History of Breakdancing

B-boying is a form of hip-hop dancing, which is popularly known as breaking. It consists of top or up rock, footwork, spinning moves (power moves), and freeze. B-boying came from Bronx, NY. The term “B-boy” or “B-boying” was created by Kool Herc who was a DJ spinning at block parties in Bronx back in the days. B-Boys means break boys andthey were called so because they dance to the break part of music. Later, by repeating this break part done by DJ, “breakbeats” was born.
It was late 60s, early 70s when people started a sort of b-boying. Their dancing was called “Good Foot” from James Brown’s record of the same name. The Good Foot was the first freestyle dance that incorporated moves involving drops and spins, and assembled the beginning s of breaking. The best way to describe the Good Foot is, according to Michael Holman, to imagine a majorette marching in a parade taking steps raised high at the knee but keeping the leg raised at the knee in the air for a beat before dropping it down and simultaneously raising the other leg. Like a stop action drum majorette on beat.


Soon moves like dropping down to the ground and poppin up again on beat became standard and gave this first generation of b-boys the nickname of “boie-oie-oings.” Footwork came in when the boie-oie-oings started using their arms and hands to support their bodies in order to free the feet and legs to do gymnastic steps, shuffles and sweeps. In Brooklyn a new step inspired by these drops was being developed and called Brooklyn Rock” also known as “Uprocking”. Once the first early break moves had been established, a definite style began to develop. The famous first generation of b-boys were “Nigger Twins”, “Clark Kent”, and “Zulu Kings”. Around 1977 breaking was losing its popularity and it was about to die. (Continued on Page 2)
History of Breakdancing
B-Boying (continued from Page 1)
However, breaking came back with a new generation of b-boys. It was Puerto Rican b-boys who put new life to breaking and took it into next level. They started to put many higher levels of acrobatics and gymnastics into breaking and invented many new moves. B-boys such as Crazy Legs from Rock Steady Crew who were influenced by Jimmy Lee and Joe Joe, members of original Rock Steady Crew developed and invented the new moves such as backspins and windmills. Media stars like Bruce Lee and other Kung Fu film stars and martial artists had a major influence on b-boying culture. The popularity of Kung Fu films during the mid and late 70s around the world and especially in New York City has had a great impact on b-boying style. A large number of martial arts moves were incorporated into b-boying.
B-boying became even more popular in 80s. It was first introduced to out side of New York City and the rest of world by a movie “Flashdance” in 1983. (Before the “Flashdance”, there were already movies like “Wildstyle” and “Stylewars”). Even though it was not a b-boying movie, the short scene, which featured b-boying and poppin on a street, had a great impact, enough to inspire people to start b-boying all over the world.
Then revival of b-boying happened around 1990. I don’t know how exactly it happened. I am sure that it was done by the support of real b-boys who never quit b-boying even during the winter period of b-boying. Nowadays, B-boy events such as B-BOY SUMMIT and ROCK STEADY ANNIVERSARY are organized every year and many b-boys from all over the world get together and keep the culture alive and even try to take it into next level. Battles, also help to keep it alive. A Battle is a competitive way for b-boys to determine what crew or which b-boy is a better athlete. These Battles could be between friends, crews or just a way to get together and learn new moves.

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