The ‘break dance’ revolutionizes the Olympic Games

“After the break What’s gonna be next? The perreo Olympic?”. Juan de la Torre, XAK in the world of breaking (O break dance), you’ve heard football commentators ask this question. “I have felt prejudice and ignorance: to think that we are little boys in tracksuits dancing on cardboard,” he continues. XAK is 34 years old and a lawyer. “I am registered as not practicing,” he clarifies. He worked until 2017, when he decided to leave the office where he worked in Córdoba to move to Madrid and dedicate himself exclusively to the break dance, the discipline that will debut at the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. It was proposed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) after testing it at the 2018 Buenos Aires Youth Games. It swept audiences. Luis Vañó, president of the Spanish Federation of Sports Dances to which the break dance, He explains that the line of work of the IOC is to try to get closer and closer to young people: “They were looking for other specialties outside of the traditional classics of jumping, running and dancing. The first incursion was that of Buenos Aires: when they checked everything that moved in the street and in hearings, they were quite astonished. That was the first step ”.

Juan de la Torre is XAK. Almost all b-boys and b-girls (boys and girls who dance ‘breaking’) have a nickname: an ‘aka’ (‘also known as’: also known as) with whom others look for them on social media.Chencho Martinez

Spain has 400 licenses. We must work with them to try to classify two nationals in the 2024 Games. None of them attended the 2018 Youth Games. “It was impossible due to resources and because we did not have a formalized structure, there was not even someone to fight for it. There was no time, ”says Vañó. As it happened with him skateboard, which will debut in Tokyo this summer, the most difficult task in such a street type of discipline is to get athletes to federate. It is an indispensable condition for them to compete and thus enter the ranking world and olympic. For some, the breaking it is a way of life and as such it does not have to be governed by norms or federative structures. The federation is working to form a national team (12 boys and between 6 and 8 girls) for Paris 2024. The idea is also to have a technification team with younger talents for the following Games (Los Angeles 2028). At the moment, and due to the restrictions due to the pandemic, they have only been able to concentrate once.

The break dance It is a dance that was born as a social movement in New York at the end of the sixties, in a complicated economic and social context and completely different from now. There are four required items in each routine (top rock, footwork, power moves y freeze) and the outings – that’s what they are called – do not usually last more than a minute because, according to XAK, there is no one who can endure that rhythm and physical effort for more than 60 seconds. Stunts capture you in such a way that when you see it the first time you don’t blink. The b-boys and b-girls (that’s how those who dance are known breaking) they don’t know what music is going to play when they jump on the floor; they have to improvise on the go.

‘TOP ROCK’

It is the letter of introduction of each b-boy and b-girl. Its origin comes from Latin dances and African dances. Aesthetics, musicality, personality and improvisation are the keys to this type of movement.

‘FOOT WORK’

This is the part of the floor work. It is usually based on circular movements and kicks. Same as him top rock, teaches musicality and improvisation capacity, since the dancers do not know in advance what music is going to sound.

‘FREEZE’

It is characterized by frozen postures; as if the body were to suddenly stop the moment the music required it.

‘POWER MOVES’

This element requires a lot of energy and dynamics. Most of his steps come from gymnastics and are based on inertia and supports.

Why are there so many prejudices with which the break dance be olympic? “Their inclusion produced a tidal wave … for the uninitiated, the breaking they are people who wear tracksuits and throw themselves on the ground ”, answers Vañó. And XAK complains: “They have tried to smoke, they consider us the kids in the tracksuit … if they only knew all the work behind it ”. Laura García assures that what has remained in the memory of the people is that the break dance is throwing oneself on the ground, “what was done in discos in the eighties to flirt … We are not four geeks hanging around on the floor!”. Garcia, LAW in the world, she is a 26-year-old from Granada and the greatest Spanish figure in women’s competition. As a woman, you have suffered twice as much discrimination. “As the competitions until very recently were mixed, many considered that when he passed the round he did it only because there had to be women,” he explains.

She and XAK agree that most people do not know what the breaking and the effort behind it. “When I saw him for the first time, I thought that those stunts couldn’t be done by the human body. I started precisely because I took it as a challenge, ”says LAW. And XAK recalls: “At first I would see the good guys and it seemed they were doing something so highly superhuman that it seemed innate, as if they had a super power. And for nothing. There are years and years of work behind it ”.

