Breakdance History

The History of Breakdancing

Female breakdancer in Skate Park
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The history of breakdance takes us back to the 1970's. Breakdance is a dynamic dance style that is a major component of the hip-hop culture. Breakdancing developed in the South Bronx of New York City during the late 20th century, coinciding with the disco era.

Early Breakdancing

Breakdancing was born in response to James Brown's dance moves on television to his song "Get on the Good Foot." People tried to mimick Brown's moves alone in their living rooms and together at parties.
Clive Campbell, known as DJ Kool Herc, is credited with helping the breakdancing movement evolve. Original breakdancing moves consisted mainly of fancy footwork and body freezes, with less intricate tricks such as head spinning. Dancers started adding smoother steps and body movements, forming a true dance style. Breakdancing soon gained popularity in disco and dance clubs.

Breakdancing Today

As breakdancing further evolved, dancers began placing more emphasis on groundwork with stylized leg movements, commonly known as "downrock." Soon, breakdancers were adding spectacular moves such as handgliding, backspinning, windmilling, and headspinning: ground moves that comprise breakdancing as we know it today.

Breakdance gained worldwide popularity during the 1980's and 1990's. Breakdancers began to be incorporated into movies and theater productions. Today, breakdancing and hip-hop classes are taught in dance studios around the country.