Breakdance, also known as breaking or b-boying, is a street dance style that evolved as part of the hip hop movement that originated among Viktor Kabachenko youths in the South Bronx of New York City during the early 1970s. It is arguably the best known of all hip hop dance styles.

Breakdancing is one of the four elements of hip hop, the others being MCing, DJing, and graffiti.

Popular speculations of the early 1980s suggest that breakdancing, in its organized fashion seen today, began as a method for rival gangs of the ghetto to mediate and settle territorial disputes. In a turn-based showcase of dance routines, the winning side was determined by the dancers who could outperform the other by displaying a set of more complicated and innovative moves.

It later was through the highly-energetic performances of funk legend James Brown and the rapid growth of dance teams, like the Rock Steady Crew of New York City, that the competitive ritual of gang warfare evolved into a pop-culture phenomenon, receiving massive media attention. Parties, disco clubs, talent shows, and other public events became typical locations for breakdancers, especially for gang members, where dancing served as a positive diversion from the threats of city life.

Though its intense popularity eventually faded in the 1980s, breakdancing remains a mainstream phenomenon, maintaining exposure by the media through often comical portrayals in commercials and movies. For enthusiasts, breakdancing remains an enjoyable pastime and, for a few, a serious sport where annual exhibitions and competitions of all levels take place.

The term break is widely recognized as derived from the so-called "break" in a song being danced to; the quick and energetic section which dancers would often showcase their best moves to. Disc Jockeys evolved the ability to prolong this break through the use of multiple turntables, allowing what might once have been a five-second bridge into an extended mix. In the documentary, "The Freshest Kids," however, hip-hop pioneer DJ Kool Herc proposes an alternative derivation, suggesting the relation to the slang "break"-—a transition into insanity—-compliments a breakdancer's explosive behavior.

Other terms exist to typify the style of dance, most notably, "b-boying" or "b-girling." These abbreviated terms were coined by DJ Kool Herc where he, during performances, would yell out "B-boys go down!" cueing the dancers to breakdance. Some suggest that the "B" might not correspond to a specific word, per se, that it possibly is interchanged with the words "Boogie", "Bronx," or "Break."

Though the origin of such terms today remains subject to debate, the name "break" eventually was adapted by mass media, in the early 1980s and accepted widely by its audiences.

Breakdancing is an amalgam of numerous different aerobic practices, a style which borrows a variety of forms, motions, and maneuvers especially emphasized in martial arts (especially Capoeira), gymnastics, and popular funk dance. The list of such moves is tremendous and, as such activities entail, require a great deal of practice and discipline to perform.

Toprock refers to any string of steps performed from a standing position, relying upon a mixture of coordination, flexibility, style, and most importantly, rhythm. Almost unorthodox-looking in general it is arguably the first and foremost opening display of style, a typical warm-up for transitions into more acrobatic maneuvers. Uprock is a competitively oriented type of toprock consisting of foot shuffles, spins, turns, and creative movements. Downrock, which is more acrobatic and akin to gymnastics, encompasses all moves performed with hands, arms, or a part of the torso involving contact with the floor. More generally, a dancer's footwork refers his or her proficiency with foot speed and control.

Freezing, as the stationary name implicates, focuses on poses, the most skillful of which requires suspension off the floor using specific parts of the body. Whereas the said term refers to one pose, locking entails the sharp transition between each of multiple freezes, like clicks associated with door bolts. Self-destructive moves are referred to as suicides and sees dancers landing safely (usually) in seemingly painful positions.

Battles refer to any level of competition in which breakdancers, in an open space (typically a circle) participate in a quick-paced, turn-based routines, whether improvised or planned. Participants vary in numbers, ranging from head-to-head duels to battles of opposing breakdance crews, or teams. Winners are determined by side who exhibits the most proficient combinations of moves. Cyphers, on the other hand, are open-forum, mock exhibitions where competition is less emphasized.

