• Friday, June 21, 2024
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BusinessDay

Breakdancing! What to know about the newest olympic sport

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Breakdancing is set to make its debut as a new sport at the Paris 2024 Olympics, marking a significant milestone for the dance community. Breakdancers will have the opportunity to showcase their skills in what is commonly known as breaking, a dynamic fusion of athleticism and artistry.

History of Breakdancing

Originating in the early 1970s at block parties in New York City, breakdancing emerged as dancers incorporated elements from gymnastics, martial arts, and other styles into their routines. Today, it is more commonly referred to as “breaking,” preferred by those immersed in the culture.

Now, over 50 years later, breaking will take centre stage at the Summer Olympics in Paris, becoming the first dance sport ever included in the Games. Thirty-two athletes from around the world, including 16 men and 16 women, known as B-boys and B-girls, will compete for gold, silver, and bronze medals at the iconic Place de la Concorde.

Breaking gained international recognition after its successful debut at the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 2018, drawing over a million viewers. The upcoming Olympics aim to replicate this success on an even grander scale.

Characterised by stylized footwork and athletic manoeuvres like back spins and head spins, breaking showcases the agility and creativity of its performers. Its roots can be traced back to the Bronx area of New York City, where DJ Kool Herc’s block parties served as the backdrop for early breaking performances.

Rules of Breakdancing

The breaking competition at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games features two events—one for men and one for women. In these events, 16 B-Boys and 16 B-Girls will compete in thrilling solo battles. Athletes will showcase a combination of power moves, including windmills, the 6-step, and freezes, as they adapt their style and improvise to the DJ’s music. Their goal is to impress the judges and secure their votes to win the first Olympic-breaking medals.

B-Boys and B-Girls Competing at 2024 Olympic Qualifiers

The World Dance Sport Federation confirmed on Friday, January 26, the athletes who will compete in breaking at the Olympic Qualifier Series.

A total of 80 athletes, comprising 40 B-Boys (male breakers) and 40 B-Girls (female breakers), will vie for a chance to compete at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games following confirmation from the World Dance Sport Federation in January 2024.

The top 14 breakers—seven women and seven men—will earn a historic quota for the upcoming Olympics.

The Olympic Qualifier Series promises to be one of the most exciting and vibrant sporting events of 2024, featuring athletes from BMX freestyle, breaking, skateboarding, and sport climbing competing side-by-side in urban parks.

The Shanghai event will be held at the Huangpu Riverside from May 16 to 19, 2024, while the Budapest event will take place at the Ludovika Campus from June 20 to 23, 2024.

For the 40 B-Boys and 40 B-Girls confirmed to compete, the Olympic Qualifying Series is the final chance to secure a spot for Paris 2024.

As National Olympic Committees (NOCs) have the exclusive authority to represent their respective countries at the Olympic Games, athletes’ participation in the Paris Games will depend on their NOC selecting them to represent their delegation at Paris 2024.

U.S. Sports Envoys in Nigeria to Promote Breakdancing

Envoys from the U.S. Department of State’s Sports Macca Malik and Jacob ‘Kujo’ Lyons are in Nigeria to lead masterclasses, share their experiences in the dance industry and shed light on the exciting world of Breakdancing.

They emphasised the cultural significance of breaking and its ability to unite communities through dance.

In an interview on the AIT Kakaaki show, Malik highlighted the cultural and artistic aspects of breakdancing, expressing excitement about witnessing the Nigerian breakdancing community firsthand.

“As a sport, it’s a dance as well. It’s an art form and it’s just really beautiful to watch and do and has so much history dating from the 70s when children were coming from nothing in the eyes of the world but being able to invent something so rich in money.

“These children were able to just create something that’s worldwide and that has brought so many different cultures together.

“And I think that’s just really important to see on that stage at the Olympics especially seeing these different cultures and communities all come together and just dance to music and get down like we like to say.”

Jacob elaborated on the journey to establish breakdancing as an Olympic sport, acknowledging the debate within the community over its classification. Despite differing opinions, he emphasized the importance of embracing both the sport and cultural aspects of breakdancing.

“It was a very long process and it required a bit of a shift in identity for a lot of the participants because as Maka said it’s cultural,” Jacob added.

“For example, there is a bit of disagreement in the community over whether it should be a sport and there’s no solid answer to that question and that’s okay because, for example, not everyone needs to participate in the sport aspect of breakdancing. We are free to participate solely in the cultural aspect of breakdancing.”

During their visit to Nigeria, Jacob and Malik launched breakdancing clubs in Abuja and Lagos, identifying talented individuals and providing guidance for aspiring athletes to excel on the Olympic stage.

Their mission is to share expertise, inspire young dancers, and elevate the global profile of breakdancing, celebrating its rich history and cultural significance on the Olympic stage.