A Family Tree For Breaking

The history of breaking (breakdancing) predominantly paves its path from the early 1970's in the Bronx, NY to the now insurmountably intertwining gateways across the world today. Numerous claims of knowledge regarding breaking's true parents have trailed after the birth of this magnificent dance. In ways breaking is a phenomenon that seems to have aged over night. There are, however, certain pieces of timeless history that offer a glimpse into who, or what rather, helped foster the growth of this universal art form.

It is common to give credit to James Brown, the legendary musical artist who created the hit song .Get on the Good Foot.. In 1969, the then popular artist presented to the world this masterpiece performed to an innovative dance style full of energy and soul which inspired young kids to learn the new sensation and form crews (rudimentary dance groups) to build on their new talents.

James Brown is just the father to breaking. There is an entire family tree that inadvertently contributed and helped raise this wonder into what it has become today. Consider the fact that James Brown inspired b-boys on the streets in 1970, but someone must have inspired .The Godfather of Soul. just the same in prior years. There is graceful recognition of other musical pioneers such as jazz and blues king, Louis Jordan from the 1930s-1950s. The Nicholas Brothers (born 1914 and 1921), amongst the most famous tap dancers ever, made a huge impression on the innovative mindset in the world of dance. They were far ahead of their time, performing for large audiences a hybrid of high energy acrobatic jazz, tap, and ballet. Other dances such as the Lindy Hop and the Charleston are acknowledged for their contribution to breaking's establishment.

To track the deeper roots of breaking's influence, breaking has many foreign relatives. Capoeira, a Brazilian martial art disguised as a dance has been written to be the original breakdance. This is inaccurate, as there were not many Brazilians residing in the ghetto of the Bronx, NY during its birth. However, Capoeira does have many dynamic aspects that are similar to breaking, incorporating freezes, tricks, agile control and unique expression of the body, even the ginga (the foundational move of the art form) is like a backwards uprock.

Forms of Asian martial arts also play a large role in the evolution of breaking. As young b-boys (break boys, breakdancers) surged to expand their new dance style, they incorporated anything that aesthetically appealed to them as amazing, much of which was only seen on television. Old martial arts flicks featuring wushu and kung fu showed the world awe-inspiring flips and twists, and other difficult forms that required skilled training.

Finally, the top of the tree can be linked back to Africa. Even the afore mentioned Capoeira is a Brazilian martial art that was created by African slaves. Dance has always been an integral part of life in Africa, culturally, socially, and spiritually. Dance has been around since long before humans actually became civilized, but some of the oldest and longest standing dance practices come from the heart of Africa. African dances, introduced to the rest of the world as soon as travel was possible, have strongly affected the deliverance of passion and expression, both spiritually and emotionally. These distinct moves and bodily freedom have identifiably influenced breaking since the very beginning, both directly and indirectly.

Other forms of manipulated movements and athleticism have also played their roles in the maturing of beaking. Ice skating, gymnastics, numerous rhythms of music and types of dance, martial arts, even animals can be attributed to the rapidly evolutionary dance form. In other words, it is fair to say that breaking, now universally influential, has always been universally influenced.

Other Pages of Interest

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Breakdancing music
Breakdancing movies

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