History of breakingBreaking or b-boying, commonly called breakdancing, is a style of dance that evolved among Black and Latino American youths in the South Bronx during the 1970s.:125, 141, 153 It is danced to both hip-hop and other genres of music that are often remixed to prolong the musical breaks.
Four basic elements form the foundation of breaking. The first is Toprock, a term referring to the upright dancing and shuffles. The second element is Downrock which refers to footwork dancing performed on the floor. The third element is the Freeze, the poses that breakers throw into their dance sets to add punctuation to certain beats and end their routines. The fourth element is the Power Moves. These are the most impressive acrobatic moves normally made up of circular motions where the dancer will spin on the floor or in the air.
The term breakdancing, though commonly used, is frowned upon by those immersed in hip-hop culture because the term was created by the media to describe what was called breaking or b-boying in the street. The majority of the art form’s pioneers and most notable practitioners refer to the dance as b-boying
B-boy stylesThere are many different individual styles used in breaking. Individual styles often stem from a dancer's region of origin and influences. Although there are some generalities in the styles that exist, many dancers combine elements of different styles with their own ideas and knowledge in order to create a unique style of their own.
- Power: This style of breaking is what most members of the general public associate with the term "break-dancing". Power moves comprise full-body spins and rotations that give the illusion of defying gravity. Examples of power moves include headspins, backspins, windmills, flares, airtracks/airflares, 1990s, 2000s, jackhammers, crickets, turtles, hand glide, halos, and elbow spins. Those b-boys who use "power moves" almost exclusively in their sets are referred to as "power heads".
- Abstract: A very broad style of breaking which may include the incorporation of "threading" footwork, freestyle movement to hit beats, house dance, and "circus" styles (tricks, contortion, etc.).
- Blowup: A style of breaking which focuses on the "wow factor" of certain power moves, freezes, and circus styles. Blowup-style consists of performing a sequence of as many difficult trick combinations in as quick succession as possible in order to "smack" or exceed the virtuosity of the other b-boy's performance. This is usually attempted only after becoming proficient in other styles due to the degree of control and practice required in this type of dancing. The names of some of the moves are: airbaby, airchair, hollow backs, solar eclipse, reverse airbaby, among others. The main goal in blowup-style is the rapid transition through a sequence of power moves.
- Flavor: A style that is based more on elaborate toprock, downrock, and/or freezes. This style is focused more on the beat of the song than having to rely on "power" moves only. B-boys who base their dance on "flavor" or style are known as "style heads".
- Flex: A style that is noted mainly from its requirement of being flexible. More complicated threading and moves with "flavor" are also accompanied with power moves and freezes that also require flexibility.