Now Reading: Breaking Boundaries: Rock Steady Crew Reacts to Breakdancing’s Olympic Debut


Breaking Boundaries: Rock Steady Crew Reacts to Breakdancing’s Olympic Debut

The announcement that breakdancing, officially termed “breaking,” will debut at the 2024 Paris Olympics has sparked excitement and discussions among many, including key figures from the legendary Rock Steady Crew. Formed in the late ‘70s, the group consisted of B-Boys and B-Girls who gained popularity, appearing in the 1983 hit film Flashdance and performed for the queen of England. As pioneers of breaking and significant influencers in hip-hop culture, their perspectives add depth to the significance of this development. 


Though some critics don’t feel breakdancing should be categorized as a sport, longtime New York City culture creator and Rock Steady Crew affiliate Bobbito Garcia feels otherwise. 


“Think about it like boxing. You’re stepping into a ring. You’re about to battle another warrior,” Garcia said. “The mental fortitude required, coupled with the athleticism — hell, yeah, breaking is a sport!”


Original Rock Steady Crew member Crazy Legs also shared his thoughts on how breaking should be critiqued in an interview with CBC Radio.


“First of all, you have to have an authentic response to music. You have to have foundation, including toprock and footwork. You have to know what blow-ups are. You have to know what your freezes are. You have to know what your power moves are. And you also then have to know how to do those things fluidly, from move to move, and not lose the soul of what you do. 


“It’s totally based on feeling. And I think you get that from a certain amount of years of knowing how to do the dance, but also being deep-rooted within the culture and the music of the dance.” 


Crazy Legs emphasized the importance of judges being deeply immersed in the culture to ensure fair assessments of competitors.


“We are working on judging certifications so that those kinds of judges exist. But it’s still the Olympics platform,” he explained. “We’re going to have to allow for a certain amount of compromise. And that compromise will also mean that whatever we’re doing as the ‘By the people, for the people’ kind of events, will also remain the most authentic and legitimate,” he expressed.


Rock Steady Crew DJ Skeme Richards hopes the inclusion of breaking in the Olympics will encourage spectators to delve deeper into its history. 


“I’m liking that the culture is being pushed forward, and it’s being brought to the attention of more people,” he told Forbes. “I’m hoping the masses can actually sit back and understand the foundation and the history of the dance, versus just seeing it as like, ‘Oh, this is something cool in the Olympics.’”


Crazy Legs also maintains an optimistic outlook on the potential for unity and a greater appreciation for diversity. 


“The bigger picture is not even who can win, but what can this do for race relations? What can this do for cultural understanding and appreciation? Those are the bigger ticket items that I see,” he concluded.

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