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Breakdance: Liquid dancing

Liquid dancing
Liquid dancing (or liquiding) is a form of gestural, interpretive dance that sometimes involves pantomime. The term invokes the word liquid to describe to the fluid-like motion of the dancers body and appendages. It is primarily the dancers arms and hands which are the focus, though more advanced dancers work in a full range of body movements. Liquid dancing has many moves in common with popping, born out of 80s b-boy and funk style dance movements.


The root origin of liquiding is a point of contention between those who practice liquid dancing. Some argue that it is a unique dance indigenous to rave culture and started in the early 1990s in conjunction with the rave movement. While rave later stagnated, liquid dancing has become a standing part of club- and street dancing.

B-boys and funk stylists generally contend that liquid dancing is a development of waving, a technique in popping. Liquid dancing covers many of the same fundamentals as popping and it is fully possible (and common) for dancers to combine the styles, further blurring the distinction between the two. The defining difference is liquid dancing concentrating on smooth movements while popping is characterized by pops (hits) and contractions. This difference in focus is what makes liquiding better suited for fast-paced trance music and popping for the more distinct rhythms of, for example, electrofunk.

Techniques and styles - See Popping

Hand flow
This style is identifiable by long flowing abstract movements and intricate patterns.

See also: Tutting

This style is characterized by the geometric, straight predefined paths of the hands and the sharp 90 degree turns of the paths (usually to floor).


Waving is an illusionary dance style composed of a series of movements that give the appearance that a wave is traversing through a dancer's body.

Waving is thought to have grown out of the popping and funk dance scene and is often seen combined with popping and its related styles. Today, however, there are many practicioners who practice waving without involving popping, such as David Elsewhere. Waving is also seen combined with liquid dancing, especially when practiced within electronica communities.


The armwave is started by holding both arms out to the sides of the dancer's body, parallel to the ground. The dancer lifts then lowers adjoining sections of his arm while keeping the rest of his body at apparent rest starting with the fingertips in one arm and ending at the fingertips of the other arm. It is very important that the rest of the body appear to be motionless. One movement in the armwave that typically gives beginners trouble is lifting the elbow. When lifting the elbow and otherwise remaining stiff, the dancer also lifts the hand. Lifting multiple points of the arm is undesirable and so the dancer must actively "lower" his hand to maintain the illusion that it remains still. When the wave reaches the chest, the wave can travel either in front of the chest or along the back where the dancer can add accents such as turning his head in the direction of wave movement or inhaling as the wave reaches the chest and exhaling as it passes. With practice, the dancer can appear to have multiple waves travelling along his arms, start and end a wave at any point on his arms, and transition the wave through his body as a bodywave. There are seven and eleven point waves. The eleven point wave runs as finger knuckes-knuckles-wrist-elbow-shoulder-chest-shoulder-elbow-wrist-knucles-finger knuckles. The seven point wave begins at the wrists.

The bodywave similarly gives an appearance that a wave is traveling up or down the body. It involves flexing muscles along the wave's path and bending knees and ankles.

Waves are an attempt to maintain the illusion that a wave is passing through one's body by the isolation and alternating tensing and relaxing of one part of the body at a time at a steady speed in a constant direction.

Traces are a technique where one's hand follows the path of a wave going through one's body. The hand moves at the same speed and in the same direction as the wave.

This style maintains the illusion that one is pulling parts of their body through holes created by the positioning of ones arms. An example of this would be holding one's shoulder to create a closed loop which the other arm goes through. These are performed at the same speed as the flow of the liquid and waves to maintain an illusion of continuity.

This technique entails the hands following exactly the outline of an object, real or imaginary. Most commonly the hands follow the outline of one's own body.

This technique is characterized by the hands moving independently of each other while maintaining the illusion of a fluid relationship between each other. One way of achieving this illusion is by having one hand in front of the other and each hand reflecting the motion of the other.

Builds identified by the manipulation of imaginary objects in a manner similar to pantomiming. The movements are carried out at the same speed as the flow of the liquid to maintain an illusion of continuity.
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