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Breakdancing: The Athletic and Artistic Street Dance

Breakdancing: The Athletic and Artistic Street Dance

Breakdancing, also known as breaking or b-boying/b-girling, is a form of street dance that originated from the African American and Hispanic and Latino communities in the United States in the early 1970s. It is characterized by coordination, acrobatic and intricate body movements, style, and aesthetics. Breakdancing is one of the most widely known and influential elements of hip-hop culture, along with graffiti, rap, and DJing.

Breakdancing consists of four main types of movement: toprock, downrock, power moves, and freezes. Toprock is the upright dancing that introduces the breaker’s style and rhythm. Downrock is the footwork performed on the floor, using hands and feet to support the body. Power moves are the dynamic and spectacular spins, flips, and rotations that require strength and momentum. Freezes are the poses that breakers hold to end a set or emphasize a beat.

Breakdancing emerged as a way for young people to express themselves and compete against each other in a non-violent manner. It was influenced by various dance styles, such as tap, jazz, salsa, martial arts, gymnastics, and funk. Breakdancing was popularized by DJs who played rhythmic breaks of music for dancers to showcase their skills. One of the pioneers of breakdancing was DJ Kool Herc , who is credited with creating the breakbeat , a technique of isolating and looping drum breaks from records.

Breakdancing has since spread around the world and evolved into a global phenomenon. It has been featured in numerous movies, TV shows, commercials, and music videos. It has also become a competitive sport, with various events and organizations supporting its growth. Breakdancing will make its debut as an Olympic sport in the 2024 Paris Summer Olympics , where 16 b-boys and 16 b-girls will compete for medals.

A practitioner of breakdancing is called a b-boy (break-boy), b-girl (break-girl), or breaker. Although the term “breakdance” is commonly used to refer to the dance in popular culture and media, many breakers prefer the original terms “b-boying” or “breaking”, as they reflect the history and culture of the dance more accurately.

The Culture of Breakdancing

Breakdancing is not only a dance, but also a culture that encompasses a lifestyle, a philosophy, and an identity. Breakdancing culture is influenced by various factors, such as social, political, and economic conditions, as well as by the history and traditions of the communities that practice it.

Breakdancing culture is very informal and grassroots. It is based on the principles of creativity, originality, self-expression, and competition. Breakers often learn from each other by word-of-mouth, watching videos, or attending events. They form crews or groups of dancers who share a common style and bond. They also challenge other crews or individuals in battles or cyphers , where they exchange moves and skills in a friendly or competitive manner.

Breakdancing culture is also very diverse and inclusive. It welcomes people from different backgrounds, ages, genders, and abilities. It transcends geographical boundaries and connects breakers from all over the world through events, media, and online platforms. Breakdancing culture also respects and celebrates the roots and pioneers of the dance, as well as the innovations and contributions of the current and future generations.

Breakdancing culture is more than just a hobby or a sport. It is a way of life that inspires breakers to pursue their passions, express their individuality, and overcome their challenges. It is also a way of giving back to the society and the environment by promoting positive values, social awareness, and cultural diversity. Breakdancing culture is a powerful force that can transform lives and communities for the better.

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