there should be a good floor. For b-boys, it is important that there is a slippery floor, it is easier to perform spinning elements on it.

The choice is yours

If you break breaking into directions, then for each you need to master certain movements that will help you master the direction itself. For example, for toprock, the quality of the hull is important. That is, so that not only the arms and legs work, but the body shakes. In general, for any dance direction, the basis of the dance is the quality. For breaking use funk-kach.

For footwork there is a basic movement - Russian Steps: squatting, not holding hands, swings legs alternately. If you have seen Russian folk dances, then you can imagine what it is about.

It is imperative to master this movement so that all other movements and elements of direction can be easily obtained.

Don't give up!

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For more physically demanding moves like power moves and power tricks, you need to be able to do different handstands, headstands, shoulder stances, and so on. And from here it will be easier to learn more complex elements.

Do not throw

If movement is not given, the reason must be found. If we are talking about simple directions, then, most likely, there is not enough technique, and you just need to work on this movement more.

If a complex element is not given, most likely, there is not enough physical preparation and you need to pump up or learn something additional about this element.

It happens that an element is not given at all for a very long time, and then you need to give it time. Don't get hung up. Continue to teach him, repeat each lesson, but do not torture yourself with questions why he is not given. Each element has its own period and operating time. The main thing is not to throw.

Mood, Attitude, and Approach

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Mood, Attitude, and Approach

The essential elements for a successful session are your mood, your attitude, what you want to get from this workout, and your approach, how serious are you. This is the basis that is important for any workout and result.

Protect yourself!

To prevent injuries, it is important to learn the technique of the elements. When you approach the study of a certain element, it has its own technique. In order to learn how to do it as safely as possible, you need to master this technique.

Well, protect yourself. As I said before, wear a hat and sweater to cushion falls. Because in the process of studying the elements, there will still be some minor bruises, bruises, abrasions. But this is inevitable, because this is an extreme dance.

Protect yourself!

© Nika Kramer/Red Bull Content Pool

Serious injuries such as dislocations or fractures are very rare. And they are always the result of an illiterate approach, when you are not sufficiently prepared to try something difficult.

Well, pumping helps against injuries: the body becomes stronger and easier to endure a collision with the floor. And with experience, you learn the art of the right fall, a cat skill is developed. This is where stretching helps.

Dance with what doesn't hurt

If you are injured, approach wisely. If necessary, see a doctor or take a break from training to recover. And if the injury is minor, wait for everything to pass, but you can not miss training, just distribute the load so as not to use the sore spot. As I tell my students: if your arm hurts, dance top rock, if your leg hurts, stand on your hands.

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