Breakdancing is a form of dancing that that doesn’t seem to fit any category. The first question that comes to your mind when seeing kids doing this dance is where did they learn to move like this? For many of us, this art is unknown and seems to come out of nowhere. You look at people doing breakdancing and you imagine robots in a futuristic movie scenario. However, this dance is quite old and has nothing to do with science fiction.
In fact, breakdance did come from something. To be more precise, someone introduced this trend without knowing the huge impact it will make. Back in 1969, a superstar named James Brown was singing one of his greatest hits, the ‘Get on the Good Foot’. You’ve probably seen old videos and footage of that getting down move Brown was doing on the stage. It became an instant sensation and everyone was trying to copy James Brown dance moves.
The style was called ‘the Hustle’ and every living kid was getting a master degree in that dancing routine. There were some acrobatic elements involved and plenty of energy. Especially in the New York area, it was extremely popular.
Soon after the Good Foot dance became an official trend, dance battles started to appear. Because it’s not like teens had computer and smartphones back in the day to keep them occupied, they learned how to dance. When they felt they possessed some skill, they went on and gather in places around the Harlem and started doing battles.
Breakdance is a dance that suits battles really well. You can call them challenges or contests but the most important aspect is that athletic men that knew the Good Foot, would join the battlefield and show off their talent.
After a while, the Good Foot received a shorter name, the B-Boy. From there on, people just seemed to acknowledge Breakdancing or Breaking as a more appropriate way to describe this street dance. However, it was quite different from the Breakdance we all know today. Because it was only the beginning, the dance was simple and lacked certain movies that are famous today such as the windmill, the hand glides, the backspins, and the head spins.
That was the Old-style Breakdown that consisted more of floor work. The modern version of Breakdown has many moves that require coordination, moving from one leg to another, and so on. Nevertheless, kids back then had to do all sorts of complicated leg moves, done in an insanely short period of time.
That was the era when the gangs in the South Bronx were born. And this is when Breakdancing had the opportunity to develop, during the street battles.