Street dancing is by far the coolest style of dancing and I’ve been doing it professionally now for 4 years. I started out as a ‘living room’ dancer and learned how to street dance from YouTube. After two years I landed my first opportunity to be a professional street dancer to go on a world tour with T-Pain, be in Step Up 3D, and ever since then it has been a crazy ride.
I wanted to create the ultimate guide on learning how to street dance as the best resource for learning how to street dance online as a way to give back to those beginner dancers who were just like me wanting to learn how to dance but had no idea where to start. Back when I started dancing 6 years ago it was really hard to find good street dance video tutorials and general knowledge on how to street dance.
I used my personal experience on learning street dance as a beginner to compile this guide for all the questions I had while learning to street dance. From Popping, Locking, Waving, Robotics, to b-boying and breakdancing this guide will teach you everything you need to know about learning how to street dance for beginners. One thing I’ll note is that this street dance learning guide is jam packed with knowledge to read, to watch, and actions to take. Meaning, you can’t just sit read through this whole street dance guide.
I'm going to teach you everything I learned that helped me turn from a shy living room dancer to a professional dancer.
I have many references of how I have learned how to street dance in this guide whether through research, or personally meeting dancers well respected in the industry which I will reference through out this guide. All the tutorials in this guide are absolutely free, but depending how serious and dedicated you are about learning how to street dance you'll for sure want to check out my 60 minute premium tutorials which are the #1 most downloaded tutorials on learning to freestyle on the internet.
The first video displayed is the trailer of the 60 Minute Beginner Popping Tutorial from my bundle pack, if you want to check out the good stuff right away! Otherwise continue with the street dance beginners guide below and best of luck! Without further hype, I hope you enjoy my ultimate guide to learning how to street dance.
Before we get started learning how to street dance aka vernacular dance it’s important to understand the background and even a little of the history of the things we are learning. If we take Wikipedia’s definition of street dance we get a nice simple explanation that “ Street Dance refers to dance styles that originate outside a dance studio deriving from African American culture in hip hop dance styles like locking, b-boying, popping and more…”
I would definitely agree with this definition of what is street dance and add some relativity to this learners guide that street dance in today’s era is typically described by the styles of Popping and b-boying or breaking, Melbourne shuffle, urban folk dance, house dance, roboting, and even liquid dancing. Although not always true I would add that the majority of street dance styles are based of improvisation and freestyle using music and emotion to drive and progress the dance. There are all different types of street music that influence the dance. For example there is a big difference when you wear bboy music and popping music. To be completely relevant the most popular style of street dance is popping and animation, which we will focus the majority of this beginner’s street dance learning guide on.
The below tutorials are some of the most popular street dance moves commonly used. Depending on how serious you are about learning how to street dance I have 60 minute tutorials if you are looking for something more comprehensive. Check them here. Otherwise enjoy these tutorials of the most popular street dance moves.
Before we get to anything technical or more challenging street dance moves to learn I want you to spend 3 minutes to learn the following moves in the below dance tutorial. I promise you will get them all on the first try. Part of learning how to street dance is all about trusting yourself, pushing your capabilities, building self confidence and having fun! Especially if you’re a beginner it’s important to learn fun dance moves that you can start showing off to your family or friends.
I remember when I first started learning how to street dance the first thing I started learning was the windmill. Which, if you don’t know what that is, is an extremely difficult move. I tried for months learning how to windmill and was unsuccessful. It was very discouraging starting out and made me questioned if I could ever be a professional street dancer. I eventually came to my senses and realized that you need to start from the ground up. So it’s important to learn some easy beginner street dance moves before you start taking on the more challenging street dance moves. Watch the below easy beginner street dance move tutorial and then I’ll see you in 5 minutes with the next part of the learn street dance guide!
I’m assuming since you are reading this it means you learned the 3 dance move! Shoot me a Tweet @brambilabong using so I know you got it down!
Now it’s time to learn the most important fundamental of street dance popping which is the hit. It is essentially the most valuable part of street dancing. Hit or hitting in street dance popping can best be described as flexing or twitching at a brief moment to create a ‘pop’ illusion or effect as if you were jolted with electricity. It is stated that if you dance and do not do a hit or a dimestop (which we will get into next) the street dance cannot be technically labeled as Popping.
