The History and Origins of B-Boying

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On the streets of New York, in the late 1960s, under the HIP-HOP CULTURE, a baby was born and was named GOOD FOOT, it evolved with the time passage and was now known as BREAKING, this baby was used to battle on the streets and keep the gun fights away, the good baby that it was everyone around wanted to adopt it, the people who adopted this came to BREAKERS, the males were BREAKER-BOYS or B-BOYS, and the females were BREAKER-GIRLS or B-GIRLS, and because of this Breaking also came to known as B-BOYING.

Now this baby was a very mischievous one, didn’t let the guardians rest at all, on to the break part of music or the BREAK-BEATS made them do UP-ROCK (the on two legs dancing and shuffles that B-boys do when they enter a circle when dancing), DOWN-ROCK (the footwork, or dance steps performed on the floor), POWERMOVES (acrobatic moves of spherical motions involving spinning on the dancing floor area or in the air), FREEZE (poses done in-between the dance routines that add punctuation to certain beats and sometimes end a sequence).

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The other elements that the guardians of the hip-hop culture could cater were GRAFFITI (the art work on the walls),DJing and RAPPING… phewwww! Demanding right? This is the reason Breaking is not just a dance form, but a way of life that these b-boys or b-girls adopt. BREAKING WAS THE CORE OF THE HIP-HOP STYLE OF DANCING, one can say BREAKING IS HIP-HOP. So, who else are in the hip-hop family? Dance forms like KRUMPING, POPPING and LOCKING, these were like COUSINS to b-boying.

All in the hip-hop family say SOCIO-HIP-HOP, but the original dance of hip-hop would always be b-boying. Flying to various nations, it took it sometime until it reached INDIA. It was not that Indians were not aware about this dance form. Also it isn’t that street dancing is an unusual or an immaculate idea for Indians, on annual festivals like Ganesh-Utsav and Holi, hundreds of enthusiasts break into a hoedown on the streets. Yet, street dance as a movement like that in the west hasn’t quite penetrated in the Indian Culture.

But yes, if you visit the metros in the India- Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi, Bangalore, try crossing the action-packed streets in the rush hours, it would look a lot like b-boying in itself ! A lot of Indian movies have songs choreographed which have break dancing, but always with a blend of bollywood dancing with it. The southern actor Prabhu Deva had promoted this style of dancing in almost all his movies. It is in recent times that choreographers that run their own academies have also introduced b-boying along with the contemporary bollywood style.

Actors like Hrithik Roshan and Shahid Kapoor are choreographers delight when blending break-dancing with the bollywood style. But what is to be brought to notice is that be it a choreography done for Prabhu Deva. Hrithik Roshan or Shahid Kapoor, not only the break-dancing done by them has been blended but also all of them have used almost only UP-ROCK and not the other elements. It is seen that the liking for b-boying has been increasing in India but at a very slow pace, bit by bit and element by element.

Also until the recent times there was no dance academy or class that was completely devoted to the core hip-hop or b-boying. Groups, who adapted the b-boying style of dancing, used to perform and sure did they get praises! These groups then devoted themselves completely to b-boying and mastering all its elements and then got into teaching the style. UD COMBAT was the first in MUMBAI, who started a dance class in 2008, dedicated solely to b-boying. The trainers there sure tell the students before joining ‘NO RISK, NO PAIN- NO GAIN’. Slowly, this dance form is trickling down in the other parts of the country as well.

In 2009 the cousins of b-boying, popping and locking gained a fair deal of spotlight through the Indian Television show DANCE INDIA DANCE season 1. The candidate that pushed the button of the spotlight was PRINCE GUPTA from the team REMO KE RANGEELAY. The trend continued, in season2 came yet another candidate SAAJAN SIGNH who dominantly followed b-boying. And finally India had its first b-boying movie FAST FORWARD, released in 2009, a story of people sharing a common passion – DANCE. An entrancing drama, simple people and their struggle against time and odds to pursue the b-boying lifestyle.

For a beguiling watch of b-boying one can count on some of the Hollywood movies like Planet B-boy, You got Served! , Kickin It Old Skool, Red Bull BC One, Wild Style, Step Up 1 and 2, Breakin 1 and 2, Beat Street, The Freshest Kids: A History of the B-Boy and more. If you are looking for some light an easy dancing then this may not be for you, B-boying is clearly not for the faint hearted, But, if its adventure you are looking at then this is the way to go. So let’s go, Break a Leg… And if you have two-left feet, try using your hands instead!

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The History and Origins of B-Boying. (2018, May 07). Retrieved from

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