May-June 2015 | 2 Tips for Hip-Hop Teachers | Shuffles and Funky Four Corners

Photo by Bill H

Photo by Bill H

Shuffles and Funky Four Corners

By Anthony “Ynot” DeNaro

Tip 1
Shuffles are a type of footwork in breaking. Prompt students to hold a position on the floor. (It will help if you’ve previously taught them the six-step.) Remind them to feel most of their weight in the arms so that their legs and feet are free to move. Play some music and have them shuffle their feet to the beat. This will help students get a feel for expressing the music in a footwork position, instead of only performing patterns.

Tip 2
The funky four corners is a toprock step pattern in breaking. For this exercise, have students concentrate on a basic toprock two-step, constrained by stepping only on four imagined points around the body: front left, front right, back left, back right. Students can either step toward the corners of the room or envision standing inside a square on the floor and stepping on its corners.

This exercise helps build students’ awareness of moving in clear diagonals as they step in front of and behind their lines of sight. It also keeps them in a pattern, allowing them to think less about their feet so they can begin to engage their upper bodies, incorporate levels, and use their ears.

After they’ve done the funky four corners a few times, prompt students to face one corner and do the exercise again. Now instead of stepping across their bodies diagonally to form the points of a square, they’re stepping front, back, and to each side to form an invisible diamond shape on the floor.

Philadelphia b-boy Anthony “Ynot” DeNaro is a member of the Rock Steady Crew and an MFA candidate at Arizona State University. He studied with Crazy Legs and Mr. Wiggles and travels the world teaching.