Backspins by Airborn, ending in a freeze .

Backspin, power move, a spin on the back.


The backspin is one of the oldest power moves, entering breaking in the mid-1970s. It was developed by JoJo in 1976 , although the move may have arisen independently within the Zulus1 around the same time. According to Willie Will, "I don't know where the spinning came from, but it was out in 1976. The Zulus had footwork, headspins, backspins. We used to break in Belmont Park. If you did a backspin, you'd only spin around once or twice" . Supporting this, Cholly Rock and Beaver had backspins . JoJo "came up with the backspin by mistake," when he slipped onto his back while doing a buttspin and kept spinning . The move appears in all early breaking films, including Wild Style, Flashdance, Style Wars, Breakin', and Beat Street .

Backspin by Crazy Legs in 1981 . Jimmy Dee (center) and JoJo (right) look on.

Early transitions into the backspin included from a buttspin and from a neck move . Around 1980, Crazy Legs developed the whip backspin . The California backspin was developed no later than 1983, as it appeared in Breakin', and Beat Street (released in 1984, but filmed in 1983). The backspin led to the development of the continuous backspin, shoulderspin, and sidespin.


For historical reasons, different entrances into the backspin are also included here as variations.

Combo with airplane backspins by Maurizio .
Combo with airplane backspins by Maurizio .
Hopping backspin by Spider .

Airplane Backspin

Backspin with arms straight out to the sides.

California Backspin

Backspin started lying down on one's back or side, initiated with a kick. Mr. Freeze may have been describing this variation in 1981 when he said, "Once I was laying on the floor and I kicked my leg and I started spinning" .

Continuous Backspin

See windmill.

Hopping Backspin

Also backspin hops. Backspin punctuated by hops off of one's back. Done by Spider in 1984 .

New York Backspin

Also whip backspin. Backspin started from a stabbed position, initiated with a kick. Developed by Crazy Legs around 1980 .

Traveling Backspin

Backspin while moving horizontally.


  1. Referring to the b-boys and b-girls in the nascent Zulu Nation, i.e. the Zulu Masters, Zulu Kings, Zulu Queens, Shaka Zulus, etc. .