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 (or 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 in 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 on the street and in audiences, they were quite astonished. That was the first step ”.

Spain has 400 licenses. With those you have to work to try to classify two Spaniards in the 2024 Games. None of them attended the 2018 Youth Games. “It was impossible due to resources and structure that we could have formalized, there was not even someone to fight for it. There was no time, ”says Vañó. As it happened with the 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 and its 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 and 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. None of the b-boys Y b-girls (that’s how those who dance are known breaking) knows what music is going to play when they jump on the floor; they have to improvise as they go.

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

It 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.

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

It is an element that 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? “Its inclusion produced a tidal wave … for the uninitiated the breaking they are people who wear tracksuits and throw themselves on the ground ”, answers Vañó. “They have treated us smoke, they consider us the kids in the tracksuit … if they knew all the work behind it ”, XAK points out. 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 who are spinning on the floor!”. Garcia, LAW In the world, she is 26 years old from Granada and the highest Spanish figure in women’s competition. As a woman she has suffered twice the 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 don’t know what 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. “When I started, I saw the good guys and it seemed that 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 ”, analyzes XAK.

He, who started dancing during 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 that his mother always uses. “The breaking to dance would be like boxing to sports. It is very hard, very demanding on a physical level, very self-sacrificing; Besides, it is very easy to injure yourself. You have to be really passionate about it to continue. People who want to play sports go running, they don’t sign up for boxing or 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 are 10 years old is when you can really mastering 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 what the body is doing and that it takes many years to work on it ”.

XAK started on its own, like most b-boys Y b-girls. “He was the typical child who was not 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 did not have that place, I would be training in the street right now. We do not yet have facilities to prepare for the Games ”, he laments. 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. There are clubs that are being established now, but not even in all the 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 will be held this Saturday and Sunday.

“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. “We have been looking for the 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 named the Olympic sport; it is not reflected in anything else, ”claims Law.

Their training routines are five and a half hours a day, six days a week and since they cannot make a living from this, they earn their living as they can and organize themselves as well as they can to reconcile the Olympic life with the work. Laura is a monitor of fitness and chiropractor. XAK monitors dancers and sometimes they sign him for some Show and it has something extra. “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. 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 where this can go, what impact it is going to have on our life, family, and so on. We are waiting ”.

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