Popping is centered around the technique of popping, which means to quickly contract and relax muscles to create a jerking effect in the body.
Popping can be concentrated to specific body parts, creating variants such as arm pops, leg pops, chest pops and neck pops. They also can vary in explosiveness.
Stronger pops normally involve popping both the lower and upper body simultaneously.
Normally, pops are performed at regular intervals timed to the beat of the music, but the popper can also choose to pop to other elements of the song, or pop at twice or half the speed of the beat. To transition between poses, most poppers use a technique called dime stopping, common in robot dancing, which basically means to end a movement with an abrupt halt, after which a pop normally occurs. To create variation, poppers often mix in other styles as well, such as waving or tutting, which creates a sharp contrast to the popping itself.
Poses in popping make heavy use of angles, mime style movements and sometimes facial expressions. The lower body has many ways to move around from basic walking and stepping to the more complex and gravity defying styles of floating and electric boogaloo. Movements and techniques used in popping are generally focused on sharp contrasts and extremes, being either robotic and rigid or very loose and flowing.
As opposed to breaking and its floor-oriented moves, popping is almost always performed standing up, except in rare cases when the dancer goes down on the knees or to the floor to perform a special move.