You may know breaking from the impressive flares or the dramatic head-spins that breakers perform on the dance floor, but there’s a lot more that goes into the dancesport than just that. Breaking is actually composed of four primary elements – toprock, footwork, freezes, and power moves.
Also known as floorwork or downrock, footwork refers to movements on the floor that require the support of the dancer’s hands as much as their feet. Footwork typically showcases a dancer’s agility and control, examining how they maintain clean lines and form. Like other components of breaking, footwork is a chance for breakers to convey their originality through different combinations and patterns.
Footwork examples: 6-step, 3-step, CC
Toprock includes any dance moves where the breaker is standing. The introduction to a breaker’s set, toprock, is an opportunity for breakers to get into the rhythm and build-up their set¹. Through Toprock, dancers demonstrate their own style and even experiment with other styles, such as locking, salsa, and liquid dancing.
Toprock examples: Front step, Kick-step, Indian step
To freeze, a breaker must hit and hold a pose in response to the music, punctuating specific beats and demonstrating their musicality⁵. Freezes demonstrate a breaker’s flexibility, as they typically contort themselves into impossible, pretzel-like shapes that involve threading and looping their limbs into one another.
Freeze examples: Baby Freeze, Chair Freeze, Elbow freeze
Inspired by a combination of martial arts and acrobatics, power moves refer to steps that involve a breaker balancing on their upper body while spinning or rotating their legs in some pattern or circular motion⁶. Breakers must have strength and flexibility to execute the form of a power move, utilise speed and momentum to create the circular movement, all while maintaining control and pushing their endurance to the limit.
Power move examples: Flares, Windmills, Spins, Swipes