The Olympics have made recent strides to include “urban” sports in the games, such as skateboarding, surfing, climbing and now, break dancing.
Break dancing, otherwise known as “breaking,” made its first Olympic debut at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires. According to the the Olympic Games’ website, the sport was an “outstanding success” in 2018 and will therefore be included in the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Breaking originated in New York City during the 1970s — it was especially popular among Latino and Black communities in the Bronx, per NPR. The sport has taken off during the last 50 years, from cardboard-covered sidewalks to dance studios, and now official competitions.
But Raphael Xavier, professional breakdancer and professor of hip-hop dance at Princeton, said the Olympics could potentially tarnish the sport’s culture.
“The Black and Latino community are responsible from the beginning. I think when the other countries began to make their presence within the culture, it washed out the ideas or concept that Blacks and Latinos were responsible,” said Xavier, per NPR.
On the other hand, Anthony Castillo, who owns a break dancing studio in Washington, believes breaking’s presence at the Olympics could inspire young dancers.
“I’m always telling these kids, ‘You could be Michael Phelps or Simone Biles of the sport,’” Castillo said, per The Washington Post. “The Olympics are bringing a new energy, and you can see the path. The art and the sport are going to have to coexist. We need to have both worlds.”
What will be the break dancing rules at the Olympics?
According to the Olympics’ website, breaking will have a men’s and women’s competition, with 16 B-Boy finalists and 16 B-Girl finalists. The dancers will compete face to face in solo battles.
The dancers can combine power moves, such as freezes and windmills, and must improvise based on the DJ’s beat. They will be voted on by a panel of judges.
The events will take place in Paris during August 2024.