His training routines consist of five and a half hours a day, six days a week. Since they cannot live on this, they must also earn a living

XAK, who started dancing at recess at La Purísima de Lucena school (Córdoba) and ended up asking the teachers to let them use the facilities in the afternoons as if it were an extracurricular activity, was the only one of his classmates who did not I leave. To explain why he resorts to a metaphor his mother always uses: “The breaking it is to dance like boxing to sport. It is very hard, very demanding on a physical level, very sacrificed; Besides, it is very easy to injure yourself. You have to be really passionate to continue. People who want to play sports go running, they don’t sign up for boxing or maybe it’s the last thing they sign up for. Well, in this dance, the same ”, he says.

And he adds: “For us, someone who has been dancing for less than 10 years is still a beginner. When you pass 10 years is when you really can masterizar your style. Because spinning your head is not so easy. It’s not: ‘Come on tomorrow I’ll do it.’ First you have to strengthen the neck, then the legs. To understand how the axis of the body works, so that you do not go off the axis during rotations, to turn on the hand, you first have to have a control, strengthen the shoulder. The same goes for kicking the legs. There are so many elements at the same time that people who are not familiar do not understand that this is being done by the body and that it needs many years of work ”.

Laura García is LAW, a 26-year-old from Granada.  He discovered the 'break dance' in the program 'Fame, to dance!'. "Before, you didn't see people dancing 'breaking' regularly.  Many people of my generation came out as a result of that program".
Laura García is LAW, a 26-year-old from Granada. He discovered the ‘break dance’ in the program ‘Fame, to dance!’. “Before, you didn’t see people dancing ‘breaking’ regularly. A lot of people from my generation came out as a result of that show.”Fermín Rodríguez

XAK started on its own, like most b-boys and b-girls. “He was the typical kid who wasn’t good at any sport. With the breaking I felt different, special, because I could move faster ”, he says. LAW, who is from the next generation after yours, discovered the breaking on TV, on the show Fame, let’s dance! He trains in a place in Granada that his father has renovated. “If my father didn’t have that place, I would train in the street right now. We do not yet have facilities to prepare the Games ”, he regrets. XAK trains in a gym in Madrid because the owner is a friend and leaves him a room. If not, he would also have to do it outdoors like the others, or on the subway, or wherever he plays. Because, at the moment, the project and the structure for Paris 2024 is in its infancy. Clubs are now beginning to be built, but not even in all communities (there are in Andalusia, Galicia, Valencian Community and Madrid; but the one in the capital, according to XAK, does not even have a physical headquarters). The competitions, which until recently were private, are being structured in national and regulated circuits. It has gone from two tests in 2020 to – if the pandemic allows it – six in 2021. The first is, in fact, the Spanish Championship that takes place this weekend.

“We have friends from France and Belgium who are already receiving grants, scholarships and training in high-performance centers in their countries,” say XAK and LAW. The latter claims: “We have been looking for beans because being a dance in which no one has supported us, we have always looked for life. But now we need help to prepare for the Games. We are an Olympic sport and it seems that they have only given the name of Olympic; it is not reflected in anything else ”.

“They have tried to smokeThey consider us the kids in the tracksuit … if they only knew all the work behind it “

His training routines consist of five and a half hours a day, six days a week. As they cannot live on this, they must find a way to earn a living and organize themselves as well as they can to reconcile Olympic life with work. Laura is a monitor of fitness and chiropractor. XAK monitors dancers and sometimes they sign him for some show and has some extra money. “I have looked for a job that was not so physically demanding because it is impossible to combine the two things. Petas: you explode ”, he says.

When they started, it was not that they did not dream of going to the Games, but that the dream was to compete in organized events. “That was already the milk for us,” they say. And suddenly they have become Olympians. “It catches us out of the loop because as we had never imagined, we still don’t imagine ourselves there [en los Juegos]”, They say while admitting that they have not yet quantified the magnitude of the tsunami. “We are not yet aware of how far this can go, what impact it is going to have on our life, family, and so on. We are waiting ”.

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The ‘break dance’ revolutionizes the Olympic Games

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