History of Breakdancing

Discussion in 'Interviews & Articles' started by Bboy.org, Apr 22, 2004.

  1. Bboy.org

    Bboy.org President Elect Staff Member

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    Breakdancing seems so different from all other kinds of dancing that the first question people ask when they see it is: "Where did these kids learn to dance like that?" To many people, this dance seems to have come out of nowhere. But like everything else, Breakdance did come from somewhere, something and someone. In the case of Breakdancing, that someone is the great superstar, James Brown, and the something is the dance, the Good Foot. In 1969, when James Brown was getting down with his big hit "Get on the Good Foot" the Hustle was the big dance style of the day. If you've ever seen James Brown live in concert or on TV, then you know he can really get down. And when he preformed his hit, he did the kind of dance you'd expect James Brown to do. High Energy. This almost acrobatic dance was appropriately enough known as the lot of kids around New York City.

    By the time the Good Foot became the new dance style, the tradition of dance battle was well established. Dancers would gather at places like Harlem World on 116th Street in Harlem and Battle-dancewise. Battles are covered in more detail in the section on battles, challanges, and contests, but the important thing as fas as the history of Breakdancing is concerned is that Breakdancing was particularly well-suited for competition. And not only was the Good Foot well- suited for dance battles, it appealed to certain young men who were very athletic.

    The Good Foot, which was soon to be called B-Boy and shortly after that Breakdancing, or Breaking, was very different from the Breaking we see today. In some ways it was simpler. There were no Headspind. No Windmill. No Handglides or Backspins. It was what is now called old-style Breaking. Old-Style Breaking consisted only of floor work, or Floor Rock, and in a way it was more complex than modern Breaking. There may be some small variations on the Headspin and a Backspin, but basically, a Headspin is a head spin and a Backspin is a back spin. But Floor Rock can involve some extremely complicated leg moves, and it is done very fast. And it did not take long before where were a lot of Breakdancing battles happening.

    Among those for whom old-style Breaking was especially popular were many of the youths and street gangs that roamed the South Bronx. And it was in those streets that Breakdancing really started. Often, the best Breakers in opposing gangs would battle dance wise instead of fighting. They would battle over turf. Or because someone stepped on someone else's shoes. They might battle prove that their gang was better than the other gang. Sometimes they would make a contract that the loser would not go around to the winner's neighborhood anymore. Sometimes they battled just to gain each other's respect. Unfortunately, these Breaking battles did not always stop fight. In fact, they often would cause a fight, since dancers would sometimes get physical when they couldn't win dance wise. No one likes to lose. But today Breaking battles have, to a large extent, replaced fighting in the Bronx.

    In this way Breakdancing crews-groups of dancers who practice and perform together-were formed. And soon formal crews organized, who not only practiced and preformed together, but who also developed their own dance routines. Some of these crews became very dedicated to their dancing, and since they had nothing better to do, would spend hours a day practicing, developing more and more complex moves, improving their form, and increasing their speed. And then Afrika Bambaataa came along. Bambaataa is the legendary grand master D.J. who is the individual most responsible for the successful growth of Breakdancing. He is a record producer and member of the Soul Sonic Force, who’s "Looking For The Perfect Beat" was chosen as the No.4 best single in the 1983 Jazz and pop Critics' Poll. Afrika Bambaataa is also the leader of the Zulu Nation in the Bronx.

    In 1969, Afrika Bambaataa saw Breakdancing as more than just dancing. He saw it as a way to achieve something. He saw the potential of Breakdancing, and encouraged the dancers to keep at it. To work hard, and to believe that if they stuck with it, something good would come of it. Bambaataa then started one of the first Breakdance crews, the Zulu Kings. The Zulu Kings won a lot of battles and talent shows and preformed in various clubs in New York. At the same time they won a lot of adherents for the Zulu Nation.

