Written by Tim Ferriss Topics: Dance
An impromptu b-boying lesson at home after some Bulleit bourbon. Don’t drink and dance.
Breakin’ 2 did it. It was 1984 and I was convinced I would be a professional breakdancer. Alas, I was seven years old, and I looked exactly like this reader who left a comment on my tango instructional post :
I’m pretty impressed by your achievements in tango, but what about tips on your first love?
B-boying is a sport I’ve watched and attempted for years. Sadly, the minute I go from uprock to six-step I look like a two-year-old trying to find spilled jelly-beans.
I don’t know what to do. Can you offer any tips on learning how to storm floors?
PS: Nice freeze on the Jones Soda. I don’t know much about tango, but I do know how hard b-boying is. I’m from Seattle and I’m damn proud.
I didn’t rediscover breakdancing (aka b-boying, not to be confused with popping or locking a la Michael Jackson) until 1997 when I found a few scattered videos of breakdancing online. I download horrible written instructions, crappy 10-second video clips, and resolved to learn how to do my favorite move–windmills –before college graduation. Death or windmills.
Months of bruised hips and humiliation later, I was able to do them. It was almost all guess work and took far too long. I’ve since found better methods for building on basics in a logical progression.
In this post, I will teach you the basics of footwork. If you’ve ever dreamed of breakdancing (and who hasn’t?), this is enough to let you check it
off the list…
– Six-step and six-step variations
– Basic flourishes that take 2-10 minutes to learn
– How to enter and exit footwork without looking like an idiot
First, a brief demonstration of what is possible with a mediocre build for breaking.
I am not a good breakdancer, and I’ve never claimed to be one, but I can do enough to use it for dramatic effect around untrained eyes. Assuming you have semi-healthy joints, you can learn how to do the following in 1-2 weeks, and I’ll teach you most of it in the next 10 minutes. This was on-the-spot, in dress shoes, at a conference after months of no practice, which goes to show how simple the moves really are:
Onward to How to Breakdance 101. I cut off my head, as the feet are more important:
This is enough to make an impression around non-b-boys.
Keep in mind that I now b-boy perhaps three times a year, and only for a few minutes at a time. These moves are not hard on the joints and will stay with you. Some other rules of thumb:
1) Thou shalt not break drunk or buzzed. Joints don’t like it.
2) Thou shalt not break on surfaces that might have spilled drinks. Ditto for joints and foreheads.
3) Thou shalt bring a second t-shirt if they plan on not being a sweaty bastard around others.
4) Thou shalt not break in public until reviewing video of themselves. Self-monitoring while breaking is not accurate. Mediocre breakdancing is more of a liability than no breakdancing. Take a few days to get the basics down before showcasing.