Break-Dancing & B-Boy History

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Break-dancing History… Break-dancing is a street dance style that evolved as part of the hip hop movement that originated among youths in the South Bronx of New York City during the early 1970s.

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The terms “b-boy” (break-boy), “b-girl” (break-girl), and “breaker” are the original terms used to describe the dancers who performed to DJ Kool Herc‘s breakbeats. DJ Kool Herc is a Jamaican-American DJ who is responsible for developing the foundation aspects of hip-hop music. The obvious connection of the term “breaking” is to the word “breakbeat“. DJ Kool Herc has commented that the term “breaking” was 1970s slang for “getting excited”, “acting energetically” or “causing a disturbance”. Most breaking pioneers and practitioners prefer the terms “b-boy”, “b-girl”, and/or “breaker” when referring to these dancers. For those immersed in hip-hop culture, the term “break-dancer” may be used to disparage those who learn the dance for personal gain rather than for commitment to the culture.  B-boy London of the New York City Breakers and filmmaker Michael Holman refer to these dancers as “breakers”.  Frosty Freeze of the Rock Steady Crew says, “we were known as b-boys”, and hip-hop pioneer Afrika Bambaataa says, “b-boys, [are] what you call break boys… or b-girls, what you call break girls.” In addition, co-founder of Rock Steady Crew Santiago “Jo Jo” Torres, Rock Steady Crew member Marc “Mr. Freeze” Lemberger, hip-hop historian Fab 5 Freddy, and rappers Big Daddy Kane and Tech N9ne  use the term “b-boy”.