How to … Headspin

Illustration: Mark Thomas

B-Boy Benny Kimoto’s signature sign is the headspin. In five easy steps he explains how to do the perfect one

No one does headspins better than Benny Kimoto, a member of Berlin-based B-Boy crew Flying Steps. “When I was 14, I saw a couple of breakdancers at the local youth club. I was so impressed, but it was the headspins they were doing that fascinated me more than anything else,” says Kimoto. “Every day after that, I used each spare minute I could find to practise, sometimes for up to four hours a day.”

That was 11 years ago. Now Kimoto performs with his crew at events around the world, the latest of which is Flying Steps own production Red Bull Flying Illusion. Kimoto, 35, had to learn how to headspin the hard way. “There were no internet tutorials or dance coaches around at that point,” he says. “My only training video was ‘Beat Street’, a 1984 film I bought on VHS. I hit the floor countless times, but after a few months, I could do my first clean headspins.”

To find out when and where Flying Step has their next show, click here

© Benny Kimoto // YouTube

1. Prepare for action

“Do a good, full-body warm-up for about 30 minutes,” says Kimoto.“You need to get sweating. Give your neck, shoulders, legs and back a good stretch. A few press-ups and sit-ups help improve body tension. There are good yoga and stretching tutorials on YouTube.”

2. Make friends with the wall

“Learn how to do a headstand. To make things easier, start by leaning against a wall. Once you get a feel for it and the strain is distributed on the centre of the body, do it without leaning against a wall. Start with your legs together, then move on to opening them as if you were doing the splits.”


The Flying Steps in action

© Dirk Mathesius/Red Bull Content Pool

3. Put in the hours

“A lot of breakdancers, like me, come from a martial arts background. That’s no coincidence. Chiselled muscles and an instinctive feel for your body are a great help. But even if you don’t have a background in martial arts, you should still see the first signs of progress within three weeks or so, as long as you have some talent, are eager and are willing to practise for about an hour a day.”

4. Think one step ahead

“You need a smooth floor to do your first spins. A bandana, cap or skate helmet reduces rotational resistance further still. It helps to go through the move in your head, bit by bit. That way your brain internalises what your body has to do.”

“It was the headspins that fascinated me more than anything else. I used each spare minute I could find to practise, sometimes for up to four hours a day”
Benny Kimoto

5. Rotate your body

“The arms and upper body set the rotation in motion. The hips and legs follow. An even rhythm is important. It’s no good going for momentum too quickly and forcing the rotation; that’ll only give you two or three spins. So start by turning slowly and always keep an eye on your balance. You’ll automatically increase your speed with experience.”

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