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.
Much of Janelle Ginestra's career has been about helping others shine. She's dedicated herself to supporting and cheerleading her partner, WilldaBeast Adams; the emerging talents in their dance company, ImmaBEAST; and the countless dancers she inspires at master classes and conventions. Her YouTube channel has become a launching pad for young talents like "Fraternal Twins" Larsen Thompson and Taylor Hatala, thanks to viral videos featuring Ginestra's creative vision.
But Ginestra's a skyrocketing success in her own right—an in-demand choreographer, a social media influencer, and a dance entrepreneur, building a legacy one eight-count at a time. It's time for her turn in the spotlight. And she's more than ready. "I want to be a legend in whatever I do," she says. We'd argue that she already is.
For ballerinas, it's the dream role to end all dream roles: Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, the type of part dancers spend years preparing for and whole careers perfecting. And it's a role that New York City Ballet principal Tiler Peck never thought she'd dance. Though Peck is one of the world's preeminent ballerinas, her short stature made Odette/Odile, typically performed by longer, leggier dancers, seem (almost literally) out of reach.
Then—surprise!—her name popped up on the cast list for NYCB's fall season run of Swan Lake.
Lani Dickinson's power, grace, and raw presence make her a standout with AXIS Dance Company, whose mission is to change the face of dance and disability by featuring a mix of disabled and non-disabled performers. Born in China, Dickinson was adopted by an American couple and started dancing at 8 in Towson, MD. She attended the Boston Ballet School for two summers, studied at the Idyllwild Arts Academy for the last two years of high school, and graduated with a dance degree from Alonzo King LINES Ballet's BFA program with Dominican University of California. In 2015, she joined AXIS and won a Princess Grace Award. Catch her this month during AXIS Dance Company's 30th-anniversary season—and read on for The Dirt!
Week five of "Dancing with the Stars" proved to be one of the best weeks of the season so far. (And we're not just saying that because Mickey made a cameo debut on the piano during one of the routines—although that certainly didn't hurt!) Everyone brought their A-game, and with such a fun theme the contestants were able to really let their guards down. There was true sincerity in their dancing that we hadn't seen before. But not all Disney stories end with a "happily ever after," and one couple still had to hang up their dancing shoes.
If there's one week you should watch all the routines of it's undoubtedly this one... But, ICYMI, scroll below for our highlights of the night.
Almost a month out, Puerto Rico continues to suffer the devastating aftereffects of Hurricane Maria. Many of the island's residents still lack power, clean water, and safe housing. Ballet classes? For Puerto Rican dance students, they must feel like an impossible luxury.
But a dance studio in Florida is working to allow a group of young Puerto Ricans to continue their training. And it needs your help.
Yes, I am a dancer, and yes, I am fat.
There's nothing quite as soul-crushing as the reactions I've received when I've told people I dance. They can range from disbelief to confusion to shock. To many people, it's somehow incomprehensible that a plus-size person like myself could grace a stage. While the body-positive movement has been trucking along at full force over the past few years, it hasn't made much progress in the dance community yet. In fact, the words "body positivity" and "dance" are almost never used together in the same sentence.
Despite that fact, dance is what helped me learn to love my larger frame. In honor of National Body Confidence Day, I wanted to talk about my first time in a studio, and about the tremendous progress I've made since.