Break Dancers Ready To Bring The Culture Of The Sport To The Paris Olympics This Year

Break dancing is making its Olympic debut this summer in Paris. Break dancers everywhere are excited to bring the community and culture of the sport to the biggest sports stage in the world.

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Break dancers will be taking their talent to the world’s biggest sports stage and competition, the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris. This will be break dancing’s debut at the Summer Games, and US Olympians in particular are eager and excited to get to Paris to showcase the community and culture within the sport of break dancing. 

“It’s all about peace, love, unity and having fun. Also it’s like one of the four elements of hip-hop, so we’re trying to bring that essence into the Olympics.” said Victor Montalvo (B-Boy Victor), to NBC News

Montalvo is one of the four break dancers that make up the US Olympic team. The team is made up of two men and two women, but so far only Montalvo and Sunny Choi (B-Girl Sunny) have officially qualified. The final spots will be filled after the Olympic Qualifier Series. 

The DJs and MCs have yet to be announced for the Paris Games, and reports state they likely won’t be until July. Those two individuals play a pivotal role in the dancers’ performances. Whitney Carter, the director of internally managed sports at the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee’s, discussed how important the crowd is also for the sport.

“Breaking is something that everyone can get involved in, in sport. The dancers feed off of you in the crowd. People can be a part of it. It’s good to hoot and holler and do all that stuff.”

“[The Olympics is] about bringing all of our communities, all of our backgrounds, all of this history with us to the stage,” Choi stated

“[It’s about] celebrating individuality. [I want to] to go out there and show the world who I am. There’s something about breaking that you just connect. You see someone, you’re like, ‘Oh, like, I feel this person.’ I can tell who you are just by watching,” she added. 

Choi herself grew up with a gymnastics background, and got into break dancing in college. In January 2023, she decided to quit her corporate job to seriously try to enter into breakdancing at a level that would bring her to the Olympics, which is exactly what she did. 

“I was like, ‘Well, when does someone get the second chance to go fulfill their childhood dreams?’” she said.

The inclusion and recognition of break dancing as a sport on the world’s biggest stage is an amazing moment for the culture and community who have been pioneering the history of breaking. The sport has roots in hip-hop culture, specifically at block parties in The Bronx in New York City. It was made more mainstream in the 1980s. 

Richard “Crazy Legs” Colón is the president of the Rock Steady Crew, one of the original breaking dance crews. He initially got his start in the Bronx in 1977, and is credited for the creation of “power moves” in the sport. 

“The whole concept of what they call power moves started with me,” he said.

Colón discussed how break dancing entering the Olympics is a “great thing” that he hopes is successful. 

“There are a lot of young people who are on that path, and if this gives them some inspiration to do something amazing with themselves and gain the possibility of having greater opportunities, more power to you. [I hope we see] bigger opportunities, those bigger endorsements  the community needs, and that it eventually supports the culture in a long-term way,” he stated

Colón said he hopes after the Games, there are continuous opportunities for those in the breaking community. 

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“How do we level them up after, and how do we level up the people who are on the journey and maybe didn’t make it to the Games? How do we continue to create situations that maintain their relevance and income?”

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Colón doesn’t just want to ensure the history and rich culture of breakdancing is maintained, he wants to make sure its presence in mainstream culture is sustainable for future generations who will enter, and continue to improve, the community. 

Carter stated when it comes to sustainability, “it’s about how you leverage the platform. A new audience for breaking will arise from its exposure at the Games, so new fans can watch breakers on platforms that already exist.”

“I think it’s all about what you do with the platform and how you move it forward. It’s also up to people to focus on those athletes’ storylines and cross-promote coming out of this, like, ‘Hey, they’ve been doing this since even before the Olympics started. Here’s how to continue to follow and watch it,’” she said.

“I think there’s a lot of lessons that breaking can learn from the Olympic space, and I think there’s a lot of spaces the Olympic platform can learn from from breaking,” Carter said.

Choi stated that this moment is a “beautiful opportunity to share with the world this community, this culture, because I feel like a lot of people know about [breaking] but don’t really understand and haven’t really seen it. And so to be able to take it to such a big stage and elevate that message is great.”

“It’s a whole party, and I feel like that’s what breaking is gonna bring to the Olympics,” Louis said.