Charles Viet Nguyen, dancer and choreographer from Poreotics, The Kinjaz, and Culture Shock LA, shares his knowledge on popping fundamentals.

Popping choreography¬†incorporates different popping techniques and can be integrated with other styles like hip hop, contemporary, jazz funk, anything.”

Click here to learn about the history and techniques in popping: What Is Popping?

Here are 7 exercises that Charles recommends in order to train your popping fundamentals.

Practice and apply these skills when executing popping choreography.

A Popping Drill For Every Day Of The Week

Popping Drill #1: Hitting

Relax and quickly flex your muscles to create a hit.

Get an in-depth explanation here: What Is A Popping Hit?

DIY (Drill It Yourself)

Do the Fresno ‚Äď it’s perfect for beginners!

Extend each arm, one at a time, and flex your muscles twice on each side.

Left left, right right.

Try this to slow paced hip hop / funk music so you have more time to see how your body looks and feels.

When you’re more comfortable with the hits, try switching the¬†weight on your feet as you change direction, to add some groove to the move.

Popping Drill #2: Dime Stops

A dime stop is basically when you reach point B without any extra shaking or reverb.

You just land at your destination and stop.

DIY (Drill It Yourself)

Stand or sit in any position you are comfortable in.

Pivot your direction from left to right, but reach a complete stop without engaging any muscles.

Be extra conscious of not flexing.

Repeat switching directions, pivoting from right to left and left to right.

Do this same drill in a more complex position when you feel comfortable to.

Popping Drill #3: Ticking / Strobing

Ticking is when you breakup your pathway of movement to very small intervals.

Your movement will look robotic and animated.

DIY (Drill It Yourself)

Move your hand from your leg to your chest, little by little ‚Äď like a few inches at a time.

“I literally say “tick tick tick” in my head while I’m doing this.”¬†‚Äď Charles

Popping Drill #4: Waving

Waving is when you fluidly move your body, like you’re mimicking a literal wave in the ocean.

Practice this by unhinging each joint that makes up the wave.

DIY (Drill It Yourself)

Put your arm on your leg. Lift your wrist up, pull your elbow up, then shoulder.

You’re detaching those points within your arm so that the wave is polished and precise.

Repeat “pulling” those fixed points until it is embedded in your muscle memory.

Boogie Frantick’s Waving class on STEEZY Studio!¬†

Popping Drill #5: Tutting

Tutting is great for those who love creating geometric pictures and illusions.

But for it to look clean, you need body awareness and precision.

DIY (Drill It Yourself)

Stick out your arms, and move your hands and elbows by 90 degrees each.

Think of your arms as Tetris pieces.

As you’re twisting or pulling,¬†study your angles in the mirror.

Make sure your pictures are nicely squared.

All your fingers should¬†touch together, straight, as if they were resting on a flat surface ‚Äď no duck hands!

Popping Drill #6: Gliding

Gliding creates the illusion that you’re floating across a surface.

There are so many variations of it, but first you want to feel comfortable moving across 1 plane.

DIY(Drill It Yourself):

Glide to the left and back to the right.

Do this by putting your weight on one foot, pushing that heel down, scooting the other foot out (weight shifting on to it), and bringing on the first foot back in using your toe.

Popping Drill #7: Isolation / Fixed Point

Isolation is when you move a part of your body without moving other part of your body.

A fixed point is when you don’t move one part of your body and the rest moves around it.

DIY (Drill It Yourself)

Put your hand out like its on a wall, and just move left and right, without moving your hand.

The place where you put your hand is the fixed point.

Repeat this using different body parts, like a finger or your head.

Take It To The Studio

You need a lot of patience when doing an iso-y piece.

Training carefully will help you with better textures, musicality, and body control.

Charles’ STEEZY Studio class focuses on¬†dime stops, tutting basics, and some waves.

Practice these drills on the side so that the moves feel more comfortable when you do them in the piece.




It’ll feel different from other styles you might be used to ‚Äď but in order to really explore it and grow you need to keep an open mind!

Have fun doing these practice drills!

If you want to explore some of these popping fundamentals, within a choreographed piece, take class with Charles using STEEZY Studio!


Whether you’re a popper or not, a beginner or¬†advanced dancer, the careful timing and precise movements of Charles’ choreography will help¬†you reach a better understanding of your body and the different ways to play with¬†musicality.¬†

This article was originally published August 4, 2015.