    Old-style Breaking remained popular until about 1977, when the Freak took over, based on the hit record "Freak Out" by the Shieks. Then around 1979 and early 1980 a new Breakdance crew was organized-Rock Steady Crew. Even though Rock Steady Crew was especially talented, a lot of people put them down being old-fashioned. But Bambataa encouraged them. He told them that if they stuck with it, something good would happen. He took them on, and soon they were performing at the Mudd Club, the Ritz, and other Punk rock clubs around New York. When Rock Steady performed for Malcom McLaren and Bow Wow Wow at the Ritz people started taking them seriously. Breakdancing Was In Again.

    But the new-style Breaking was different from the old. Rock Steady added a lot of acrobatic moves. Breaking now included not only Floor Rock but Headspins, Backspins, Handglides, and Windmills. In 1981, Charles Ahearn made his Hip-Hop movie, Wild Style, a raw vision of rap singing, graffiti, scratching, and Breakdancing in the Bronx. Ahearn called on Rock Steady to do the Breaking and Rock Steady became the preeminent Breakdance crew and new-style Breaking became even more popular. When the spring of 1982 rolled around the Roxy was a well-established New York roller-skating rink. But the popularity of roller skating quickly began to fade, and in June of '82, Pat Fuji turned the Roxy into a dance club on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night. The Roxy quickly became the Hip Hop center. It was here that rappers, D.J.'s, and Breakdancers would perform and hang out.

    If you wanted to discover a Breakdancer for your show or video, you would come to the Roxy. Or if you just wanted to watch or learn some new moves, you would come to the Roxy. And the Roxy started to sponsor Breakdance contests, which would help the winners get more recognition. In June, 1983, Pat Fuji hired professional Jazz dancer Rosanne Hoare to run the Street Arts Consortium, whish was a house Breakdancing, rapping, and graffiti art. Rosy was going to officially establish a home for Hip Hop Culture. While the Street Art Consorium never really happened as envisioned, Rosy did provide a home for Breakdancers. She not only provided a place where they could feel at home, but she worked with them as a choreographer, helping to extend their dance possibilities. She also helped many dancer find commercial and performing dance work. Most importantly, Rosy was-and is-always there as a friend whom they can count on. She herself has taken up Breakdancing.

    _______________________________________________

    This Article is from"Breakdancing with Mr.Fresh & The Supreme Rockers"
    V-StepKid likes this.
  2. Bboy_Hypnotizer

    Bboy_Hypnotizer New Member

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    thanks for the article

    :D i juz read it and its always good to gain knowledge of history to share with my crew
  3. BboyFurocious

    BboyFurocious New Member

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    It's always good to freshen up on some history.
    I really enjoyed this article.





    Peace
  4. rap_attack

    rap_attack Rap Attack Oz Ol Skool

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    Fo sure!

    I enjoy reading things bout the history of Hip Hop. I just read "Vibe-a history of Hip Hop".
    Rap Attack
  5. B-boy Hats

    B-boy Hats uk bboy

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    thanks, i enjoyed that.
  6. BboyMenace

    BboyMenace New Member

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    I usually like to hear facts about the history of breakin too, but only if they are truly facts. I stopped reading the article after it was stated that James Brown basically invented breakdancing. This could be considered a highly controversial, much-debated topic. I rather choose to believe that breakin came from Capoeira, the Brazilian martial art, of course. There are many similarities between these two arts. Capoeira even has a form of one-on-one combat where the two dancing combatants both go down to the floor on the same musical beat (because music is ALWAYS played when playing capoeira), but they hit each of their sticks together instead of throwing a punch or something like bboyz. This is VERY similar to battle rock. Many of the moves are the same too. They have moves called by Brazilian names, that I can barely spell because I only took Capoeira for a year. The moves are IDENTICAL to the: 1990, L-Kick, Hollowback, Planche, One-hand glides, Headspins, Flare, Ball-and-Chain, Butterfly Twists, and many more! They do flips and handstands and splits too. The similarities are very abundant. Oh, and don't forget that a circle is made for Capoeira, as well as breakdancing. James Brown might have observed this art and incorporated it into his great dancing, or maybe he re-invented SOME of the similar movements himself, but I doubt he should be credited with inventing it as the article strongly suggests. This shouldn't be spread around if it isn't true. Don't hate me if I've bursted your bubbles, I'm just stating my opinion, with facts. Please respond if there is more debate to be had. Thanks for listenining.
    Dennis The Menace
  7. Ivylaiz