Since the pop or hit is a core fundamental of the foundation of street dancing it isn’t something you can just practice once and be done. Learning how to pop in your dance is something that you will always continue to practice. Even the best street dancers in the world like Popping John or Nonstop never stop practicing the hit or pop which means neither should you. In fact I practice the pop every single time I dance. There are a TON of different elements to doing the pop and hit effectively from contracting and expanding your chest, snapping your wrist, flexing your biceps and even tensing your neck! It is one of the hardest and most important elements of learning street dance and if you are super serious about mastering the pop you’re in luck because I have a 60 minute beginner popping dance tutorial which is fully dedicated to learning how to dance popping with full emphasis on all the fundamentals like hitting. Other than that this beginning learning guide to street dance is meant to cover each important aspect on getting started. Each street dance tutorial and element can in itself be a whole section and should be practiced thoroughly. No one said it was going to be easy right :)
Now that you have learned how to hit, the dime stop should come very easy. Like the hit, the dime stop is considered the most important core fundamental of learning the street dance popping. The dime stop is a street dance style that I also practice every single time I dance. Dime stops can be described as freezing in increments that can be often seen in dancing doing the robot. Learning how to dime stop not only will give you a solid foundation, but also help develop patience in your street dance freestyle or improve.
We often see beginner street dancer’s dance very rushed and sloppy. For some reason beginner street dancers think that the faster they can do a dance move the better it is. When in reality the technique and style are what’s most important vs the pace of the dance move. In fact I always tell people I am teaching street dance online on my YouTube channel to practice learning dance moves as slow as possible before you try it up to speed. Watch the below video on dime stops to learn some technique and form to apply the street dance style to and if you are really up for it send me a video of you doing dime stops on instagram @brambilabong and I’ll be happy to check it out and give feedback.
Now that you have learned the foundations of street dance popping one of the easiest styles to learn as a beginner is how to do the robot. I’m not talking about those cheesy robot dance moves that your parents can do. I’m talking about epic robotics that turn heads, mechanical movements that kill dubstep beats, the kind of robot dancing that make you own the dance floor. Excited? Good because we are about to get our robot dance on!
Learning how to robot dance is all about patience, control, and dime stops! Since you already know how to do dime stops this should come nice and easy. In the below how to robot dance tutorial I’ll give you a couple examples of how you can apply the dime stop in robotic ways. The biggest thing with doing the robot is thinking and acting like the robot. Sometimes dancing is about really believing the character or style that you are portraying while you move. When you are doing the robot, it’s important to really believe in the mechanical movement of everything you do.
Robot dancing is better defined as a style then a series of moves. You can’t just learn a few robotic dance movements and say you know how to robot. That is why it’s crucial to learn styles and concepts instead of moves and practice doing longer sets. A lot of trouble beginner dancers have doing the robot and free styling is that they get lost and end up repeating dance moves after just a minute or two. When you have a style mastered, you should be able to dance for 10 minutes without repeating a move twice! Sounds hard doesn’t it?
Trust me, the more you practice, live, breathe, and eat dance and focus on a specific style like doing the robot you will think 10 minutes is easy! The below robot dance lesson video walks through a concept called puppeting. Like it sounds, the concept is inspired from a puppet and a puppeteer who controls it. The video will give you a few ideas to start with and hopefully inspire you to create with a puppet mindset to think of more cool ways to add robot dance moves and concepts in your dance
What is really cool about learning how to street dance is that the style has no limits. You can dance standing, sitting down, with a hat, even while you cook in the kitchen! I wanted to include some street dance moves using a hat since most dancers wear hats when they dance! Before you learn these awesome hat dance moves I want to talk quickly about the concept of biting and originality.
If there is one street dance law in culture it is to be original. Be yourself and don’t copy anyone else. It’s ok to be inspired by other people and take someone else’s concept and add your own twist to it but it is NOT cool to steal someone else’s exact move. So when you learn these street dance moves using a hat remember to add your own personality to it. When you do, not only will you be proud of yourself, but you can start building your own signature style and dance moves. After all, dancers are artists! The more we create off of other peoples concepts the better the dance styles get!
One comment I hear a lot on my YouTube from my dance students is that they have difficulty finding a nice flow or have trouble developing there own dance style. It’s a little ironic, but typically my response is “Stop watching other people dance online and start dancing yourself.” In the below street dance tutorial I actually encourage people to get off YouTube for a month! I know I know… yikes! I mean I spend at least an hour on YouTube everyday watching dance videos. But the truth is the more you watch other dancers and not work on your own style you will start to naturally dance like the people you watch.
As I stated previously it is totally alright to build off of someone elses moves, but if you are just trying to copy or look like another dancer then you are limiting your individuality. A lot of younger dancers will say things like “I want to dance like Michael Jackson or Nonstop” and I always reply. No you don’t! You should want to dance like YOU. Because if you ever want to be the next best dancer you aren’t going to get there by looking like someone else!
It's a silly question. Anybody's first reaction is usually.. ."yeah duh." Except the truth is... how do you know if your right? Have you ever watched Nonstop practice or Popping John or other famous dancers practice? NO You haven't... because dancers usually practice by themselves. Of course cyphering and dancing at battles is one way to improve.. but I wouldn't call it practice. For sake of this email I am going to call 'dance practice' for when you are completely by yourself. Because true practice is all about working on things that you ARE NOT good at. You think Nonstop or Popping John are dancing on things they AREN'T good at in front of people and sessions... NO ... why would you want to show people awkward or incomplete moves (unless you are actively seeking feedback).
