Breakdancing or breaking is not just about dancing. It originated in the streets of New York during the late 1970s, and it was influenced by martial arts, gymnastic and, later on, street gangs. Breakers, B-boys and B-girls battled each other while dancing and displayed their athleticism, agility and creativity. So it can be said that breakdancing is a gesture of fighting without touching someone.
Four decades after it originated, the street dance form is now fast approaching a new chapter in its history. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has proposed adding it as a new Olympic sport for the Paris 2024 games. The approval is provisional, as the IOC will continue to monitor breaking through the next year. The inclusion will not be fully confirmed until December 2020. The committee has given thumbs-up to four sports: surfing, skateboarding, sport climbing and breaking. While the other three sports are already approved to debut at the 2020 Summer Olympics to be held in Tokyo, breaking being the newest addition will be initiated in 2024.
“It is definitely a good thing for a dancer because dance as an artform is being recognised as a sport as well, so to have breakdance as a part of Olympic is a good thing. It is also because like a lot of other sports there are a lot of technicalities, which is involved to become a b-boy or a break dance artist, I definitely see this as a welcoming move,” says Tushar Bhardwaj, Ballet and Hip Hop dancer.
“The effort to include breakdance as a part of the 2024 Olympics is a great initiative as it is both a sport and an art. The inclusion will encourage the youth to take up breakdancing, and it would also put dance on an international pedestal,” says Smriti Sabbarwal, a Kathak dancer.
There are a lot of people who think that breaking is not a sport, to which Anshuman, breakdancer, explains, “Dance is also partly an athletic field, as it incorporates a lot of similar elements that you have in sports like gymnastics. It requires a lot of core strength. It is basically like a sport and, plus, things are tougher as we have to do it on music and get the beat right.”
While most of the dancers are happy with this announcement, Digant Kar, who is a choreographer and an aspiring filmmaker, has a different perspective to offer, “ I have a mixed reaction to it. I’m happy with the announcement, but also sad. It is good as it will be empowering dance on an international levels, but at the same time we need to keep in mind the sanctity of the Olympics, of why and how it was
made; we have to see that it is a space of sports. Yes, I agree that breakdancing is typically very challenging, you need years of practicing, but again, it’s an art form, not a sport.”