How to do the breakdown dance

Dance Terms Every Beginner Dancer Should Know

We use a lot of dance terms that we can't fully or specifically define, but can understand what they mean.

Learn what those dance terms actually mean and you'll gain a much clearer understanding of dance.

This list below includes commonly used dance terms and their definitions. Look up that one word you’ve always been unsure of, or brush up on all of ‘em!


This is how we break down and count music. Most dances choreographed to 8 counts at a time, or two 4-count measures back to back.

We get more in depth on the 8-count here: What Is Dance Musicality?

Ball Change

A 2-step move where you transfer the weight of one foot behind or by the other foot. You're basically just stepping twice.

The kick ball change, as the name suggests, is when you kick or scuff your foot before the ball change.


The lowest of the standard four voice ranges (bass, tenor, alto, soprano), or, the lowest melodic line in a musical composition, that supports the harmony.

Different instruments can produce a bass sound (drums, guitar..) Dancers often use the onomatopoeia “boom” to describe a bass drum sound.


A cypher is where a group of dancers in a circle and take turns dancing in the center. It could also be referred to as a freestyle circle.

The cypher, cipher, or circle, has deep, long-standing cultural roots in hip hop culture, African tradition, and even religious beliefs.

Experience one for yourself: What You Should Know Before Going To A Freestyle Jam


Different types of execution of movement. Dynamics depend on how much and fast your energy is distributed. Contrasts in dynamics make a piece look more "dynamic."


Where you are looking while you dance. Common ones are: right, left, up, down, and the “45”s AKA the diagonals between those sides.


Improvisational dancing that allows the dancer to express their individual style (i.e. a dance that is not pre-planned)

It’s the process of spontaneously creating movement that was not choreographed ahead of time.

Get way more into freestyle and other dance terms here: How To Freestyle Dance


Hip Hop Fundamentals refer to the 4 pillars of Hip Hop Culture.

Originating in the 1970s in New York City, they are: Emceeing, DJing, Graffiti, and Breaking.

Fundamental / Foundational Styles refer to the different dance styles developed from Hip Hop and street and funk styles including: Breaking, Popping, Locking, House, Punking / Waacking, Vogueing, and more.

Learn more on Hip Hop History: What Is Hip Hop Dance?

Full Out

Dancing with 100% of your energy and performance.

Wanna go awff? Read this: How To Dance Bigger, Stronger, And More "Full Out"


This is when the class is divided into smaller sections, and each group will take turns performing the piece as the other students watch. Groups can get intimidating!

But it’s also an integral part to your growth. Push yourself outside of your comfort zone and just go for it!


A sound produced by a hi-hat cymbal. Dancers often describe this sound as “tss tss~”


When you hold a move/pose and not move during a count.


When you isolate one part of your body without moving any other parts.


How high or low your body gets.Low levels require you to bend your knees, or “plie. ” High levels may involve getting on your toes in “releve.”

Match levels with the choreographer or other dancers by looking in the mirror to check you are as low/high as everyone else.


Dancing a piece of choreography with less energy, usually for practicing musicality, timing, and other tools.

This allows you to be more conscious of the music, timing, and where your body placements are rather than releasing your bankai.

The choreographer might use percentages to indicate how much energy you should be putting into your mark.

Example: “Let’s go just 50% for this first run-through!” or “Mark it around 80%”


When you extend movements throughout a portion of the piece or music.

At the end of a move, instead of “putting a period” on it and ending it definitely by stopping the movement, think of it as a “…” – like you’re dragging out that move.


In dance, the matching of movement to the rhythm, sounds, and mood of the music.

“Dance musicality” is demonstrated in several ways, depending on the dancer’s style, the song, and countless other elements.

There are many other dance terms to describe dance musicality.

Practice your musicality by following: How To Train Your Musicality As A Dancer


The words that the singer is singing to, often in sync with the melody.