The truth is that real dance practice is all on your own. It is your special secret time to work on improving the things that you aren't good at... but pay close attention because THIS IS WHERE MOST DANCERS FAIL Dancers often practice things they are good at or things that they are comfortable doing. For example dancers that are really good at gliding will unconsciously practice gliding 95% of the time... even though they are already very good at it.
Why is that?
Because we have a natural human instinct to do things that make us feel good and natural. Most dancers never grow (or grow VERY VERY slowly) because they keep dancing with the same moves and same elements. And the sad thing is they don't realize it. It's just a human habit we all have to break. Ever wonder how you see or meet a dancer who is extremely talented at what they do and you become shocked to learn they have been dancing a lot less than you have? Some times it is natural talent but most of the time it's because they never practiced the same thing and each time they danced they practiced a different thing. You get the picture? So here is what I want you to do. Read my Ultimate Guide on Learning How to Dance Popping to brush up on some styles and concepts AND THEN... When you practice, you absolutely positively must NOT use the moves or dance style that you are the best at or the one that is easiest to you. For example, if you think you are good at waving practice without doing one wave. If you are good at robotics, don't practice any robotics. Only practice things that you are NOT good at. I promise you after doing this, you will build confidence, grow your style, and who knows maybe even think of some dope moves in the mean time!
Dancer over night. I remember the weekend I officially became a "professional dancer." It was day 1 of auditions in Miami Florida to be on a world tour with the artist T-Pain. I had NO prior professional experience. In fact I had only performed in front of people less than 10 times. I was literally a living room dancer! The very first day when T-Pain came into the audition room he greeted me by my first name and I will honestly admit to you I was star struck.
It just something I wasn't ready for.
The dance audition was set up as a freestyle session which definitely played in my favor because I couldn't memorize choreography to save my life (still can't very well haha) and I thought a miracle had happened that I had made the first cut on to the second day. Realizing that I was literally inches away from landing a world tour as a professional paid dancer I looked myself in the mirror and made a few promises to myself which I wanted to share with all of you.
1. NEVER be star struck again. There is no living human person in this world that I should not act myself for. It shouldn't matter if you are in front of a celebrity, the person you have a crush on or whoever. You should ALWAYS be yourself and be confident in the skin you are in.
2. Always remain true to your integrity and values. No matter fame or fortune focus on what's important. Don't get caught up in materialism, put value in immaterial like family, love, experience.
3. Help others chase there dreams! I am proud to say that this day I have stayed true to all of these goals. One thing I can't stress enough is #1 to dancers. Think of this... as a dancer you perform in front of other people off the top of your head. There is not many people in the world who can do that. It is a gift! So next time you have a job interview, are on a date, or giving a school speech, remember... you do things that most people wouldn't even dare to do, everything else in life should be a walk in the park :)
You never forget your very first performance... I had been dancing for 6 months learning all from YouTube. I was a freshman in college, it was second semester and I teamed up with a bboy to enter in the university talent show. I had never been so nervous... Dancing in front of your peers is a big deal.
I remember having thoughts like ... "what if I mess up, what if they think I'm bad, what if I just choke up on stage and turn into a zombie." As the act before us hit the stage the bboy said, "yo adrian, everything alright? You know it doesn't matter if we win or lose or what anyone else thinks about our performance.
Hip hop dance is all about expressing yourself and doing your own thing. As long as you dance the way you want to, everything else is gravy." That message instantly changed my attitude. He was right. Dancing is about being yourself, worry free of the world. Dancing is about doing YOUR own thing. It doesn't matter what other people think about you as long as you are happy with yourself! The performance ended up being a success and we tied for first place with a dope saxophone player who ended up being one of my best friends. It is totally alright to just dance by yourself and keep your artistry to yourself but it is NOT ok to dance by yourself out of fear of performing in front of others.
Dance is a gift from God, use it to help yourself, use it to inspire others, and use it to conquer your biggest challenges. Dancing Can Happen Anywhere I hope you have enjoyed my ultimate guide on learning how to street dance! One thing I want to encourage you to do is dance every time you get the opportunity! I have a full time job and don’t always get to go to an actual dance studio to street dance, so most of my freestyle dancing happens in the kitchen when I’m cooking or when I’m folding laundry. The truth is you don’t need a formal dance studio with mirrors to practice. All you need is music and willingness to try! To continue to get tips, advice, keep in touch sign up for my email! I send an email out once over 2 weeks, no spam… promise :)