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Breakdancing as a Passport
Some say breaking (breakdancing) is a pastime. I say it's a passport. Breakdancing originated from the youth on the streets of the ghetto (the Bronx to be exact). It provided a safe passage for kids and young adults to find a way to survive when life all around them consisted of violence, hatred, drugs, and even killing. Anyone raised in New York City, particularly poor areas in the Bronx can attest to the struggles of growing up in such a harsh neighborhood where trust was neither given nor earned. Perhaps the most influential form of athleticism in New York, this innovative, dynamic art form quickly became a means to an end for many troubled kids.
Breaking as an alternative gave many kids who suffered in abusive families hope. It gave others born to drug addicted parents a healthy way of life. It stopped the bullies from picking on the weak, for the weak gained strength from their training. Breaking gave a voice to those who were never heard. It allowed the silent to communicate to a vast people who spoke the same language. And it taught a culture that has become intrinsic to our present history. Breaking was an invaluable outlet for thousands of people who would have inevitably grown up very different in the lack of such a forceful influence. As a way out, breaking was a passport for those it engulfed while emerging from the New York streets.
Taking it a step further, breaking is a literal passport. A professional B-Boy (breakdancer) finds success in the entertainment industry. The entertainment industry is much larger and far broader than the art of breaking will ever be. However, as a sought after component, breaking has become a small counterpart that reaches as far as the industry itself has gone. Even for the average to above average B-Boy there are many ways to make a living while pursuing his passion for the dance. There are plenty of gigs to dance on: cruises, seasonal and long-term contracts at theme parks such as Universal Studios and Disney, halftime shows, conventions (quick energy raising performances to kick off a business convention or other large event), weddings, bar mitzvahs, and even upscale birthday parties. There is even decent paying work for B-Boys working with some entertainment companies that travel to schools around the country teaching the culture of hip hop! Of course, B-Boys can sustain by teaching regularly classes in dance studios, or by landing higher paying private lessons. And don't forget about hitting in the streets for money. Hitting is one of the most rudimentary forms of utilizing breaking as a means for money, and believe it or not, some hitters do amazingly well. Depending on the crew (group of tight knit dancers who stick together like a gang, sans the negative connotation), high energy, talented B-Boys are able to work the crowd while performing awe-inspiring tricks that earn them much more than the average job could ever pay.
Other, more prominent opportunities extended to breaking include: print work, music videos, commercials, movies, and even worldwide tours for celebrity music artists such as Jennifer Lopez, Janet Jackson, Michael Jackson, Britney Spears, or Beyonce (the list is endless). The need for highly entertaining talent is everywhere, and the opportunities spread clear across the world. For the professional B-Boy, travel comes with the job and is a gracious benefit to such a lucrative career.
So, whether it be an emotional outlet into another dimension, a psychological escape, or an actual ticket to somewhere new, breaking as a pastime is great, but as a passport it's priceless.
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