The Backspin

Breaking has made popular many amazing moves, one of which is the backspin. The backspin is a power move, and is one of the original foundational spinning moves created by the art of breaking. There are plenty of more advanced moves being executed today, but in order to wholesomely call yourself a b-boy (break boy, breakdancer), you must be sure to have this tool under your belt. Whereas more extreme moves such as the headspin or backflip are amazing, they are not considered part of the necessary foundation, rooted to the entirety of breaking.

A backspin can be pretty literally pictured. It is when a b-boy transitions his dancing, usually from groundwork (footwork), into a twisting motion positioned on the top portion of his back. Natural form suggests the legs be bent at the knee to form a sharp angle (such as a 90 degree angle), and the head be raised off the ground. There are a handful of ways to whip into a backspin, but two of them are practiced more significantly. One is to prep the same way a b-boy would go into a windmill. Depending on which way he is spinning (usually in conjunction to which hand is dominant), a b-boy will prop his body up on top of his elbow, with his body facing parallel to the ground. His elbow is positioned in the middle of his abdomen, close to the belly button while his chest rests on his tricep. The leveraging arm forms an upside down ā€œLā€, with the palm planted flat on the floor directly below the elbow, fingers facing toes. Keeping the body stiff enough to stay elevated and as parallel the floor as possible, the lower body rests on the toes with legs approximately two shoulder widths apart. The opposite hand is used initially for balancing, but also to push away from the ground to assist the body in its spin. This hand is placed, with the elbow partially bent, in line with its shoulder, but further out, so as to be at the level of your forehead, acting together with your legs as an oblique tripod. This starting point allows for the most momentum. The same leg as the leveraging arm (elbow in belly) lifts about a foot above the other and then swings through, under the other leg, simultaneously as the entire body begins to rotate itself. As the leg swings through, the shoulder on the same side of the body roles downward to the floor, which transitions the body onto its back. The movement continues while the body tightens into a rounded back, spun on the top near the shoulders. During the spin, the legs are brought in towards the chest, with feet facing upward.

A proper backspin is controlled, smooth, and fast. During the learning process, most b-boys spin, rather wobble, slowly around one or two rotations. This can be expected for quite some time until practice makes (close to) perfect. Practice speeds the movement into a tight spin, quickly rotating into several 360 degree spins. This makes a simple spin look very impressive. And believe it or not, the backspin warrants appreciation and applause, for it is not as easy as it appears to master.

The backspin can be used as a simple blowup move, a final move showcasing control, speed and form. It can also end with a quick freeze or transition into a combination of other power moves. A talented b-boy can pull off perhaps up to 30-40 spins, which to most people seems unheard of. Performed correctly, it will appear as a very easy move which inspires spectators to mimic the move, attempting to impress themselves and others. This can-do personification usually quickly fizzes when the average person kills his own expectation after flopping half way around his first sloppy spin. All in all, it is much easier to experience a true backspin by watching a real b-boy pull it off with finesse and ease. The only thing better is to conquer them yourself.

Other Pages of Interest

Step by step breakdancing
Breakdancing moves
Free breakdancing videos
How to break dance

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