The lyrics are probably the easiest to distinguish, but hardest to count / dance to, since vocals don’t always match the strict structure of 8-counts.

Sometimes choreographers will make moves that correlate with the lyrics, like miming actions or using certain body parts, AKA wordplay.


A smooth and continuous bending of the knees outward with the upper body held upright.


Think of pictures as literal pictures. If someone were to take a photo of you on the count that you’re hitting a picture, then the clearer that photo turns out to be the “cleaner” you are executing that picture.

Watch this video to hit cleaner pictures!


The repetitive patterns within the music. It’s how we “count” our beats (see “8-count”) and measure our movements.

Select Group

Students chosen by the choreographer to demonstrate the piece to the rest of the class. The criteria for the selected dancers is solely up to the choreographer.

Selected dancers may have been really clean, not so clean but performed the crap out of it, had a lot of personal style, or were just fun to watch. There are so many reasons you can get chosen or not for a select group, so don’t overthink it!

Wanna make it into select group? Use these tips: 9 Ways To Stand Out In Dance Class


The sharp, staccato drum sound you hear, like the sound you make when you clap your hands. Dancers often describe as snare as “ka!”


The segment of music created by stringed instruments like guitars, violins, etc. Guitar strums and melodies are also useful to take note of, for more instrumental / acoustic songs.

Switching lines

When a class rotates from the front to back and vice versa to give everyone a chance to be in the front.

When the choreographer says to “switch lines” – if you’re in the front of the room, then move to the back (and vice versa). This is to ensure that everyone gets a fair chance at having a good view of the choreographer throughout the class. It’d be a little selfish to stay in the front the whole time, right?

Practice good dance etiquette: How To Take A Dance Class


The sound from a sound synthesizer, is produced by electric signals converted to sound through amps and loudspeakers.

Common reference to a “synth” is the synth piano, which may sound like a long slow bass like “wobba wobba”


The speed of the music. As you’re learning a piece, the choreographer will teach in slow tempo, then speed it up to medium, and finally “tempo” – AKA the real-time speed of the song.


We have a whole article for this one. Read: What Are Textures In Dancing?


In a performance set, these are the movements that are used to connect 2 different pieces. The music will change, and there will be dancers “transitioning” on and off the stage or switching their position on stage.

Urban Dance / Urban Dance Choreography

OH man. Too much to fit into this list. Here, read this: What Is Urban Dance?

Now that you have a better grasp of common dance terms, you can see them in action!

Take a class on STEEZY Studio for real-life application of these dance terms. Sign up today and try it for free!

Are there more dance terms you want clarified? Comment below and we'll help!

Choreography as Breakdown: Alva Noë and Dance | Philosophy & Rhetoric

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Research Article| March 12 2021

Carrie Noland

Philosophy & Rhetoric (2021) 54 (1): 45–62.

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Carrie Noland; Choreography as Breakdown: Alva Noë and Dance. Philosophy & Rhetoric 12 March 2021; 54 (1): 45–62. doi:

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The essay explores Alva Noë's theory of choreography as a practice that recapitulates (and heightens our awareness of) quotidian forms of perception—perception understood as a set of organized behaviors aiming for “the right critical stance. ” Noë argues (pace Heidegger) that the moment when we become aware of the organized, constructed nature of our behaviors is not a “breakdown” but rather a choreographic “display” of perception as a form of research. I begin by examining how his theory of dance and dance spectatorship developed through collaborations first with Lisa Nelson, then with William Forsythe. Next, while still approaching choreography as the “display” of perceptual practices, I move toward a conclusion that Noë allows but does not pursue. Studying a scene from Pina Bausch's Café Müller, I propose that choreography displays not our mastery of reality but our lack thereof. Perceptual habits give us a world, but one in which we are never quite “at home.” For me, the conceptual payoff of the aestheticization of movement (or choreography as display) is not simply that we become aware that perception is organized and rhetorically framed, but also that perceptual practices are impeded by the “critical stance” or rhetorical frame that orients them.

