FILE - In this file picture taken with a long time exposure on March 12, 2017, Jannis Bednarzik performs during the German Breakdance Championships in Magdeburg, Germany. Getting hip to breakdancing’s appeal with young audiences, organizers of the 2024 Paris Olympics want the dance sport that spread from New York in the 1970s to become a medal event at the games. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer, File)

Prospect of breakdancing becoming Olympic sport draws mixed reactions

Mandy Cruz, a 22-year-old breaker in Toronto, said she’s excited at the prospect

Canadian breakdancers are expressing mixed feelings about the danceform moving closer to becoming an Olympic sport — with some enthusiastic about the possibility and others concerned it may alter the underground culture around the activity.

Known more commonly as breaking, the dance is being considered for the 2024 Games in Paris, with a final decision expected in December 2020.

Mandy Cruz, a 22-year-old breaker in Toronto, said she’s excited at the prospect.

“It was a really great moment that dance is being recognized as a sport, because it’s very physically demanding and you do have to train your body like an athlete,” she said. “A lot of people overlook dancing, like it’s an easy hobby.”

Cruz said she was curious to see how breaking would be judged if it becomes an Olympic sport. Since it’s also an artform, she said it can’t be judged on athleticism alone. In typical “break battles,” judges also look for creativity and originality, she said.

And while even the possibility of becoming an Olympic sport could raise the profile of the activity, Cruz said she believes breaking will continue to be important at a local level.

“There’s a lot of people of colour going to this culture, because there’s oppression going on around them,” she said. “There’s a lot of things going on around them in this world that (breaking) is just an outlet for.”

Caerina Abrenica, an instructor with the Toronto B-Girl Movement, which supports young girls in the danceform, said a spot in the Olympic games could help boost female representation in breaking.

“Having a b-girl category in the Olympics would allow more b-girls worldwide to see the potential of where women are taking it in the dance,” she said.

Some breakers, however, are concerned about the potential elevation to the Olympic level.

“Is it going to be celebrating (breakers’) diversity? Or is this a platform that shows there’s something great that comes out of (the culture) but it’s predominantly owned or taken up by people who are more privileged,” asked Nick Nyguyen, the owner of a breaking studio in Halifax.

Marcelino “Frostflow” DaCosta, a breaker and president of the Ground Illusionz breaking crew, was also uncertain.

“It’s not a sport — it’s a dance, it’s an artform,” he said. ”There are athletic qualities to it, but the heart and essence of what this is, it’s a dance.”

DaCosta said he worried the dance could stray too far from its foundation if it becomes an Olympic event.

But Mary Fogarty, an associate professor with the department of dance at York University, said conversations on the evolution of breaking have been going on since the 80s.

“The style has already changed significantly … So I don’t see the form being transformed that much,” she said. ”These dances will always happen on the local level, it will always happen on the street and it will always have different (meaning) for people who are marginalized.”

Breaking started as one of the pillars of hip-hop culture in New York City in the 70s. Since then it has transformed into a competitive, collaborative activity around the world.

It was a medal event last October at the Buenos Aires Youth Summer Games. And Olympic organizers have said they are considering having competitions with 16 athletes in men’s and women’s medal events if breaking gets approved for the 2024 Paris Games.

Having the dance become an Olympic sport would take it to new audiences, Fogarty said, while also giving wider exposure to breakers around the world.

“This is probably the best thing that could happen for the breaking scene internationally.”

Lidia Abraha, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

RCMP searching for missing Lax Kw’alaams resident

Public urged to help in search for 42-year-old Lawrence Maitland

Coast Tsimshian sign historic stewardship agreement

Lax Kw’alaams and Metlakatla plan to work as one to preserve traditional lands

Pacific Northern Gas moves to reinstate full capacity and expand pipeline

Increased supply and demand could mean lower rates for North Coast customers, PNG says

Prince Rupert golfers shoot for a cause

Record turnout at Firemen’s Scramble as over 100 people sign up to support Burn Fund charity

Rare grizzly bear sightings near Dodge Cove

Several bears have made their way to Digby Island in the past few weeks

Downtown Prince Rupert gets a much needed tidying up

Positive Prince Rupert turns their attention to the streets for their July clean

VIDEO: Man found dead near B.C. teens’ truck could be linked to a double homicide

RCMP said they are looking for Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, of Port Alberni

Latest plan is to fly trapped fish by helicopter over Big Bar slide

Multi-pronged plan set in motion to freesalmon blocked by landslide in the Fraser River

Family of missing B.C. senior with dementia frustrated with situation, heartened by community support

Nine days since Grace was last seen the question remains: ‘How can an 86-year-old just disappear?’

Unsealed record suggests U.S. man convicted of murdering Vancouver Island couple left DNA on zip tie in 1987

William Talbott is set to be sentenced Wednesday in the murders of Jay Cook and Tanya Van Cuylenborg

Okanagan Air Cadet challenges gender-exclusive haircut policy

Haircut regulation inspires challenge around gender identity

VIDEO: Bystander training gains traction as tool to prevent sexual harassment, violence

Julia Gartley was sexually assaulted after an event, and no one stepped in to help

Two brands of ice cream sandwiches recalled due to presence of metal

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency issued a recall on Iceberg and Originale Augustin brands

Most Read