The Ultimate Guide to Learn How to Dance Popping for Beginners

 The ultimate guide on how to dance popping[/caption] Do you spend hours on YouTube watching epic dance videos!?  Wishing and craving you could learn how to dance popping and move to the funky soul beats or dance to the rigid mechanical noises of dubstep music?  

I was once in your shoes until I took the initiative to stop watching dance videos and start learning the dance popping!  Like you I spent hours on the internet searching for video dance tutorials on how to dance popping for beginners, how to learn cool dance moves, and how the history and culture of popping began.  This probably won’t come as a surprise to you, but there really isn’t a lot of resources out there on learning how to dance popping and the culture of street dance, hip hop, and popping.  

I'm going to teach you everything I learned that helped me turn from a shy living room dancer to a professional dancer.

You really have to dig deep into the hip hop threads and personal Facebook page of some of the dancers who were around when the urban street dance styles like bboying (breakdancing), popping, locking and other styles originated around the 70’s.  I saw this need to build an educational resource, a one stop shop, for everything there is to know about learning how to dance popping.

I have many references of how I have learned how to dance popping 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 dance popping you'll for sure want to check out my 60 minute premium tutorials which are the #1 most downloaded tutorials on learning to freestyle and do popping on the internet.

The first video displayed is a trailer of the 60 minute popping dance bundle if you want to check out the good stuff right away! Otherwise continue with the popping dance beginners guide below and best of luck! Without further hype, I hope you enjoy my ultimate guide to learning how to dance popping.


Before we get into learning how to dance popping it is important to learn a little about the roots of the dance style, where it originated from, and how it came to be!  The Where did the Dance Style Popping Come From question of popping is a little controversial in the popping culture and dance industry and my intent is not to discredit or take away from the hard work the dancers did back in the day to create the style we know as popping so I won’t get into any specific names of some of the dancers around back in the day.  All I will say on that note is that if you desire to learn about the specific dancers who are known to be some of the founding fathers of the dance style popping, this won’t be the place you will learn that, but I will give references at the end of this guide if you desire to go further into the roots of Popping. I just want to cover a few important concepts that I have learned about popping.  Popping is originated from Funk music geographically starting in the bay area of California.  In today’s modern era of Hip Hop music and hip hop dance it seems that popping is a subcategory of hip hop.  This can be argued, however, it is a shared belief to educated dancers that popping, hip hop, bboying, and locking among other dance styles are treated respectfully different dances just as tap dance and lyrical dance are treated.  For those dancers who take dance lessons at a dance studio this may come as a surprise but do not be alarmed.  It is sad modern truth that the majority of dance studios that offer hip hop classes really have no idea what hip hop dance is about.  The topic of answering what is hip hop dance is a whole other article which we won’t get into, but the point is to say popping is its own dance style.  The purest definition of popping is to move, act, or imitate as a living robot.  The robot is the true essence of the definition of popping and is the defining concept that makes up the style we know today as popping.  To the left is a dance tutorial on learning how to dance the robot.


If there is only one thing you should practice in the dance style of popping to become a good dancer it is the concept of hitting or doing that body pop in your natural dance freestyle.  In order to learn hitting or how to hit and pop you need to focus on and concentrate on individual muscle control.  Hitting is all about the ability to contract, move, and flex body in a quick jolt manner to create the pop effect that your whole body is being electrocuted. Just like dimestops, hitting is the underlying foundation of the dance popping and without it, the dance cannot technically be defined as popping.  I have a lot of free tutorials covering how to learn popping in all levels here on and have multiple videos on hitting.  My premium tutorial for beginners is by far the most in depth and best tutorial for learning hitting, however, my free tutorials will still get the job done for learning how to hit.  I’ve included a popping tutorial on hitting from my YouTube account to the left which will focus on some key elements of hitting using your upper body.   I remember when I first started hitting my neck, abdomen, and even forearms were really sore from practicing hits.  The reason I was sore is because if you are starting brand new to learning how to dance popping you use muscles that you aren’t used to using in your natural everyday movement.  To be good at hitting means you have to use every muscle to flex and pop with you together in unison.  From your wrist, forearm, chest, and even your neck.


