Breaking It Down:
Breakin’ Terminology 101

Will this breakdance lingo make you sound a) totally fly, or b) like an idiot?

Janie Boschma

B-boy/B-girl: A break boy/break girl; a breakdancer.

B-boying/B-girling/Breaking: Breakdancing. Dancing with floor movements, such as spins, freezes, and poses.

Backflip: Dancer flips over backwards. Generally followed by a frontflip.

Backspin: Dancer balances weight on the upper back and goes into a spin by pushing with the hands or swinging the legs across the body.

Battle: A competition using any one of the four elements of hip-hop. Can be individual or groups (crews).

Floorflip: Also called “swiping.” Dancer assumes a push-up position and flips over, finishing in the original position.

Floor Rocking: Dancer rotates legs in air while carrying the weight on his hands.

Fresh: Descriptive term for anything good. The opposite of “wack.”

Freeze: Stopping a dance and holding a position, often balancing on your shoulder, head or hands.

Frontflip: Dancer does a flip in the direction in which (s)he is facing. Generally followed by a backflip.

Gyro: Also called the Windmill or the Helicopter. Dancer rotates continuously on one shoulder with feet in the air and legs apart.

Hand Spin: Also called the Hand Glide. Dancer spins on one hand with the body parallel to the ground.

Headspin: In a headstand position, dancer spins by pushing with the hands.

Heelspin: Standing erect, dancer puts his weight on one heel and initiates a spin by swinging the leg.

Locking: Moving the body out of control then back into control, locking into position, collapsing, then locking back.

Popping: A continuous flexing of the muscles to the beat; moves include arm waves and body waves that look like an electric current has passed through the body.

Turtle: Dancer spins with hands on the ground and legs in the air.

Wack: Term that refers to anything bad – usually a move done incorrectly. The opposite of “fresh.”

Definitions by New Jersey State Theatre

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