Glossary of Terms

  • 2-Step

    The 2-step is a dance move that is often the first sequences learned by breakdancers.

    Many breakdance moves begin from the 2-step position.

  • 2000

    The 2000 resembles a quickly spinning handstand. This move is considered a power move due to its flashy nature and significant momentum.

  • 6-Step

    Like the 2-step but with more structure. Each of the six steps places the body in a different position, which can then be used as launching points into other moves.

  • A

  • Afrika Bambaataa

    DJ and organiser of the Zulu Gang, one of the first and most famous dance crews.

  • B

  • Breakdancing

    Also known as, B-Boying or Break-Boying.

    The history of these terms is obscure. "Break" may have been popularised by the DJ Kool Herc, who used the call "B-boys go down" to cue dancers to start moving to the virtuoso percussion breaks he mixed on his turntables.

    The term "boying" may simply reflect the overwhelmingly male profile of the break scene, hence the recent PC introduction of the term B-girling. But some argue the term derives from the African word "boioing" meaning hop or jump.

  • Boogaloo

    West-coast style

    Developed by Boogaloo Sam in the mid-1970s, in which rolling actions of the hips, knees and head added a fluid gloss to east-coast moves.

  • D

  • Down Rock

    Breakdance style that places all footwork and moves on the floor. Downrock is usually performed with the feet and hands on the floor.

    Downrock’s counterpart is “Uprock.”

  • E

  • Electric Boogaloos

    LA crew credited with inventing the boogaloo and popping.

  • F

  • Flashdance

    Japan became a hotbed of hip-hop invention after release of Flashdance style.

  • Funk Era

    The 1970s west-coast phase of hip-hop.

  • H

  • Hip-hop

    Generic term covering rap, dance, music, graffiti etc. Krumping Fusion of underground clowning and hip-hop.

  • K

  • Korea

    Boasts a surprisingly lively hip-hop scene, exemplified by its stellar crew Street Age International.

  • L

  • Locking

    A playful staccato style developed by Don Campbell on the west coast and originally called the Campbell Lock.

    Dancers move rapidly through a series of split second poses that are often taken from everyday life - such as tilting a hat or looking at a watch.

  • M

  • Moonwalk

    Name wrongly given to the robotic glide popularized by Michael Jackson. Jackson actually danced a backslide; the moonwalk, a typical move from the Boogaloo style, doesn't travel.

  • N

  • New Skool

    Late freestyle phase of hip-hop fusing a wide range of moves.

  • O

  • Old Skool

    Early phase of hip-hop in which dancers retained clear distinctions between close-to-the-floor moves and more vertical styles.

  • P

  • Popping

    Variant of locking in which poses are linked into more fluid movement, credited to Popin Pete, dancer with the Electric Boogaloos.

  • Power Move

    Power moves encompass a variety of moves using momentum, speed and acrobatic elements.

    These moves are often the main focus of routines featuring other dancers and elements of hip hop.

  • R

  • Robot

    Early form of popping popularized by Michael Jackson in his TV performances of the record Dancin' Machine.

  • Rap or Rhythmic Accented Poetry

    New generation performers such as Benji Reid eschew the violence and misogyny associated with rap but exploit its staccato pulse and internal rhyme schemes in their own poetic texts.

  • S

  • Soul Train

    Weekly US TV series that started airing in the mid-1970s.

    Showcased African-American dance and music, and helped spread hip-hop across the US.

  • Stab

    A one handed handstand or spin in the Down Rock position.

    With the elbow pushed against the side of the ribs, or if strength permits, a fully extended arm in a power move or hold position.

  • Suicide (b-boy)

    A sudden drop in the dancers back often with a break at the knees.

    Designed to look as if the dancer were going to fall completely on their back.

  • T

  • Twitch

    All-female crew, and a rare exception to a largely male scene.

  • U

  • Uprock Mock (Top Rock)

    Combats staged by early dance crews, which resembled fast, rhythmic versions of a kung fu fight.

    The dancers had to remain as close as possible without touching and often traded moves.

    Rocking is also a generic term for early hip-hop dance with the subcategory "down rock" denoting moves performed close to the floor, and "top rock" denoting those where dancers remain standing on their feet.

  • Urban Classicism Freestyle

    Jazz and hip-hop group founded and directed by UK choreographer Robert Hylton.

  • V

  • Vagabond Crew

    Parisian troupe tipped as favorites for the 2004 Battle of the Year, Europe's biggest hip-hop competition.

  • W

  • Windmill

    A sustained backspin, one of hip-hop's most distinctive power moves.

  • Z

  • Zulu Nation Collective

    Name given to the thousands of American kids who emulated the seminal Zulu Gang in the early 1970s.