Music and dance are two of the most popular ways in which people choose to express themselves. In fact, dancing could potentially be seen as one of the best sports in the world, as it includes plenty of physical exercise, fun, and mental release.
With that being said, not many people know that breakdance is already a competitive sport that many people do for a living. There are various competitions held each year for these professional breakdancers to part-take in, showing off their incredible skills and technique.
If you don’t know much about breakdancing or what the sport entails, you have come to the right place. In this article, we will be discussing everything that there is to know about the sport, including its history and a few famous breakdancers.
What Is Breakdancing?
Breakdancing is also known as simply breaking or b-boying. This energetic form of dance was popularized during the early 1980s by groups of African Americans and Latinos. However, over the years, it has become an incredibly popular dancing style all over the world.
Breakdancing may just be one of the most challenging and skillful forms of dance in the world. It includes plenty of athletic moves and stylized footwork, such as head spins, backflips, frontflips, and more. On top of this, the sport incorporates moves from various other sources, including gymnastics and martial arts.
Moving on the Go
Contrary to popular belief, much of breakdancing is also improvised, meaning that they simply make up their next move on the spot. For this reason, you will need to be an incredibly creative and athletic person in order to do well in this sport.
History Of Breakdancing
As we have already mentioned, breakdancing first started making a scene during the early 1970’s by groups of African Americans and Latinos.
The sport originated in New York City and quickly began spreading to other parts of the world, including Asia and Europe.
When and Where It Began
Even though the dance was developed in the ’70s, it only began reaching extreme popularity during the ’80s and ’90s. In fact, if you lived in NYC during this era, it is likely that you couldn’t leave the house without seeing groups of breakdancers practicing in the street.
The Founder Of Breakdancing
The art of breakdancing can be attributed to one man: DJ Kool Herc, otherwise known as Clive Campbell. He was a Jamaican musician who worked as a deejay in a New York City club.
In his free time, Herc enjoyed mixing together the breaks of two identical songs, creating a technique that he called ‘cutting breaks’.
In the Club
When he began playing these mixes in his club, they were met with plenty of success. Herc would scream ‘B-boys go down!’ and various dancers would begin doing twists and flips to his song – this was the start of breakdancing.
Techniques Of Breakdancing
When it comes to breakdancing, there are four main elements, including toprock, downrock, power moves, and freezes.
Toprock refers to any steps that are performed by a standing person – for example, two of the most popular moves that are included in the toprock category include popping and locking. However, dancers can gain inspiration from various other styles of dancing, including tap or house.
On the other hand, downrock (which is also referred to as floor or footwork) includes any moves that are performed while the dancing is on the ground. More so, the move will be labeled as downrock when the hands are used to support the dancer’s weight as much as the feet are. A few examples include the 6-step and 3-step.
Some of the most impressive breakdancing steps that you will see are incorporated in the power moves category. These elements require plenty of physical strength, momentum, flexibility, endurance, speed, and control to master.
A few examples of power moves include the windmill and the swipe, both of which revolve around the lower half of the body, forming some sort of circular movement. Finally, freezes are positions in which the dancer will stop moving and pose.
Generally, they are used to finish the dance-off and require plenty of strength and endurance. Many dancers enjoy freezing while performing the most difficult step of their dance, as it comes across as much more impressive.
Examples Of Breakdancing In Pop Culture
Even though breakdancing is not as popular as it was during the 1980s, it is still a prominent style of dance.
In fact, plenty of the biggest and most successful artists in the world have used breakdancing in their music videos and during their live performances. On top of this, new developments have allowed breakers to display their skill and passion to the world.
For example, there are various YouTube accounts and videos dedicated to breakdancing, including Canal Street Dance and Top Break. More so, breakdancing has been included in a lot of movies that revolve around dance, such as Step Up and Work It.
The Style Of Breakdancers
Many people will have a unique style based on the type of dance that they part-take in. For example, ballet dancers wear leotards and tights, while hip-hop dancers usually wear streetwear clothing, such as sneakers, crop tops, and sweats. In the case of breakdancers, they also have a very distinctive and memorable appearance when performing.
You will notice that many breakers dress in oversized pants or sweatsuits. Traditionally, dancers used to wear a baseball cap and wear it at an angle or backward.
Footwear and Protection
Sneakers are the most popular type of footwear for these athletes. On top of this, some breakdancers wear a helmet in order to prevent themselves from getting badly injured while completing dangerous moves.
Breakdancing is a very prominent style in dance history. Because of this, there are various artists who are often referred to as ‘royalty’ in the breakdancing world.
For example, a few of the most noticeable breakdancers who have impacted the lives of many include Crazy Legs, Tony Touch, The Rock Steady Crew, Mr. Wiggles, and Zulu Kings.
At the moment, the world’s highest-ranked breaker is a man named Menno Van Gorp. The Dutch athlete won the world championship for breakdancing, rightfully earning him the number one spot. When it comes to his style of dance, he is known for incorporating various unique moves that make him stand out from the crowd.
Competitive Level Breakdancing And What It Looks Like
Not many people know that breakdancing is actually a very competitive sport.
There are multiple competitions throughout the year that professional breakers attend in order to fight for the number one spot.In 2014, the World BBoy Series was developed, and breakdancing became more recognized as an actual sport.
On top of this, there are many other highly competitive events, including the UK BBoy Champs, Battle Of The Year, R16, IBE, Battle Pro, Outbreak, Unbreakable, and Red Bull BC One.
Since then, dancers have been able to compete at an international level and show off their incredible skills. Many people do not understand just how difficult breakdancing is. Not only is it a sport, but it could also be seen as one of the most difficult sports in the world.
In order to be one of the best breakdancers in the world, you would need plenty of skill, technique, balance, flexibility, strength, speed, and endurance.
The sport incorporates every component of physical activity, making it extremely technical and difficult to master. On top of this, it is also dangerous – many breakers have suffered season-ending injuries from completing a move incorrectly.
Breakdancing At The Olympics
During December of 2020, it was announced that breakdancing would form part of the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.
This is a major step for professional breakdancers, as they now have an international stage to show the world their talent and outstanding ability.
Many people were extremely surprised by the fact that breakdancing was included in the 2024 itinerary. However, according to the Olympic committee, the decision was taken in an attempt to draw attention from younger audiences and grow the sport worldwide.
What Do Breakdancing Competitions Look Like?
There are various formats when it comes to breakdancing competitions. If you have ever attended one of these events, you will likely have seen a 1v1 or individual battle. These are included in the breakdancing world championship, making them two of the most popular formats in the style of dance.
1v1 battles include two groups of dancers going head-to-head in a dance battle. Each group has their turn to show off and try persuade the judges and audience that they are the best.
On the other hand, individual battles include the group taking to the stage and performing alone. When they are done, another group will have their time to shine. In the end, the judges must decide which group performed best.
Many people do not know that breakdancing is actually a recognized sport. There are various competitions that breakers can participate in, including world championships. Plus, the sport has been given the green light for the 2024 Olympics.
Since the early 1970s, it has become one of the most popular forms of hip-hop dance in the world. There is plenty of skill, strength, flexibility, endurance, and speed required to be a breakdancer.