B-boying  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

B-boying or Breaking, also called Breakdancing, is a style of street dance that originated among African-American and Puerto Rican youths in New York City during the early 1970s. The dance spread worldwide due to popularity in the media, especially in regions such as South Korea, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia, and Japan. While diverse in the amount of variation available in the dance, b-boying consists of four kinds of movement: toprock, downrock, power moves, and freezes. B-boying is typically danced to hip-hop and especially breakbeats, although modern trends allow for much wider varieties of music along certain ranges of tempo and beat patterns.

A practitioner of this dance is called a b-boy, b-girl, or breaker. Although the term "breakdance" is frequently used to refer to the dance, "b-boying" and "breaking" are the original terms. These terms are preferred by the majority of the pioneers and most notable practitioners.

History

Many elements of b-boying can be seen in other antecedent cultures prior to the 1970s. B-boy pioneers Richard "Crazy Legs" Colon and Kenneth "Ken Swift" Gabbert, both of Rock Steady Crew, cite James Brown and Kung-Fu films as influences to b-boying. Many of b-boying's more acrobatic moves, such as the flare, show clear connections to gymnastics. An Arab street dancer performing acrobatic headspins was recorded by Thomas Edison in 1898. However, it was not until the 1970s that b-boying developed as a defined dance style.

Beginning with DJ Kool Herc, Bronx-based DJs would take the rhythmic breakdown sections (also known as the "breaks") of dance records and prolong them by looping them successively. The breakbeat provided a rhythmic base that allowed dancers to display their improvisational skills during the duration of the break. This led to the first battles—turn-based dance competitions between two individuals or dance crews judged with respect to creativity, skill, and musicality. These battles occurred in cyphers—circles of people gathered around the breakers. Though at its inception the earliest b-boys were "close to 90 percent African-American", dance crews such as "SalSoul" and "Rockwell Association" were populated almost entirely by Puerto Rican-Americans.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "B-boying" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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