Want to learn how to do a headspin? We got you covered. The headspin: an iconic move in breaking that is always easily recognised on the dance floor by both seasoned and novice dancers, and is a power move that never fails to impress a crowd. The cool thing about headspins is that dancers can choose to make it as “chill” or as crazy impressive as they want it to be, where they can make the headspin either just a part of their dance round or the main highlight.
Regardless of your experience level, learning the headspin would definitely expand your dance and open up more options when you’re battling, getting down in a cypher, or doing choreography. Check it out!
What Is a Headspin?
A headspin is a self explanatory move where a dancer balances on their head and spins, while having little to no support from their other body parts. Besides breaking, the move is also used in Capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian martial art. It also has a long history with multiple origins, the earliest dating back to footage from 1898 which saw a young boy performing this move; as well as a 1933 film, Wild Boys of the Road, which features its protagonist performing the same move too.
In more recent history, the move is credited to Brooklyn B-Boy Kid Freeze who spun the move into popularity by performing a continuous headspin, which inspired other pioneer B-Boys such as Storm and Lazer to add their own mix to the move that raised the bar for what dancers could do with the headspin.
You may also be familiar with B-Boy Aichi, the dancer who set the Guiness World Record for the most number of headspins to a tune of 141! Here he is in an epic headspin battle:
Headspins are undoubtedly a handy move that all dancers should learn in their breakdancing journey because not only is it able to wow a crowd instantly when done right, but it can also be combined with loads of other breaking moves and power moves to make your dance more interesting. Without further ado, let’s get into learning the headspin!
How to Do a Headspin in 3 Steps
It’s important to develop good technique for the headspin because it’s an advanced move that can result in serious injury, like a twisted neck, if you’re not careful and have poor technique. With this in mind, always listen to your body when you’re learning the headspin and understand that like many power moves, it takes time, dedication and practice to get it right – so don’t feel discouraged if you can’t do it immediately.
Before learning the headspin, remember to do a proper warm up to get your body ready. Get a beanie, soft spin cap, or helmet to prevent burns on your scalp and hair loss, making the learning process a lot more comfortable and less painful.
To make learning the move easier, it helps if you know how to do the headstand and have good upside down balance. But if not, don’t worry because we’ll walk you through everything in this guide to the headspin.
This is to learn the headspin in a counter-clockwise direction.
Get up into a headstand as your starting position. Place your head on the ground with your arms in front of your face. Your legs should be stretched out in front of you. Try pushing your legs up and above you wide apart. Kick off the floor to get your legs above you, and while you’re practising this, you can keep your right foot nearer to the ground so you can go back into your headstand prep position and not roll over onto your back.
If you can’t do this on your own, you can try practicing the headstand against the wall. The goal is to get comfortable balancing on your head and to be comfortable being upside down. When you’ve mastered the headstand, your back should be straight and your legs kept at a 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock position when you’re looking at yourself in the mirror.
Once you’re comfortable balancing on your head, start moving in this position and practice headspin taps.
Try quarter turns in this headstand position, and progress to half turns. Get comfortable using your hips to generate momentum. In your headstand position with your leading leg (right leg), turn your hips slowly and follow with your upper body. It can be easier for you to lean slightly towards the front to help with quick recovery if you fall or get tired, and then once you get comfortable, aim to get your body straight.
If you lose stability, tap through the motion and steady yourself with your hands, particularly your fingertips and not your entire palm flat against the floor. Continue practicing this until you get comfortable turning in the headstand position.
Eventually, your headspin taps will get more powerful and stable, allowing you to spin for longer without needing your hands for support.
After letting go of your arms when you spin, follow your leading leg (right leg). You are essentially whipping your hips, causing your leading leg to get out in front of you, while pushing yourself off the floor with your hands and letting go for the continuous spin.
Final Tips for Practicing the Headspin
- Once you’ve mastered the headstand, get comfortable balancing on your neck, without using your arms for support
- If you struggle with headspin taps in Step 2, you can keep your leading leg, your right leg, on the floor to help you tap and move yourself as you progress into having both your legs off the ground
- Use your fingertips to tap through the headspin taps, which give you a lighter feeling
- When you’re turning, your hips will turn first, followed by your upper body. Remember that your upper body turns also include your head, so turn both your torso and your head at the same time
The headspin is an advanced move that takes time to master, but once you get it down, all your hard work will be worth it.
Take Your Power Moves to the Next Level
Whether you’re practicing your windmills, B-Boy Stance, or 4 Step, you can always benefit from having guidance on your breaking journey. Not only will having an experienced teacher by your side help you learn advanced moves safely and without injury, but it will also help you stay committed to your progress and save you loads of time trying to figure out the moves on your own.
And who better to learn from than B-Boy Focus, a world renowned breaker who’s won and judged the biggest battles over his 30-year (and counting!) career.
With Focus in your corner, you’ll reach your dance goals, pass prelims, and elevate your dance to a whole new level.
Take the first step to greatness today. Check out all our courses – you’ll find something that suits you at every stage of your dance journey regardless of whether you’re a beginner, pro, or even a teacher.