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Breaking is an urban dance style that originated in the Bronx borough of New York in the 1970s.

It is a form of street dance, and the earliest proponents were African-American and Puerto Rican youths who formed crews who would compete in dance battles on the streets.

B-boys and b-girls

The dance style gained popularity and moved into the mainstream, even featuring at the Closing Ceremony of the Olympic Games Los Angeles 1984 where Jerry Maguire Oscar-winning actor Cuba Gooding Jr was one of the official breakers dancing as Lionel Richie sang “All Night Long”.

The athletes are referred to as b-boys, b-girls or breakers, the “b” standing for break, as they put down dance moves during instrumental breaks in a song.

Thirty-two b-boys and b-girls will do battle in separate competitions, with the numbers evenly split into 16 men and 16 women.

Two breakers go head to head where one will perform first and then their opponent will respond. The battles are scored by judges on creativity, personality, technique, variety, performativity and musicality.

The event takes place over two days, with the round-robin competition on the first day followed by the knock-out on day two.

Breaking’s Olympic debut

The sport made its Olympic debut at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Bumblebee, aka Sergei Chernyshev of Russia, won the boys’ title, while Japan’s Ramy “Ram” Kawai won the girls’; and there was also a mixed event, although Paris will feature only the individual event.


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