The conventional breakdancing routine sees breakdancers transitioning from toprocking, to downrocking, typically with some variation of the foundational 6-step, and to a climactic freeze or suicide.

Since its inception, breakdancing has provided a youth culture constructive alternative to violent urban street gangs. Today, breakdancing culture is a remarkable discipline somewhere in-between those of dancers and athletes. Since acceptance and involvement centers on dance skills, breakdancing culture is unusually free of the common race, gender and age boundaries of a subculture and has been accepted worldwide.

Social interaction centers on practice and performance, which are occasionally intertwined because of its improvisational style. While featured at dance schools, breakdancing is very difficult, typically taught to newbies, or beginners, by more experienced breakdancers and passed on to new generations by informal word-of-mouth way. Because of this, clubs and hip-hop schools do exist, however, but are rare in number and more so in organization.

As the cliched quote "break to the beat" insists, music is a staple ingredient for breakdancing. The original songs that popularized the dance form borrow significantly from progressive genres of jazz, soul, funk, electro or electro funk, disco, and R&B. (See 1970s and 1980s). The most common feature of breakdance music exists in breaks, or compilations formed from samples taken from different songs which are then looped and chained together by the DJ, where the tempo generally ranges between 110 and 135 beats-per-minute with shuffled 16th and quarter beats in the percussive pattern. History credits Kool Dj Herc for the invention of this concept, later termed breakbeat.

The musical selection is not restricted to hip-hop and as long as the tempo and beat pattern conditions are met. It can be readily adapted by varying taste (often with the aid of remixing) to any type of music. World competitions have seen the unexpected progressions and applications of heavily European electronica, and even opera.

For most breakdancers, fashion is a defining aspect of identity. Breakdancers of the 1980s typically sported flat-soled Adidas, Puma, or Fila shoes with thick, elaborately patterned laces. Some breakdancers matched their hats, shirts, and shoes to show uniformity within a breakdancing crew, and was perceived a threat to the competitor in the form of "strength in numbers." B-boys also wore nylon tracksuits which were functional as well as fashionable. The slick, low-friction surface allowed the breakdancer to slide on the floor much more readily than if he or she had been wearing a cotton shirt. Hooded nylon jackets allowed dancers to perform head spins and windmills with relative ease. Additionally, the popular image of the original breakdancer always involved a public performance on the street, accompanied by the essential boombox.

B-boys today dress differently from b-boys in the 80s, but one constant remains, and that is dressing "fresh". Due to the spread of breakdancing as an artform from the inner cities out into the suburbs and to different social groups, different senses of "fresh" have arisen. Generally the rule that one's gear needs to match has remained from the 80s, along with a certain playfulness. Kangols are still worn by some, track pants and nylons still have their place combined with modern sneakers and hats. Trucker hats were reintroduced on the scene in the late 1990s, well before the mainstream pop culture began wearing them again in numbers.

Function is heavily intertwined with b-boy fashion. Due to the demands on the feet in b-boying, b-boys look for shoes with low weight, good grip, and durability when given pressure to the sole as well as elsewhere. Headwear can facilitate movement with the head on the ground, especially headspins. Bandannas underneath headwear can protect from the discomfort of fabric pulling on hair. And wristbands placed along the arm can lower friction at a particular place as well as provide protection. Today's breakdancing styles, which emphasize fast-paced, fluid floor moves and freezes, differ from that of two decades ago, requiring more freedom of movement in the upper body. Therefore, less baggy upperwear is more common today (though pants remain baggy).

There are dancers and crews that now have begun to dress in a style similar to "goth" or punk rockers in order to stand out from the more traditional toned-down b-boy look.

Certain clothing brands have been associated with breaking. Tribal is an example. Puma is also well known in the breaking community. Both brands sponsor many b-boy events.

But aside from these generalities, many b-boys choose not to try too hard to dress for breaking, because in a certain sense one would want to be able to break anytime, anywhere, whatever the circumstances.[citation needed] This is related to why many would rather learn headspins without a helmet, despite their use being able to facilitate the technique more easily.

