Breakdancing is moving from the streets to the Olympics.
The spinning, twisting style of street dance is one of three new sports added to the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, the International Olympic Committee said this week.
Karate and sport climbing are the other two.
The IOC periodically adds new sports. The organization said it is also trying to attract more interest from youth and sees breakdancing as a perfect vehicle, “a unique sport that embodies music and expression through movement to music.”
This is how it will work: Twelve male and 12 female dancers, ages 16-18, will compete over two days. Competition will be broken down into three events — men’s, women’s and mixed-team — with dancers facing off in a battle format that will be judged and scored.
The move attracted attention on social media.
Chaz Bonnar, a videographer and dancer from Scotland, tweeted: “Big uproar at the moment about having #Breaking as part of the Youth Olympic Games! #hiphop #olympics #dance”
The IOC’s decision is a clear sign that breakdancing — and hip-hop culture at large — continues to go global.
Breakdancing originated in the 1970s among Latino and African-American inner-city youth in New York City. It grew as rap and hip-hop music became more popular. In fact, breakdancing is considered one of the four pillars of hip-hop culture, along with rap, DJing and graffiti.
Breakdancing has since spread around the world and is now now a famous pastime in the UK, Middle East, Korea, South Africa and beyond.
Karate and sport climbing were added to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games program at the IOC meeting four months ago in Rio de Janeiro, Team USA reported. Breakdancing is new to Olympic competition.
Gender equality is a key feature of the additions.
“Dance sport will be competed as men’s, women’s and mixed team breakdancing in a battle format,” Team USA said. “Kumite, a combat form of karate, will feature three events per gender, while the three climbing disciplines — lead, bouldering and speed — will be staged in a combined event for both men and women.”
Look for all this to happen October 1-18 at the Youth Olympic Games.