B-BOYING (Breaking)

Kozo Okumura (Dancers Delight)

B-boying is a form of hip hop dancing which is popularly known as breaking. It consists of top or up rock, footwork, spinning moves (power moves), and freeze. B-boying came from Bronx, NY. The term "B-boy" or "B-boying" was created by Kool Herc who was a DJ spinning at block parties in Bronx back in the days. B-Boys means break boys and they were called so because they dance to the break part of music. Later, by repeating this break part done by DJ, "breakbeats" was born.

Although people tend to pick up only power moves, real b-boys should master the all elements of b-boying. There are controversy between people who emphasize on style and power moves. One puts his emphasis on power moves and their combination and the other shows their style and individuality by footwork and freeze. Rock Steady Crew has been the one who emphasizes styles to show dancer's individual flavor. Even though power moves have a great impact and very energetic, it is hard to put individual flavor into the moves. Also power moves really don't go with beat since it is spinning. It is closer to gymnastic moves rather than dancing.

Because of these reasons, Rock Steady Crew suggests that footworks-emphasiezed style should be the direction of breaking of 90s. Breaking is the most popular style of hip hop dancing and it has been spreading all over the world while new school dancing such as hip hop and house limited to big cities in the US and Japan. See examples of freezes history It was late 60s , early 70s when people started a sort of b-boying.
Their dancing was called "Good Foot" from James Brown's record of the same name. The Good Foot was the first freestyle dance that incorporated moves involving drops and spins, and resembled the beginning s of breaking. The best way to describe the Good Foot is, according to Michael Holman, to imagine a majorette marching in a parade taking steps raised high at the knww but keeping the leg raised at the knee in the air for a beat before dropping it down and simultaneously raising the other leg. Like a stop action drum majorette on beat.

As the D.J.s invented new ways to elongate the break beats in the records, dancers had more time to invent and experiment. Soon moves like dropping down to the ground and poppin up again on beat became standard and gave these first generation of b-boys the nickname of "boie-oie-oings." Footwork came in when the boie-oie-oings started using their arms and hands to support their bodies in order to free the feet and legs to do gymnastic steps, shuffles and sweeps.

In Brooklyn a new step inspired by these drops was being developed and called "Brooklyn Rock" also known as "Uprocking". Once the first early break moves had been established, a definite style began to develop. The famous first generation of b-boys were "Nigger Twins", "Clark Kent", and "Zulu Kings". Around 1977 breaking was losing its popularirty with black kids and it was about to die.

However, breaking came back with a new generation of b-boys. It was Puerto Rican b-boys who put new life to breaking and took it into next level. They started to put many higner levels of acrobatics and gymnastics into breaking and invented many new moves. B-boys such as Crazy Legs from Rock Steady Crew who were influenced by Jimmy Lee and Joe Joe, members of original Rock Steady Crew developed and invented the new moves such as backspins and windmills.

I want to mention that there are also other b-boys such as Lil Lep from New York City Breakers who should get props by developed b-boying. Also, media stars like Bruce Lee and other Kung Fu film stars and martial artisits had a major influence on b-boying culture. The popularity of Kung Fu films during the mid and late 70s aroudn the world and especially in New York City, has had a great impact on b-boying style.

A large number of martial arts moves were incorporated into b-boying. For example, windmills came from a kung fu which is used to get up from the floor. By repeating getting-up move, windmills was born. B-boying became even more popular in 80s. It was first introduced to out side of New York CIty and the rest of world by a movie "Flashdance" in 1983. (Before the "Flashdance", there were already movies like "Wildstyle" and "Stylewars". But the "Flashdance" was the first major movie which featured b-boying.) Even though it was not b-boying movie, the short scene which featured b-boying and popping on a street had a great impact enough to inspire people to start b-boying all over the world. After the "Flashdance", many breaking movies were made such as "Breakin'", "Breaking'2", and "Beat street." "Beat Street" also had a great impact because it had a scene of battle between Rock Steady Crew and New York City Breakers.

B-boying became very popular as "BREAKDANCE" by many media coverages. Because of this too much media coverage, when media stop showing b-boying on TV, people had a sense that b-boying was only a fad. Many people thought b-boying was dead. Some b-boys stopped b-boying influenced by media, also. Media mistreated b-boying.

After 1985 or 86, the winter period of b-boying came. Then Resurgence of b-boying happened around 1990. I don't know how exactly it happened. I am sure that it was done by the support of real b-boys who never quit b-boying even during the winter period of b-boying. As far as I know, it was Calfornia where b-boying gained its popularity again early. Nowadays, B-boy events such as B-BOY SUMMIT and ROCK STEADY ANNIVERSARY are organized every year and many b-boys from all over the world get together and keep the culture alive and even try to take it into next level.

© Dancers Delight

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