While sports such as climbing, skateboarding, and surfing all debuting during the Tokyo Olympics, breakdancing will become an official sport in the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.
About 150 dancers, or b-boys and b-girls, some as young as 4 years old, traveled to The Spot 2.0, a dance studio in Thornton, Colorado, outside of Denver to do what they love most.
“We’re doing a competition, it’s a 3-on-3,” said competitor Luis Rojas, 23. “I’ll be battling with my crew, Rock Force.”
Rojas, who goes by the b-boy name Bowzee, says his free-styled spins, footwork, and flexibility are more than just dance moves. They’re a form of art.
“You’re on every part of your body, you’re spinning, you have to know your balance,” said Bowzee.
A dialysis technician by day, Bowzee says traveling the country with his battle crew all started 10 years ago for fun with sheer passion for the culture. But now, he and others want to prove they have what it takes to compete at the highest level.
“This is like a tryout for the world to see,” he said.
National tryouts are underway, and crews traveled to Colorado from places like Florida, Georgia, and New Mexico to compete for the chance of a lifetime.
Richard Yang, known as Rich Flav on the dance floor, traveled to Colorado from Fresno, California.
“It’s pretty groundbreaking. If you asked me when I first started if I think I would make it to the Olympics, I probably would say no,” said Yang.
Breakdancing is a part of hip-hop culture that originated in New York City in the late ‘60s. It’s a form of dance that includes back and head spins, incorporating gymnastics, even martial arts. But several decades later, Yang says it still doesn’t get the global respect it deserves.
“Before, a lot of people always made fun of us and joked around with us, saying yeah like no-one does it anymore or its just for fun,” said Yang.
As it becomes official in the next Summer Games, Yang hopes the breakdancing culture will finally be taken more seriously across the world.
Back in December of 2020, the Olympic Committee announced they were adding it to create a more youthful, urban, and gender-balanced atmosphere.
Rickey Cordoba, the owner of The Spot 2.0, opened his breakdance studio back in the ‘90s to keep kids off the streets and on the right track to success.
“90% that come out of the dance studio, they graduate and go to college,” said Cordoba.
After winning first place at a Las Vegas competition the week before, Bowzee is confident he’ll reach his goal of landing a spot on Team USA.
“I think my chances are very high, I train every day, I train very hard,” he said.
Yang is excited for the next level of exposure and awareness this will bring to breakdancing.
“It’s not really explored as much as I would like to be, but with it being in the Olympics hopefully we like explode,” said Yang.
Cordoba says between five and ten finalists will be selected to breakdance for Team USA in 2024.
The next big national breakdance competition is the annual Red Bull qualifier set for Saturday, July 31 in Los Angeles.