How to Helicopter... Keep It Straight and Shift Your Weight!
The helicopter (or coffee grinder) is another footwork move that blends in nicely with almost anything else that you might be doing on the ground.
This break dancing move is relatively easy, but getting it down with both legs and in both directions (forward and backward) can be a bit more difficult.
FORWARD COFFEE GRINDER
This move is executed on the ground. You will start with one leg (your supporting leg) bent under your body so that you're on your toes and sitting on your heel.
The spinning leg will start straight and stay straight throughout the move. Have it out on its side (out to the left if your spinning leg is the left, and the opposite for the right leg) to begin with.
Your upper body should be leaning forward so that you have both hands on the ground (shoulder width apart) in front of you.
Spin the Straight Leg in Front
Take your spinning leg that is out to the side and start sliding it towards the front of your body.
The majority of your weight should be on your supporting leg during this part of the helicopter.
You'll have to lift your arm off the ground to let your spinning leg pass under. Put your hand back on the floor immediately after your leg is through and out of the way.
Do the same thing with the other arm, as your leg passes in front. Remember to keep your spinning leg straight.
Weight Shift and Trip
As soon as both your hands are back on the ground after letting your leg pass under, shift your weight forward onto your arms.
While keeping the momentum, trip the supporting foot with the spinning leg.
You want to have most of your weight on your arms. This allows you to take the weight off your supporting foot and to step over the leg that is coming around.
Don’t jump over it because it will make you lose balance for a split second.
You want to keep your supporting leg on its toes throughout the move.
Bring It Around and Keep It Going
Let the spinning leg swing back and around your body.
Repeat the process when it comes around.
Keep your hands in front and shoulder width apart in order to properly support your weight when you trip the supporting leg.
Start slow, make it smooth, and then speed it up.
BACKWARD COFFEE GRINDER
The starting position is the exact same thing as the forward helicopter.
It's important to note that these starting positions are only helpful at first.
Once you're comfortable with the movement, you should look for different ways to go in and out of it for creativity.
Spin the Leg Backwards and Around
Take the spinning leg and rotate it backwards (towards your back) while keeping it straight.
You will have to shift your weight forward onto your arms in order to let your spinning leg pass under the supporting leg.
Execute a small jump (more like a step over) with the supporting leg while your weight is supported (by your arms) to let the other leg pass under.
Afterwards, quickly return your weight onto your supporting leg and lift up your arms (one after the other) as the spinning leg sweeps in front.
Repeat these steps to keep it going.
Completely shifting your weight from your supporting leg to your hands is the key to making it look smooth.
Keeping the spinning leg straight may be hard as first, but it makes it way easier to execute in the long run.
Practice it with both legs and include it into your footwork.
Mastering the helicopter is just like anything else... you have to practice.
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