    Ivylaiz New Member

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    What about Dj Herc i thought he had alot to do with the history of Bboying? You havent mentioned him at all.
  8. PhillyBBoy88

    PhillyBBoy88 Wolverine like Healing

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    DJ Herc, GrandWizard Theodore are all figureheads of Hip Hop itself. Mentioning every contributer to Hip Hop, would be like trying to count the stars.

    Of course they had an impact a huge one at that, DJ Herc mixed music creating "breaks" for dancers to excel in. Grandwizard Theodore created the needledrop increasing the flexibility of DJing and BreakBeats. Theres hundreds of other contributers as well, mentioning every single one would be hard without having some assortment of books or something.

    Props for Article Tane
  9. Ivylaiz

    Ivylaiz New Member

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    True that...

    Thanx i understand fully. Hey i never even knew about Grandwizard Theodore!! do you have any other names? dont count all the stars but could you name any more apart from the obvious ones??
  10. BboyMcFishy

    BboyMcFishy Just Elwood

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    what!?!?!! no kool herc?!?!? you cant leave out herc he pretty much invented hip hop and he also came up with the name bboy
  11. rap_attack

    rap_attack Rap Attack Oz Ol Skool

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    Tru nuff Fishy!

    There is mo info on my site and pics in the Gallery of me and Herc when he was in Oz recently. Did u go and see him Fishy? He is coming back and I may be doing a collab with him!

    Rap Attack
  12. BboyMcFishy

    BboyMcFishy Just Elwood

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    nah i couldnt go im only 14 and they are all over 18 events but if he coming back ill try and get there
  13. BboyMcFishy

    BboyMcFishy Just Elwood

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    rapattack just checked out ur new site nice pics is dat u in da first one u changed a fair bit since in ur pic
  14. AlphaTrion

    AlphaTrion Moderator Staff Member

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  15. Swiper

    Swiper supa dupa member

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    ^ I totally agree.

    I hate it when people say that.

    Thanks for educating someone.
  16. nickdaman767

    nickdaman767 SWERVE

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    thanx for the history...i never knew dat
  17. BgRL_MyStIqUe

    BgRL_MyStIqUe *!UnIqUeS' GrL!!!!*

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    dat was a good piece bout brekin' but wheres HERC!!??
  18. Sank_KST

    Sank_KST New Member

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    yeah but do you really reckon the kids of New York and Philly knew anything about capoiera?
  19. Ivylaiz

    Ivylaiz New Member

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    It shows that you read just the first paragraph??

    You said: [I stopped reading the article after it was stated that James Brown basically invented breakdancing. This could be considered a highly controversial, much-debated topic. I rather choose to believe that breakin came from Capoeira, the Brazilian martial art, of course.]

    I think you are contradicting yourself. You say that the fact James Brown invented Bboying is a highly controversial and debateable topic yet you take a strong stance suggesting that it is just capoeira that breakin was developed through. I think you need to take another look at the facts of bboying history and realise that the first stages of bboying did not consist of such acrobatic power moves as are similar in capoeira. Bboying was merely footwork. Bboying developed as new moves were introduced including influences from many different dance forms: capoeira, jazz, salsa, and many more. I think you are very wrong to "suggest" that breaking comes from Capoeira. Breaking was developed through many styles of movement, and it is still developing. You may still be right that a statement like "James Brown was the sole inventor of the breaking dance form," is highly controversial, and I think it is, but nevertheless James Brown was a significant person in bboying history, and there are many other factors included in his influence, as is for the rest of history.

    Message: Think again
  20. weyden

    weyden doesnt post much

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    haha shot emz.

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