History of Breakdancing
October 14, 2002 1:00 PM   Subscribe

History of Breakdancing Casual fans of hip hop, breakdancing was a fad whose moment passed before the end of the '80s, tossed into the decade's time capsule along with acid wash and decent John Hughes movies.
Breakdancing may have died, but the b-boy, one of four original elements of hip hop (also included: the MC, the DJ, and the graffiti artist) lives on. To those who knew it before it was tagged with the name breakdancing, to those still involved in the scene that they will always know as b-boying, the tradition is alive and, well, spinning.
posted by DailyBread (17 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
graffiti was never an element of hip hop.
hip hop borrowed graffiti from it's original free form and assimilated it.
point: graffiti is not hip hop.
posted by car_bomb at 1:08 PM on October 14, 2002

"hip hop borrowed graffiti from it's original free form and assimilated it.
point: graffiti is not hip hop."

this is bad set theory. dancing existed before hip hop, just as writing on walls did.

to say that graffiti is integral to hip hop is not to say that it was invented there, or that the act of writing on walls is a proper subset of acts associated with hip hop.

furthermore, it is fair to say that there is a type of graffiti (and dance) associated with hip hop (as a cross-platform sort of movement) in particular.

point: although one might argue about where graffiti was invented, it would be awfully hard to show that it wasn't part of the culture that emerged from the south bronx in the late 1970s. painting existed before frederic chruch, it would be hard to argue that painting wasn't part of the hudson river school.

that said, we should all go see wild style, now. i hadn't seen it before about six months ago. it's crazy.
posted by hnice at 1:17 PM on October 14, 2002

Roger that. Point taken.
posted by DailyBread at 1:19 PM on October 14, 2002

National Public Radio -- Keepin' It Real
posted by oissubke at 1:19 PM on October 14, 2002

i think many of us, especially those living in big cities, would argue that breakdancing is far from dead... i see it all the time both in the streets and in clubs. and people still marvel at the skill involved as much as ever. in fact, it has even moved its way into what many would consider folk culture - i recently attended the annual folk festival in bangor, maine. among the bluegrass, zydeco and jazz bands was a roving group of breakdance performers - easily the most popular draw at the event!
posted by adamms222 at 1:24 PM on October 14, 2002

Grafitti may have been around before Hip Hop, but it is definitely one of the four elements of Hip Hop. Check out Scratch and Wave Twisters to find out more. You can do a google search for "four elements of hip hop" if you want more sources.
posted by stifford at 1:24 PM on October 14, 2002

Also, Check out StyleWars. This is the definitive Grafitti movie. Currently my favorite B-Boy video is Breakvision. You will be surprised how far breaking has come.

B-Boy stands for Break Boy. As in you catch wreck on the break. When a song has a drum solo like in famous songs such as-Scorpio by Dennis Coffey, Think by Lynn Collins, Apache by the Incredible Bongo Band.
posted by LouieLoco at 2:06 PM on October 14, 2002

(sigh) You knew - KNEW - that someone would post a link to the movie, right? Which, incidentally, was on one of my cable-channels this weekend.

Laugh if you will, but admit it: you watched in awe when "Turbo" did his broom-dance to the groovy Kraftwerk tune. Right?
posted by davidmsc at 3:27 PM on October 14, 2002

Back in July, the festival I work for hosted the Legends of Hip Hop. On the roster were some of first hip hop dancers from back in the day. Mr. Wiggles and the Electric Boogaloo (some great clips of the day are here).Don Campbell was there and whole mess of others. What fascinated me about the whole thing was revisionist tendencies of the whole group.

Here were a bunch of guys, my age and older, who were trying to pin down and remember the things that they did when they were 16 and just messing around. I heard so many conversations that weekend that went like - "You didn't make that move! I was lockin' in back 75! Lemme see your lock, cmon. Show me your lock. Awww, man! Than's just hard Robot."

Only now, 25 years later, do these guys realize that what they came up with is deeply engrained into the culture and they've received no credit.

Then, there was this whole East Coast, West Coast thing, with guys like Skeeter Rabbit (great name!) who actually was one of the first Crips (and explained to me how Brittney Spears now regularly does a thing called the Crip Walk that they invented as a gang symbol) and did hard time, going nose to nose with some Oakland boys who wanted their "props". Everybody wanted their props. This is a game for old men. Kids just wanna have fun and old men want props.

That's it, G.
posted by pejamo at 3:38 PM on October 14, 2002

there are quite a few people who would tell you that "b-boy" means "bronx boy."
posted by rxrfrx at 3:55 PM on October 14, 2002

from the first link: The dance-off, which pitted the gang leaders against each other, mirrored the upcoming confrontation and was used to determine whose turf would play host to the rumble.

Whoooaah! It's all gone a bit West Side Story...
posted by inpHilltr8r at 4:06 PM on October 14, 2002

On Friday nights in New York City when the weather is good, a crowd gathers at Union Square around 7 p.m. to watch a very New York bunch (black, white, Latino, Asian) pop, break, jive and just plain dance. Lasts for a couple of hours. Lots of fun, very impromptu, and they don't hit you up for money unless the batteries of the boom box run out. I swear, some of these kids are Julliard students. There's some real talent. I've seen one of the kids do this machine gun rat-tat-tat as he tap dances on the subway platforms, accompanied by a bucket drummer and a man playing jazz on some kind of mouth reed. Also, every once in a while an old-timer will show up: these guys have the showmanship *and* the moves. Too cool.
posted by Mo Nickels at 4:37 PM on October 14, 2002

there are quite a few people who would tell you that "b-boy" means "bronx boy."

Yo, word, I'm down wit dat. That's how I know it, but then, I'm from da Bronx.
posted by Ayn Marx at 11:19 PM on October 14, 2002

Breakdancing is far from dead here in Japan. There are several breakdancing clans in this town alone, and they get together and practice in different stations pretty much every night of the week. They seem capable of pulling off some pretty sophisticated moves, but like with so much of Japanese popular culture, it is difficult to credit them with any originality or creativity, or any understanding of the substance behind the style which they have appropriated.
posted by donkeymon at 12:00 AM on October 15, 2002

People from the Bronx will tell you that any "B" word stands for the "Bronx".

Bee- not a black and yellow insect, it actually is short for Bronx.

B-movie- Bronx movie.

Bea Arthur- Bronx Arthur

beatitudes- BronxAttitudes
posted by LouieLoco at 5:31 AM on October 15, 2002

MC, DJ, and the beatbox.
posted by ednopantz at 2:34 PM on October 15, 2002

« Older   |   Microsoft counters Mac's 'Switch' campaign Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments