COLORADO SPRINGS — Breakdancing is certainly entertaining but what many don’t realize is how artistic the sport really is. Traditionally, Breakin is more of an underground sport but because of the athleticism and increase in popularity, that is changing.
In fact, the 2024 Olympics in Paris is being used as a trial run for making breaking’ a permanent Olympic sport. The non-profit, USA Breakin is working to pave the way for elite athletes who practice the sport.
For Ian Flaw,s a USA Breakin’ board member and BBoy Factory dance studio owner, having a presence in the Olympics hits home, because he once had a dancer denied this opportunity.
“It was in the youth Olympics in 2018 in Buenos Aires. The U.S. Delegation of Athletes did not include breakers to go to Buenos Aires. It was really personal to me, because one of our students was qualified to compete in Buenos Aires. He was the only male Bboy in the U.S. to qualify but he didn’t get to go,” said Flaws.
And this Saturday’s “Battle of the Rockies,” is a regional qualifier for USA Breakin’s National Championship. While excitement is building, the Paris Olympics are still three years away and USA Breakin hasn’t officially been recognized by the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee. But USA Breakin’s application is in review now. They are the only organization from within the Breakin community attempting to build an organization that meets the standards of the USOPC. And many break-dancers are excited about competing Saturday.
“I find it really exciting. A breakdance isn’t a super well-known thing and it would be super cool to see on a mainstream platform, somewhere where people could understand it and get to see it the way that a lot of breakdancers do,” said Callen Patel, BBoy Factory breakdancer.
“We’re going to have really great competitors; we have guys and girls coming from all over the country. Some really elite dancers and it's going to be really exciting,” said Flaws.
One of the biggest challenges of making breakdancing an Olympic sport is determining how to judge the sport. This Saturday will use a number of categories to rate the dancers.
Five elements of the dance, toprock, footwork, powermove, freeze, transitions and a sixth category which is other. The other category being judged is something that stands out to the judges.
Ian says he is so proud of his kids and excited for them to compete tomorrow.
Ivan Manriquez, artistic director at the Colorado Springs On the Break Dance Academy, has played an important role as well with supporting and paving the way for the breakdancing community. He’s known internationally to the breakdancing community, and he offers classes for those interested in the sport right here in the Springs.
“It seems like the most outcasted, underground dance, but it’s yet the most entertaining and challenging dance form and we are glad to have it as a platform in the Olympics to make it a training lifestyle,” said Manriquez.
“And to give an opportunity to the community in Colorado Springs and throughout the state and compete at a high level is rewarding.”