A Little History and Background to Break Dancing
If you have come across the popular TV series So You Think You Can Dance, you might have come across the terms breaking, breakers, b-boys, B-girls, and etcetera. At first, you may have wondered what all these terms meant, then the dancer takes center stage and you would go “Ahhh.”
Some people may see break dancing as some form of dance style which uses coordination, style, aesthetics, and complex body movements, but for others, it’s an entirely different culture all on its own.
Break dancing is also known to be a very popular street dance style which has its roots in the hip hop culture which was predominantly African America. But later on, it also found its way into the Latino community as well.
It has been said that break dancing originated from the Bronx in New York sometime in the 1970’s paving way to the birth of this entirely new culture.
Breakers have their own style of dressing which are typically t-shirts (usually oversized), loose low pants, and a sideways tipped hats.
Same goes for music which is mainly but not limited to hip hop since they also utilize other genres of music which are often incorporated or remixed.
Their type of music is usually characterized by musical breaks which are mainly intended to show off their slick dance movements.
There are four main elements that comprise breaking. Namely freezes/suicides, power moves, top rock, and down rock.
- Freezes/Suicides are basically stylish poses incorporated into the routine. These vary in difficulty. The requirement of more difficult freezes would be to have the breakers suspended off the ground using only their upper body strength.
- The term “power moves” are those that are naturally acrobatic which mainly play with the elements of speed, momentum, control, endurance, and strength of the breaker. Most common example of this element is the popular head spin.
- Then, there is the top rock element. It is basically a series of movement performed by a breaker in a standing position. In a theoretical sense, anything can actually be top rock. The bottom line which defines it is the maintenance of form, b-boy attitude, and cleanliness in the routine.
- Final element is called the down rock. If top rock refers to a series of movement while standing up, down rock is the exact opposite. In essence, down rock refers to floor work or footwork.
Being a culture in itself, they as well have certain stereotypes which mainly stem from an issue of style versus power.
Out of these, style heads and power heads have emerged.
- Style heads are breakers whose focus is more on dance steps and fundamental sharpness.
- While on the other hand, power heads are more inclined towards more gymnastics oriented forms and techniques.
But in the end it all boils down to artistic license since breakers have their own unique still and this also defines their individuality.
Looking at it, it is a pretty interesting culture: independent, individualistic, and dynamic. It has also contributed a lot to our current pop culture in terms of music, fashion, film, theater and dancing as well.