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Breakdancing pioneer says Olympic introduction ‘comes at the right time’

·2-min read

A breakdancing pioneer has said that the introduction of the activity to the Olympics “comes at the right time”.

The form of athletic street dance, which originated in the US, was confirmed as part of the schedule for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games in December 2020.

And while the news prompted criticism in some quarters, others have hailed the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) willingness to embrace less traditional pastimes.

Bboy, Sheku from Plymouth performs in the Red Bull BC One final at Electric Brixton, London. Picture date: Sunday August 8, 2021
(David Parry/PA)

One of those is Thomas Hergenroether, one of the dancers behind breakthrough breakdancing event Battle of the Year. He said it is the nature of the Olympic Games that the audience’s demands change.

“The IOC, they look for new or fresh stuff,” he told the PA news agency.

“Sooner or later their audience will change too, so sooner or later nobody wants to see (for example) wrestling or shooting.

“But I see a big change in that the IOC and the Olympics integrate these… urban sports, like skateboarding, bouldering and breaking.

“It just fits to the time. It comes at the right time.”

Breakdancing – or breaking – “incorporates coordination, acrobatic and intricate body movements, style, and aesthetics” according to Red Bull.

The energy drink company is celebrating 20 years of involvement in breakdancing with the Red Bull BC One World Final in Gdansk, Poland on November 6.

The competition, which began in 2004, is considered by Hergenroether to be “the most important competition to win, and also the most difficult” for one-on-one dancers, while he also credits Red Bull with the activity’s professional revamp.

“When Red Bull started with the Red Bull BC One all-star team – 10, 12, 13 years ago – it was the first approach anybody did to professionalise breaking,” he said.

“Through this, the mindset of many of the young dancers changed into thinking about nutrition, how I train, how I practice, which normally was not the case for the majority of breakers.”

Bboy, AJ the Cypher Cat from Wolverhampton performs in the Red Bull BC One final at Electric Brixton, London. Picture date: Sunday August 8, 2021
(David Parry/PA)

Hergenroether, who took up breakdancing in his teens after starting out in gymnastics, said ahead of the Red Bull BC One event that “the level of the b-girls is getting higher and higher” and added that Russia is one of the leading countries in the sport at present.

Meanwhile, he addressed the fears of those who believe breakdancing is heading in the wrong direction.

“The older people, they were afraid that the sport… is taking something away from the culture, or somebody stealing something,” he said.

“But I believe it’s not the case because we have such a wide variety of different events nowadays.”

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