Waving is one of the core competencies of popping.  Waving is the illusion to make it seem as if you have no limbs, or that your bones turn into water shapelessly.  Waving is definitely one of the core foundations of popping and an requires a lot of body control and isolation to master.  Waving is one of the concepts of popping that you get better at doing the more you practice.  You may learn a wave, but to have the intricacies of flowing an arm wave from your finger tip passing through your arm then shoulder and down your body to your legs is typically a movement that dancers don’t get the first time they try.  One of the major issues beginner dancers have with waving is they see waving as a move, when really it should be looked at as its own style of movement.  Think of waving as a style, in which there are infinite possibilities to move, just like hitting.  To the left is dance tutorial on learning how to do an arm wave that is an actual clip from my premium beginner dance tutoriall.


To learn how to freestyle dance and create your own moves can come naturally or as the hardest challenge to learning the dance style popping. Freestyle dancing is defined by the ability to create moves on your own and interpret music as it plays. For some people they have been freestyle dancing ever since they first heard music as a young child. For others, the thought of making up moves and freestyle dancing without any guide seems impossible. For those dancers that have trouble learning how to freestyle dance, you are in luck, because the solution is simple. To the left is a video I made a couple years back at a time of frustration upon seeing a lot of dancers who were copying the style and look of Madd Chadd from Step Up 3d.I was frustrated that people were spending their time learning someone else's dance moves and style instead of creating their own original dance moves through freestyle dancing.
 One of my favorite quotes by Napoleon Hill is "The only limitations are the ones that you create." I take this concept not just for dance but even for life. It encourages freedom to pursue, create, and achieve anything you want. In dance it means you can move any way you want, the only thing stopping you from doing a move is yourself. Below are three concepts to think about that will help teach you how tofreestyle dance.
1. Be Yourself and Find Your RhythmTo freestyle dance is to be yourself.  Freestyle dancing is all about individual expression, expressing yourself through dance. When you freestyle dance you don't want to look like anyone else but yourself! If you do not know how to freestyle dance then the first thing you need to do is find your rhythm. Defining your rhythm can be described as listening to a song and tapping your feet, bobbing your head, bouncing, or even swaying side to side. It is really nothing more than that! If you have never done freestyle dancing before then you have to start somewhere, even if it means snapping your wrists on beat. hip hop dance lessons 2. Finding Dance Inspiration in Everyday Life Freestyle dancing is all about creating movement from experiences and inspirations of day to day life. In order to get inspired by everyday life you need to see the world through a dancers perspective. Let me give you a personal example. Do you know those arcade games that mock a fork and lift where you try to reel down a clamp to grab a teddy bear to bring back to the exit? I see those types of arcade machines as great inspiration for my robotic popping. To dance popping you really have to be detailed oriented to be good. Viewing the fork and lift arcade machine my inspiration comes from the joltyness of when you move the joystick and its affect on the claw. Followed by the after shock wave the claw makes that rocks it back and forth after you make a move. Even taking a look at the slow catapult downward of the claw followed by the quick release of the capture down into the exit! See, all those movements from that arcade game would have been just a regular average day experience. Now I can apply those robotic concepts and try to mock them in freestyle dancing! how to dance popping online  3. Don't Think Don't Care Just Move I had the hardest time freestyle dancing when I started because I was always worried that someone would catch me dancing and make fun of me. It was silly, however it is a very common issue! When you dance you need to find your zone, get in the mindset where you don't care what people think about your dancing. Otherwise, you will always be holding yourself back! When you freestyle you don't want to think, you want to feel! Always listen to new music as it encourages new feelings, new thoughts, which translate to new movements in your popping dance.


I included this segment last in my ultimate guide to learn how to dance popping guide for beginners because tricks are truly the last aspect of dancing that you should focus on. A well rounded dancer includes tricks only to enhance their dance style. Think of learning coolhip hop dance moves and dance tricks as being the sweets and desserts on top of the food pyramid.  You should only have them with a well balanced meal, or in this case use them with a well balanced dance foundation and style.  It is too often where I see dancers filling up there freestyle with trick after trick.  To the common eye it will read as impressive, but to a dancer, we see it as having a lack of foundation.  So my best recommendation is to practice tricks and those eye candy moves only after establishing a solid foundation of style and moves.


I hope this guide gives you the knowledge you need to get started learning how to dance popping.  I have countless of other resources here on with tons of video tutorials backed with in depth blog posts describing the details that the video doesn't cover.  Check out my free tutorials if you are interested in short summary tutorials or if you are serious about learning how to dance popping then you need to stop by my premium tutorials.  I have made a beginner popping tutorial as well as other 60 minute premium tutorials that break down everything you need to know about getting started dancing popping.  It is my best recommendation to check those out! Other than that I wish you the best of luck, to learn how to dance popping is a daunting challenge.
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