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Physics!

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Breakdancing: How does it work?


DRC21USAF

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Most of us have seen the impressive moves, martial arts techniques translated into exceptionally executed dance routines, testing the possibilities of the anatomy and mind. What is it exactly that impresses us so much about Breakdancing? How exactly is it humanly possible to maintain spins or perform moves like these?

Well Physics of course. More specifically, the use of rotational inertia and careful precision to maintain a constant velocity for a time. The physics of breakdancing moves, such as the whirlwind, coffee grinder, 2000 handspin, and flare, is very similar to the physics in maintaining a hula-hoop. The hooper, or in our case the b-boy, before getting into technical procedures must first be able to initiate enough force to create rotational inertia, giving them time to complicate the moves and impress the crowd.

With the flare, for example, a move in which the dancer rotates the legs and waist around while holding his or her own weight with the arms, the dancer must be able to balance his center of mass with his arms and torso while rotating his body to perform the trick, lifting each arm as the lower body sweeps around. Once the dancer masters initiating rotational inertia and balancing the center of mass, they can perform a wide variety of tricks and moves.

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