Break dancing, also known as b-boying or breaking, is an athletic style of street dancing most often performed to hip-hop music. A very acrobatic form of dance, break dancing involves fast footwork that utilizes a dancer's entire body, synchronizing flips, spins, and poses to music. Classes are usually open to teenagers and adults, and participants should be physically fit in order to engage in highly active dancing. However, most classes start slowly and build to the more show-stopping moves.
Many high schools, colleges, and universities feature student-sponsored break dancing clubs, where experienced members teach basic moves and choreographed dance routines. For students enrolled in an associate's degree program for dance, break dancing is sometimes offered as an elective option to round out a student's dance experience. In addition, many government-sponsored programs are provided through city park and recreation centers that offer dance classes in hip hop and b-boying.
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Learning Break Dancing
Beginning classes in break dancing start students with basic preparatory movements or toprock, letting the dancer move and find their rhythm to the music. Lessons progress to footwork, such as the 4-step or 6-step, teaching dancers balance and dexterity. As students gain confidence and build strength, they can learn more advanced steps, including freezes and power moves, such as the windmill, developing a personal style or routine.
Professional break dancers might find work in the entertainment industry or teaching. In order to increase their employability, many break dancers learn other related dancing styles, such as funk and hip-hop. Some popular career options for break dancers include:
- Dance troupe cast member
- Professional dance teacher
- Freelance dancer and choreographer
Employment Outlook and Salary
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of dancers and choreographers was expected to increase at a fast-as-average pace of 5% between 2014 and 2024, and competition was expected to be fierce as qualified dancers outnumbered available jobs (www.bls.gov). Dancers earned a median hourly wage of $14.44 in May 2015.
Students in break dance classes will learn trademark techniques in the genre, while building their physical strength and dexterity. Classes, which are available through some recreational programs and at some secondary and postsecondary schools, are open to children and adults alike, and can lead to professional work in the field.