© Little Shao/Red Bull Content Pool
7 reasons why the art of breaking is up there with high-level sports
Breaking, a dance born from hip-hop culture, is an art form that demands the same commitment as elite sports. Learn why breaking has reached that status.
Breaking is a dance and an art form through which B-Boys and B-Girls physically express themselves to the music that the DJ spins. But, at the same time, the dedication, work and sacrifice competitive breakers put into their training, and the level of breaking competitions that exist, has without a doubt put breaking on a par with any high-level sporting discipline that exists, and the athletes who do them.
You've got to train like an athlete but dance like an artist
Here are seven reasons showcasing why breaking has earned its respect as an elite, competitive art form that can exist in the same realm as elite sports, and why breakers are definitely high-level performers, as well as professional athletes.
1. Training and conditioning
Breakers train up to six days a week to compete at the highest level of competition, and also condition heavily to improve their strength, speed, cardio, stamina and more, to be in peak condition.
Ayane says: "The key to becoming a successful athlete and B-Girl is speed, strength and character."
Shigekix says: “I have to practise my breaking a lot but in addition I do workouts to get explosive power. I also try to build my stamina because breaking is hard, and I need good endurance, so I do a lot of cross training.”
You can see the results of that training below:
Shigekix vs Alkolil – final battle
2. Inclusion in the upcoming Games in 2024
Breakers are now Olympians, with breaking being included in the 2018 Youth Games in Buenos Aires. The winning B-Boys and B-Girls took home Olympic gold, silver and bronze, making history as the first breakers to win Olympic medals for their countries.
Breaking has now also been officially added as one of the four new disciplines for the 2024 Paris Games, meaning breakers will be displaying their elite, high-level skills on the biggest sporting stage in the world, among all the other elite level athletes and performers.
3. Sponsorships and official athlete recognition
Just like professional athletes, breakers are now being sought out for sponsorship by brands.
As organisations all over the world prepare for the upcoming Games, many breakers around the world are now getting official athlete accreditation in their country. Breakers in Japan, Turkey and Belgium have already received official accreditation, with B-Girl Madmax, from Belgium, being one of those accredited athletes receiving support, meaning that she can now train full-time as a professional B-Girl.
Madmax vs Jilou – semi-final 1
4. International world championship competitions
The breaking scene is full of elite-level, international championship competitions, and to even just compete in the line up for these takes years of hard work, focus, dedication and practice. Plus, winning brings breakers worldwide recognitions as the best breakers on the planet, and gets them flown all over the globe to judge and compete at other high-level, championship breaking events.
What do these competitions look like? Take a look at the Red Bull BC One World Final 2019 in India:
5. Professional levels of healthcare education
The demands breakers put on their bodies to be able to compete at the elite level has always been incredibly high, which has ignited the level of dancer healthcare and education to also raise their game to a high professional standard.
Standing for Health Education 4 Dancers, HE4DS is a team of four passionate breakers who are leading the way, focused on bringing a higher level of sustainable healthcare to breakers and helping them achieve an enhanced level of performance.
B-Girl Sophiela (HE4D of management) says: "Through our personal dance injury history each of us chose to follow a career in the medical field as physiotherapists, wanting to study everything about the human body and see how this knowledge could be applied to dance."
6. Greater coverage by professional journalism, photography and videography
One thing that gives elite sporting activities such a high-level of recognition is the level and quality of media coverage that they get.
The competitive art of breaking is no different, with professional, high-level photographers like Little Shao, and professional, visual content creators like MiniBoj both bringing high-quality levels of media and content creation to breaking. Little Shao says: “I wanted to make breaking visuals better than anything else that had been done, and take dance photography to the next level, so that's exactly what I did.”
7. B-Boys and B-Girls being artists and athletes
The B-Boys and B-Girls who work hard to be the best dancers and athletes they can be now embrace living in both worlds, as high-level dancers and elite athletes. B-Girl Madmax, from Belgium, probably summed it up the best, saying: “I am an artist and I am an athlete, and what I like to say is – you've got to train like an athlete but dance like an artist."
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