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Breakdance, now an Olympic Sport. A Few Questions Answered

Olympics is the most elite sports event in the world. It brings together the whole world through the language of sports, but now dancing is entering the stream.

Image: Dancer performing by Michael Afonso

As the Paris Olympics 2024 approaches, few announcements have shaken the world. World Dance Sport Federation announced the addition of Breaking as a mainstream sport of the Summer Olympics. Many people, including me, have been confused about the decision and have a lot of questions. We have tried answering a few of the most pressing questions about this grooving news.

How Breaking became an Olympic sport?

The World Dance Sport Federation (WDSF) floated the idea of, adding Breaking in the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in 2016. With the idea of how dramatic, creative and urban the form is, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) added the ‘sport’ to YOG held in the Bueno Aires in 2018. The ‘battles’ performed were in front of a large and excited audience; the crowd cheered the groups enormously, which helped breakdance leapfrog many sports. Seeing the repose of people, the organizing committee of Paris Olympics 2024, asked WDSF to include the same into their program. After deliberating for over a year, the committee announced the addition in December 2020. Jean-Laurent Bourquin, senior advisor for WDSF, while giving the announcement said, “Breaking performances have an athletic dimension. It features different types of movements, position, acrobats, coordination, strength and endurance. It is a combination of both art and sport.”

On what parameter will the new sport be judged?

After the World Dance Sport Federation announced adding Breakdance in international Olympic Games, after a worldwide, “what”, the next question was, “how will it be judged?” Breakdancing is not like gymnastics or figure skating that have a clear point system. Breakdancing is freeing and unbounded, which makes the judgement process even more complicated. Burquoin, the senior advisor announced the method to judge the battle. According to this new system, the performances between two groups will be judged on three bases called Trivium Judging System – physicality (body language and movement), artistic ability (mind and expression) and quality (soul). The jury in real-time will judge the three criteria.

Image: Breaking Trials via Getty
What is the current competitive nature of breakdancing and, what is the future scope?

Breaking or breakdancing has been a social art form for many years. The format first began on the streets of Bronx 1970s with young boys and girls looking for a way to have fun. However, that’s not the case anymore; countries like South Korea, Russia, Japan, and France have shown exponential growth towards the love of the art form. Breaking has become an internationally conducted huge cult competition events like Silverback Open, Outbreak Europe and Red Bull BC One. The Bueno Aires Youth Olympic Games of 2018 saw the participation of 24 dancers, representing 18 countries. WDSF World Breaking Championship is the biggest platform that brings together fine dancers of the world. In 2019, 66 countries participated, including nations like Rwanda, Laos, India, El Salvador and more.

What roughly will happen in the Paris Olympics, 2024?

Paris Olympics of 2024, will be the first to stage this unusual sport on the Olympic stage. The format of World Breaking Championship is likely to be followed, but with 32 dancers (16 boys and 16 girls). These one-on-one competitive ‘battles’ will be conducted for two straight days with a jury judging in real-time using the ‘Trivium Judging System.’ The dancers most likely are to perform on music played by the DJs without any prior information. It will be done to see the instant reactions of the participants. During a battle, two dancers will come face to face surrounded by other dancers, judges, emcee, DJs and the local Breaking community. As the battle progress, the dancers will go in three rounds back and forth between them to the same music. 

Image: Olympics Logo by Kyle Dias
Why is the decision of adding Breaking into Olympics getting mocked?

Olympics is the biggest international sports event since 1863. It was launched by Baron Pierre de Coubertin – a man who 125 years ago united all the nations in friendship and peace through sport in the world’s greatest celebration of humanity – the Olympic Games. The idea was to celebrate sports famous around the world at a commonplace. But, as times changed, so did the perception towards them. Today, more than 33 different sports are the art of a great event. Now, the new ‘sport’, Breaking has been added, and the decision is at the receiving end of mockery. Olympics has always been about fixed scores and winners. However, adding a creative artform like breakdancing have raised the question about the values of the event. Other than the question of mixing of stream, another reason for this mockery is by sportspersons of the sport, not allowed to participate in this elite event. One example of the sport can be Squash.

Written By

An opinionated journalism student. Big time Bollywood fan. Sucker for comedy. Proud Gryffindor.

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