Talking the Talk. . . And How to Walk that Walk: Company Kafig

Hip hop dance theatre is both art form and entertainment, with its own catalogue of ever-evolving steps and styles. Here’s a (by no means definitive) glossary of some of the moves.



A West Coast style developed in the mid-70s by The Electric Boogaloos and marked by rolling hip, knee and head actions.

Breaking aka b-boying and b-girling


‘It’s when the DJ mixes the two records, there’s a little drum break in there, and everybody gets down because that’s the fastest part of the tune,’ says UK soloist/performer Banxy. ‘But also the guys [and girls] used to go so mental they were getting to the breaking point.’ Depending on who you consult, the ‘b’ stands for break, boogie, beat or Bronx, where hip hop has roots.



Downrocking is when the dancer takes his or her weight on the hands and weaves fast footwork around it. Toprockers, by contrast, remain upright. In early hip hop, uprocking was a fast and quasi-combative version of a kung fu fight.




Underground clowning meets fierce, confrontive body jerks in this new, West Coast style.


Rapid mimetic poses are characteristic of this funky 1970s West Coast style, developed by Don Campbell.



A more fluid but still muscle-flexing variation on locking, again credited to The Electric Boogaloos.



A misnomer for the robotic glide, correctly dubbed ‘backslide’, that Michael Jackson popularised. A real moonwalk is stationary.


A front flip landing flat on your back. The men here in the photo are midway through the manoeuvre.


A sustained backspin. Although this technically doesn’t show a windmill we were pretty impressed . . . . !

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Tour(s): Compagnie Kafig: 2005