Culture

Rise & Fall in Breakdancing

Danseur

People are gathered together, highly anticipating what’s to come. The MC announces the next dancers to step up. Adrenaline fills the hearts of the bboys and the show begins.

Breakdance is a street dance style that is an element of the hip hop movement that started among African American and Latin American youths during the early 1970s. Breakdance has a strange beginning, it was created when street corner DJs would take the breakdown sections of dance records and they would loop them together and this allowed dancers to come up with unique, original movements to show their skills. Breakdancing has elements of gymnastics, capoeira, disco, etc so it is limitless in what can do as a breakdancer (or bboy/bgirl)

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It is one of the more difficult dance styles to learn, as the moves are very different to other dance styles. For example, there are moves like freezes, power moves, footwork and such. And speaking from personal experience, it takes days, even months and sometimes years to master some of these moves. Breakdancers usually form dance crews of whom they practice together. This helps us improve our styles and moves as we watch each other and get ideas for new moves and combinations. I’ll see my friend doing some fast footwork, then flair, then finish with an air-chair and I’ll feel like – how can I improve on that? The inspiration of dancers practicing together is a high of its own.

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This leads me to my next point. Breakdance crews usually get together and practice, but also after some time they start performing for shows, exhibitions and competitions. We used to practice for hours trying to get better. Also, we were generally also the life of most parties we went to because we could work that dance floor like no one else could. It was an amazing feeling, to be cheered on by the people and being recognized for our skills. There used to be a big demand for breakdancing and this included corporate functions, exhibitions, in the media, among the youth and also workshops. I remember there was always something happening, but nowadays all the dancers I knew, grew up with, and idolized, are not dancing anymore. They’ve all taken a different path in life. The ones I know who are still breakdancing from where I’m from I can count on one hand.

Over time, as popular as breakdancing was globally, with such events as Red bull BC One, IBE, World Breakdance Championships, etc (by the way, these events still exist) the scene is not like how it was before. People are looking for something different. Dancers are getting paid less now and only the extremely good ones can make a living from it.

Chris Maiken

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