There is some academic interest in whether breakdance can be considered a folk dance. In particular, street dances are living and evolving dance forms, while folk dances are to a significant degree bound by tradition. Breakdancing was in the beginning a social dance but in the later years, because of media and television, its goal has become more of a performance oriented dance.

In the 1980s, with the help of pop culture and MTV, breakdancing made its way from the suburbs to the rest of the world as a new cultural phenomenon. Musicians such as Michael Jackson popularized much of the breakdancing style in their music videos. Movies such as Flashdance, Wild Style, Beat Street, Breakin' and Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo also contributed to breakdancing's growing appeal. Today, many b-boys and former breakers are disappointed by the media hype that watered the dance down into money and overfocus on power moves. Finally though, Breaking was given its proper respect in the critically acclaimed feature documentary film; The Freshest Kids - a history of the b-boy. The film captured the true essence of the culture and also accurately traced the origin and evolution of the dance and its place within the Hip Hop movement.

Pop-Media References to Breakdancing:

* Buffalo Gals (Malcolm McLaren music video. 1982): The first breakdancing video on MTV, that brought hip hop to the mainstream, most noticeably in Europe.
* Wild Style! (Movie. 1982)
* Flashdance (Movie. 1983): features an appearance by the Rock Steady Crew and a stunt breakdance stand-in for the main character.
* Style Wars (Movie. 1983): Tony Silver and Henry Chalfant's historic PBS documentary Style Wars tracks the rise and fall of subway graffiti in New York in the late 1970s and early 1980s. At the peak of its popularity, graffiti was as much a part of B-boy culture as rapping, scratching, and breaking.
* Breakin' (Movie. 1984): The first movie all about breakdancing
* Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo (Movie. 1984).
* Delivery Boys (Movie. 1984) Genres Comedy, Plot Synopsis: A gang of boys under the Brooklyn Bridge are united by their common interest in break dancing. Some work as pizza delivery boys, hence they call themselves the "Delivery Boys". They form a dance team and enter a local break dance contest, sponsored by a woman's panty manufacturer. A rival gang's sponsor intimidates their employer into thinking she must keep the boys working so they won't be harmed. She gives the boys some "specialized" deliveries to make them late for the contest. The antics and calamities abound as the boys wrestle with her work assignments and getting to the contest on time.
* Beat Street (Movie. 1984)
* It's Like That by Run DMC (Music Video. 1997): Quite possibly the dance video responsible for breakdancing's return to mainstream culture. The recording, though seemingly unrelated to the harsh themes of the song, features a comical battle between two talented respectively all-female and male crews.
* Bust A Groove (Video game franchise. 1998): The two games series by 989 Studios which spanned comprises of a rhythm based gameplay that featured characters with distinctly unique dance styles. The fictional main character, "Heat," former F-1 racer, specializes in breakdancing, while other selectable characters, punk Gas-O and alien twins Capoiera use respectively house and (obviously) Capoiera martial arts.
* Zoolander. (Movie. 2001): On a catwalk, model Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) and Hansel (Owen Wilson) engage in a "walk-off," or a mock modeling exhibition which sees both them randomly performing breakdancing moves—notably the Robot, the wallflip, and a few windmills. Later in the film, Hansel uses headspins to kick his enemy's face, an absurd act to which villain Mugatu (Will Ferrell) blurts, "They're breakdance fighting!"
* Save the Last Dance (Movie. 2001)
* Days Go By by Dirty Vegas (Music Video. 2002)
* You Got Served (Movie. 2004): The film essentially centers on street dancing, where two inner-city dancers (played by Omarion Grandberry and Marques Houston) along with their crew, compete in a tournament to regain their pride and money lost in a hasty bet. Though marred by mediocre acting and story plot, the film was praised for high-level choreography and featured world-class breakdancers from California. The movie also popularized the slang term "served."
* South Park - You Got F'd in the A (Television series. 2004): This episode features a parody to the plot seen in You Got Served.
* B-boy (videogame) (2006): an upcoming console game which aims at an unadulterated depiction of breakdancing[5]
* Break (Mini Series 2006) The Korean mini series featured well known singers and dancers including Poppin' Nam Hyun Joon that brings people of all backgrounds into a breakdancing competition.
* Over the Rainbow (Drama series 2006) centers on a different characters who are brought together by breakdancing as they all try to aim for fame. This series includes many popular Korean stars including Fly to the Sky's Hwanhee and also guest stars many Korean bboys including the 2005 BOTY champions, Last for One's Zero-nine.
* Energy Drink, Energzen, Commercial (2006) A Korean commercial featuring Bboy Bruce Lee from the 2004 BOTY champions Gambler.
* Canon in D Korean video clip (2006) features a famous DJ, beatboxer, and three members of the 2005 BOTY champions, Last for One in two different versions.
* South Korea vs North Korea Breakdancing video clip (2005) depicts the separation of these two nations and the will for reunification through bboying. Ths video clip includes world famous breakdancers Bboy Duck (Drifterz). Bboy Trickx (Drifterz), Bboy Phyicx (Rivers), and Hong 10 (Drifterz).
* World famous Korean crews including Gambler Crew, Expresion Crew, Extreme (Obowang) Crew, Drifterz Crew and more have participated in creating breakdancing tutorial clips shown on television and online to help instruct the new generation of aspiring bboys.
* The 2004 BOTY champions, Gambler Crew, have created a school for aspiring breakdancers and advertisement in Korea has been profound as they have recruited hundreds of students from around their country.
* In 2005, the widow of Gene gave permission to Volkswagen as part of their Volkswagen Golf GTi promotion, to use Gene Kelly's likeness. However, despite Mrs. Kelly's urging, the German auto maker refused to show the commercial in the U.S.. The television clip featured a partly CGI version of Kelly breakdancing to a new version of "Singin' in the Rain", remixed by Mint Royale. The tagline was, "The original, updated."
* 2006, outside of the large shopping mall at Dongdaemun in Seoul, South Korea, a number of bboys gathered to promote a new mp3 product during the peak of shopping hours successfully gathering lots of attention.
* In the Sonic the Hedgehog video game series, Sonic is known to breakdance as a form of celebration, or even as attack moves in some situations.
* In the game Super Smash Bros. Melee for Nintendo GameCube, many characters use breakdancing as a downward smash attack.

