Breakdancer Sergei Chernyshev of Russia in competition at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympics. At the Games, points are awarded for technique, variety and interpretative and artistic quality.

Art as sport: Can breakdancing benefit from its Olympic tag?

Can you elevate a component from a vibrant, politically charged subculture and switch it into a serious mainstream sporting occasion? The brief reply is sure. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) did simply that, when it named breakdancing as a provisional sport within the 2024 Games to be held in Paris. (The Committee sometimes introduces a sport provisionally, then evaluations its success to determine whether or not to proceed with it.)

But can breaking really be thought of a sport, and what does it stand to lose, or achieve, by its change in standing from a road dance kind?

This is a vibrant, nascent, underground tradition with origins within the New York of the 1970s, with its Black ghettoes and Latin-American desires. The Olympic committee’s acknowledged intention, in together with the dance kind within the world sporting championship, is to make the Games ‘more urban’ and ‘more artistic’.

“Breaking as a form is inspired by elements of sport, like the flips and movements in gymnastics,” says Arif Chaudhary, 23, knowledgeable b-boyer who additionally goes by Flying Machine, and is a part of Mumbai’s emergent breaking subculture. “It has all the ingredients of a sport: the need for fitness, flexibility, agility, footwork, hand-eye coordination and mental strength.”

It is limitless, he provides — suggesting that he doesn’t share different b-boyers’ worries that taking it mainstream will dilute its identification. “We play with gravity, momentum and speed; we have flips, drops,” Chaudhary provides. “It also teaches you calm — it has moulded me and made me mature. Aren’t these things that sport is all about too?”

“Olympic status could help legitimise breaking as a movement and a career choice, especially in India,” says Johanna Rodrigues aka B-Girl Jo, 23, from Bengaluru (seen performing above). “But it should never be taught without the values of hip-hop.”

When breakdancing debuted on the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, b-boys and b-girls competed in one-on-one ‘break battles’ on which they have been scored by a panel of judges — a far cry from its roots in a craving free of charge artistic expression.

Points have been awarded on approach and selection; and interpretative and creative high quality. The males’s medallists have been from Russia, France and Japan, whereas the ladies’s medallists got here from Japan, Canada and South Korea.

“Our fear is that in becoming a sport, it could become mechanical and suffer from a lack of feeling,” says Johanna Rodrigues aka B-Girl Jo, 23, from Bengaluru. “But a more dangerous way of losing that artistic touch is if the dance is ever taught without the values of hip-hop.”

Those values are centered on peace, common love, a need to concentrate on what unites relatively than what divides; and a should be freed from all components of the institution that run counter to this philosophy.

“The idea of competition, of being ‘the best’ is not important in breaking culture,” Rodrigues says. “It’s also just about having fun.”

What either side concede is that Olympic sport standing might make the world take breaking — and by extension hip hop tradition — extra critically.

“Breaking as a form is inspired by elements of sport, like the flips and movements in gymnastics,” says Arif Chaudhary aka Flying Machine, 23, seen performing above, in Mumbai. “It has all the ingredients of a sport: the need for fitness, flexibility, agility, footwork, hand-eye coordination and mental strength.”
Pratik Chorge / HT File Photo

It might assist legitimise the motion, particularly in India, the place dad and mom can usually be hesitant to let youngsters observe a largely uncharted path. Breaking might even find yourself within the curriculum,” Rodrigues says.

Now that’s one thing that will surely divide the group even additional.

“Breaking has enough to offer as both sport and art. Time changes things. It could be an art form, it could be entertainment in movies, it could be an element of cultural education in academies and it can be a sport at the Olympics,” says B-Boy Bojin, 38, a Taiwanese international-level competitor, performer and trainer who has served as decide at worldwide breaking competitions. “That just represents more opportunity. What there shouldn’t be are conflicts and misunderstandings between the breaking community and the national federations.”


Five new sports activities have been added to the postponed 2020 Tokyo Olympics that may now be held subsequent 12 months.

Karate: The conventional Japanese martial artwork will see women and men competing in kata (varieties) and kumite (sparring) occasions.

Skateboarding: Like breakdancing, that is one other sport with a wealthy road tradition that’s been added to up the Olympics’ youth attraction.

Sport climbing: This is a type of high-intensity scaling that sometimes lasts for shorter durations and might be carried out on climbing partitions.

Surfing: Japan’s beautiful Pacific shoreline will see the world’s prime surfers compete, divided in keeping with dimension and kind of the board used.

Baseball / Softball: This one is again as an Olympic sport after final that includes within the 2008 Beijing Games.