A skilled b-girl can breeze through complicated floorwork, her feet kicking and scissoring rapidly. But just like ballet, tap or contemporary dancers, breakers must first master basic skills. The six-step is a foundational footwork sequence that introduces beginners to the grounded, circular momentum that’s crucial to breaking. It also builds strength in the arms, hands and core, which helps dancers progress to more advanced moves. “It’s one of the first things you learn,” says Jennifer Weber, artistic director of Decadancetheatre, a Brooklyn-based, all-female hip-hop crew. “It helps you understand what it means to dance on the floor.”
Don’t worry if you move slowly while learning the six-step. With practice, you’ll be able to increase your speed. Decadancetheatre crew member Nadia Lumley also recommends practicing the move in both directions. “You’ll have a more complete understanding of momentum,” Lumley says, “which allows you to be unpredictable.” And once you feel comfortable with the six-step, you can experiment. “It doesn’t have to be done completely as a unit,” Weber says. “You can do steps one, two and three and then flip over. You can break it apart. It’s a stepping-stone for creativity.” Here, Decadancetheatre crew member Taeko Koji demonstrates the six-step.
Begin in a squatting position with your weight evenly distributed between both legs.
Tip: Stay on the balls of your feet to move freely and easily.
Cross your right foot in front of your left and place your right hand on the floor next to your hip, lifting your left hand above your body.
Tip: When placing your hands, keep your weight on the front of your palm with your wrist and the base of your palm lifted. This creates space between your body and the floor, allowing you to move more quickly.
Keep your right hand on the floor and step back with your left foot so that there’s space between your legs.
Tip: Keep your knees bent to help build speed.
Step back with your right foot while placing your left hand on the ground so that you end up in a wide, raised push-up position.
As you shift your weight toward your left hand, step forward with your left foot and release your right hand, lifting it above your body.
Bring your right foot forward and tuck it under the crook of your left knee.
Tip: Keep your hips pushed up. The six-step should travel around your body. Don’t let your weight settle beneath you.
Swing your left foot across the front to place it next to your right foot. Don’t stop in this position for long—you can move right into another six-step by shifting your body forward and pushing off your left hand before releasing it to propel yourself into Step 1 again.
The groundwork for Erin Carpenter's company, Nude Barre, began when she was a teenager. At 16, she earned a spot in the residency program at The Kennedy Center in partnership with Dance Theatre of Harlem. "We were required to wear nude—as in, our actual skin tone—tights and shoes," she remembers. Carpenter brought her "sun tan" tights and a pair of pink ballet shoes with her, because that was all she could find. But she wasn't allowed in class because her dancewear didn't match her skin. "I was so embarrassed," she says. "I looked unprepared. I just didn't have the right nudes." Her teacher explained that the dancers dyed their tights and pancaked their shoes.
There are dancers and then there are DANCERS! Whitney Jensen, soloist at Norwegian National Ballet, is the latter. The former Boston Ballet principal can do it all. From contemporary to the classics this prima has the technical talent most bunheads dream about. Need proof? Look no further.
Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee's dance inducing hit, "Despacito," is so catchy it should probably come with a disclaimer that warns people of an uncontrollable itch to tap your feet or bob your head. Some might even feel inclined to go all out and break it down. Niana Guerrero is a prime example of "Despacito's" uncanny ability to unleash the red dressed emoji dancer within. 💃🏽 💃🏽
Guys, we all knew this was coming—"World of Dance" was eventually going to eliminate someone. But man, is it brutal to watch these talented dancers give their all, only to be sent home. It's the name of the game, though, and after last night's episode, only two dancers per division remain. (At least Misty Copeland guest-judging was a silver lining!) Here's what went down last night:
They've impressed the judges, now it's time for the Top 100 dancers to enroll at The Academy—and to impress the All-Stars. Welcome to So You Think You Can Dance Academy!
The 100 dancers who made it through auditions in NYC or L.A. are now at The Academy, which is basically a beautiful building with floor-to-ceiling windows. The show opens with that Mandy Moore-choreographed Academy routine which, even after watching it 12 times and trying to learn all the choreography at home, is still delightful.
This Nationals season, Dance Spirit followed four talented dancers from The Dance Awards, NYCDA, Showstopper, and Starpower for an inside look at everything that goes into the biggest competitions of the year. First up: Isabella Torres from Mid-Atlantic Center for the Performing Arts in Baltimore, MD, who competed at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals for the first time this year. (All photos courtesy Shannon Torres.)
Merritt Moore is a ballerina who just so happens to be graduating from Oxford University with a PhD in quantum physics. Is she even human? The jury is still out on that - but the 29-year-old, who earned her undergrad degree from Harvard, has actually found dance to be a powerful tool that assists her in her studies.