December 2016 | 2 Tips for Hip-Hop Teachers | Essential Moves: Kick Ball Change

Photo by Briana Gardener

Photo by Briana Gardener

Essential Moves: Kick Ball Change

by Samara Atkins

Tip 1
Make sure your students have the kick ball change (also called kick cross step) in their hip-hop vocabularies. This move is fundamentally about shifting the weight.

Start with feet shoulder-width apart, weight balanced evenly between the feet. Kick the right foot out in front and then cross it over the left leg. Bring it to the floor in a cross-legged position with the weight on the right foot. Step out with the left foot to the left, uncrossing the feet; now the weight should be on the left foot. Tell students to make this move look as casual and effortless as possible.

Now reverse it: rock the weight back onto the right foot, kick the left leg out, cross it over the right, step onto the left foot to shift the weight, then step out with the right leg and shift the weight back to the right foot. Give the kick ball change a three-beat rhythm (kick step step), repeating on “1&2” and “3&4.”

Tip 2
Once your students have the feel of the kick ball change, add a little variation to give the move more power and style. For example, have students kick out the right foot with enough force so that they have to hop backward on the left foot. Complete the move, ending with the left leg out, but this time, rock the weight immediately back over to the right foot, freeing up the left in order to switch sides seamlessly. Give this version a four-beat rhythm (kick step step switch), repeating on “1&2&” and “3&4&.” To help students get the rhythm, say “Kick, step, rock back, switch, kick, step, rock back, switch,” as they repeat the move from side to side.


Oakland, California, native Samara Atkins studied journalism and dance at Howard University and co-founded an all-female dance company. She teaches hip-hop at Destiny Arts Center, Shawl-Anderson Dance Center, and In the Groove Studios.