Alva Noë, choreography, dance, Lisa Nelson, William Forsythe, Pina Bausch, rhetoric, aesthetic, breakdown, perception, display, Husserl, Merleau-Ponty

Copyright © 2021 by The Pennsylvania State University. All rights reserved.


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How to breakdance - tips for beginner breakdancers from the school Breaking Academy

Breakdancing is actually not very difficult if you have the appropriate physical preparation and knowledge of dance basics. The main thing is to learn how to put together all the components of breakdance into one common dance sweat coming from the human body, transmitting vibrations from the sounds made by musical instruments to your body. Of course, being able to break dance is a great pleasure for the soul and body. The feeling of how you convey the rhythm of the music with your movements is very pleasing and creates a feeling of happiness. The main question is how professional the dancer's movements are. And here it is important to find a specialized breakdance school, such as ours, in order to fully experience all the delights of controlling your body, music and energy of the audience.

In our classes, any student will learn how to learn how to dance breakdance, as our trainers, being, of course, professionals in their field, will tell you all the nuances and features of this dance. They will prepare the body for physical exertion, teach you to feel comfortable and not be ashamed of your dance. Every child who has applied to us will be able to go to the center of the dance floor after a month of classes and show, without any hesitation, what he has learned and show everyone how he dances.

What are the benefits of doing breakdancing

  • The child will be guaranteed excellent physical shape.
  • The mobility of the body links will improve due to intensive stretching.
  • Increases overall endurance to physical activity and increases efficiency.
  • A creative approach and a view of the world around are being developed, because dancing is an art.
  • The skill of feeling rhythm and music in general appears, after a while, the child will learn to dance exactly to the music.
  • Dancing is a way of self-realization, any dancing child will always be in the spotlight and, as a result, will be self-confident.

How to start break dancing, break dancing

It is best to start by contacting specialists - people who have gone through this path and are ready to share it. Of course, it is more correct to start mastering breakdance with knowledge of the theory of dance in general. And only then work out the dance moves. If you do not understand what you are doing, then you can lose a lot of time for nothing, without learning anything or moving in the wrong direction. To avoid this, we advise you to work with a trainer. A competent teacher will always tell you how best to develop a particular student, develop a special program for developing skills and gradually mastering the elements of breakdance. What is an integral part of the process of teaching break dancing to children.

What elements are important to learn in order to break dance beautifully

  • Dance at the top is a set of dance movements in a standing position.
  • Downward Dance is a squat-level movement.
  • Racks and fixations are different racks, they can be at the top (on the hands), I can be at the bottom (on the head) and so on.
  • Acrobatic elements - everything related to acrobatic stunts.
  • Power movements - transitions from rack to another rack.
  • Power rotational movements.

Why is it useful to dance break-dance, break?

Break dancing is quite a useful activity in terms of developing creativity and the physical form of your body, and it is also an indisputable advantage in the fight against excess weight, since a lot of calories are burned during dancing. Below are the main benefits of break training.

  • Increases endurance and physical strength.
  • Breakdancing develops various muscle groups that are not used anywhere else by our body.
  • Teaches you how to competently approach the development of your body in terms of building strength and stretching.
  • Break allows you to feel relaxed and free to dance to the music in front of the audience.
  • Gives you the opportunity to come up with your own movements and thus be realized in creation.

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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.

1. Break dance school: Top rock 1

2. Break dance lessons: Top Rock 2

3. Top Rock 3. Movement Break DANSA for beginners

4. Top Rock 4. Street Dance lessons

9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 children and not only in Moscow. Sign up and come to a trial lesson

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

2. Break DANS LUCK: Six STPS

3. Online lessons Break DANSA: Three STPS

9000 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.

1. Break dance. Where to start: Balance

2. Freez 1. How to learn Break Dance Frisa

3. Video Dance Lessor Break 2 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 4. Freez 3. Break dance lessons

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.

Learn more