November 2016 | 2 Tips for Hip-Hop Teachers | Essential Moves: Crisscross

Photo by Briana Gardener

Photo by Briana Gardener

Essential Moves: Crisscross

by Samara Atkins

Tip 1
The crisscross is an essential element of the hip-hop vocabulary. Funky and stylish, it’s a great move to be able to pull out, whether in choreography, freestyle, or battles.

Begin with feet shoulder-width apart. On the “and” count, jump the feet into a crisscross position: one foot crossed in front of the other, right over left or left over right. On count 1, jump the feet back out to shoulder-width apart.

Once students master the basic crisscross, start building on it. For example, have students change their facing on the crisscross with quarter or half turns, or have them turn to facings you call out: face a partner, face the back of the room, etc.

Tip 2
When students have the foot patterns down, have them add a body roll in reverse (rolling upward from knees to head). Crisscross, jump back out to a dip (land with bent knees and push the pelvis forward), and roll up through the chest and head. Add a stylish accent to the body roll by coming to a hard stop with the head, as if hitting a brick wall.

Or have students do a simple crisscross repeating on “&1” and “&5” and add the body roll and freestyle arms: crisscross on “&1,” dip and roll up by “2,” freestyle arms on “3 4,” crisscross on “&5,” dip and roll up by “6,” freestyle arms on “7 8.”

For another variation, after dipping and rolling up after the crisscross, students can hit the outer edges of the feet on the floor behind them, right foot on 3 and left foot on 4 (or vice versa).


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.