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Home   /   DANIELLA CHALLIS: Is dance really a sport? (Well yes…breaking is in Paris 2024)

On December 7th, the International Olympic Committee announced that ‘breaking’, or better known as break dancing, will officially become a sport in The Olympic Games Paris 2024, along with three other new sports: skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing.   

But how many people agree with the new ‘sport’ added to the program?

People took to Twitter immediately after the announcement and were not hesitant to post their views on dance being in the Olympic program. 

The IOC also announced that there will be an exact 50% male and female participation rate, with a focus on increasing youth participation levels. 

Breaking, that got its name from the rhythms and sounds produced when DJ’s mixed records to create a continuous beat, will be scored at the Olympics by a panel of judges who, from my experience as a dancer, will probably mark the athlete’s technical ability, musicality and choreography. 

According to morethandancers.com there will be 32 athletes (16 men and 16 women) competing in one-to-one break challenges, along with a mixed team, making it a very gender-inclusive sport. 

Within moments of the IOC’s announcement on Twitter that “Breaking will make its Olympic Games debut, building on the success of the sport at the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018.” users were quick to share their opinions, or should I say more like sharing their disagreement with the decision. 

“Not a sport dude.”, “Is this a joke designed to make everyone cheer up after this horrible year!? You couldn’t make it up. *laughing emoji* When you consider all the great athletes who’ve achieved so much over the years, this really is a kick in the teeth to their perseverance.”, “Can’t wait to not watch this.” And “always good to have an event you know you can get tickets to.”

As you’ve just read, the majority of these replies to the IOC were negative and in fact, just highlighted peoples lack of knowledge around the sport. 

If these negative and uneducated Twitter users knew their stuff, they’d actually know just how popular the sport is. With over 30,000 spectators at the Youth Olympics in 2018, it’s clear the sport will draw a huge crowd in Paris.

Britannica.com explained how break dancing originated in New York in the late 1960s and early 1970s incorporating moves from a variety of sports such as martial arts and gymnastics. 

If you know to break, like every other sport in the Olympic Games, it requires a great amount of practice, technique, physical strength, and commitment. So why should it not be classed as a sport?

Breaking requires far less equipment than any other sport, making it super accessible for all. It is also youthful, fun and genders inclusive.

George Sampson, an English street dance known for winning Britain’s Got Talent in 2008, expressed his thoughts on Twitter in January 2020 when a proposal was made by the IOC that breaking may be part of the Paris 2024 Olympics. 

“It’s funny watching people comment about breakdancing that doesn’t have a single shred of a clue on the sport at all. I’m all for breakdance being proposed. A whole new community and entertaining sport for the Olympics. We also have some great B-Boys in the UK too.”

Another Twitter user questioned the IOC on why other styles of dance weren’t included in the programme:

“But still no ballroom dancing?”

The IOC included breaking in the hope the games would become more ‘urban’, afterthoughts of it currently being boring and dull.  

As a dancer from the age of two, I have trained in most styles of dance from Ballet to Street and Commercial to Irish, and therefore I do completely understand the frustration some may hold towards the fact that other styles of dance were not included in the programme as they clearly were not ‘urban’ enough.

However, we should feel ecstatic that ‘breaking’ or as I like to refer to it, break dancing is scheduled for the 2024 games and that this progress is a huge step in the right direction for dance as a whole. 

For years dance has not had the recognition it deserves, and I truly believe that the Olympics will help it gain status. And who knows, if breaking proves a success, other styles like ballroom and ballet may be on the cards for future Olympic games.

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