Some practitioners contest the usage of label "breaker" or "breakdancer" to describe "one who breakdances," preferring to be called b-boys or b-girls. These dancers claimed that the term "break" was overused or had been created by the media as a marketing device.

Multiple stereotypes have emerged in the breakdancing community over the give-and-take relationship between technical footwork and physical prowess. Those who focus on dance steps and fundamental sharpness—but lack upper-body brawn, form, discipline, etc.—are labeled as "style-heads" and specialists of more gymnastics-oriented technique and form—at the cost of charisma and coordinated footwork—are known as "power-heads." Such terms are used colloquially often to classify one's skill, however, the subject has been known to disrupt competitive events where judges tend to favor a certain array of techniques.

It has often been stated that breakdancing replaced fighting between street gangs, though some believe it a misconception that b-boying ever played a part in mediating gang rivalry. These gang roots made breakdancing itself seem controversial in its early history.

In contrast to subcultural forums, there are Internet b-boys, also known as e-boys' or Otaku b-boys in Japan. These individuals are particularly self-taught, learning moves seen in video clips, read in instructional text or otherwise acquired from online sources. Some argue against this antisocial behavior, while others defend self-tutoring for the lack of instructors or social circles that can provide the necessary directions needed for learning. Breakdancers of some groups look down upon e-boys as "not having their heart in hip-hop," a subculture based around much social bonding.

Often the danger inherent in breakdancing is overemphasized. As with any other strenuous activity, a measured risk of physical injury exists.Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home