The third of the four original elements of hip-hop, B-boying-aka-Breakdance, is said to have originated in the South Bronx in the mid to late 70’s. B-Boying was created [behind] the DJ. In the beginning (early 80s), DJs were the masters of spinning and mixing music-all of which was meant to get the partygoers to dance. Thus, eventually [and naturally] the stewards of this new culture called hip-hop, would have to create and develop an official dance style of the Culture.
During the early renaissance period of the development of the DJing element, special pioneering DJs were experimenting with the technologies of DJing and it's various methodologies. In doing this, these pioneers stumbled upon what was called a “break beat”, which translates into forcibly stopping a record in mid-play to create a “break”. When Djs used this method at parties, special dancers would dance to those breaks within the beats and those dancers became known as “break boys” or “b-boys”for short. B-boying, a dance style that resembles a mixture of 1960s soul,
fast ballet, and Brazilian martial arts, became the quintessential dance style of its time and a significant right-of-passage for any [serious] aspiring hip-hop artist. By the mid-80s, breakdancing had spread throughout the US as well as many countries around the world and had become the primary means of [non-violent] hip-hop battle among rival crews. The breakdancing boom during this time became so overwhelmingly popular that Hollywood was forced to take notice and cash in on its cultural influence. Films such as Breakin, Breakin 2, Wildstyle, The Warriors and Beat Street highlighted the b-boying sub-culture and were pillars of their time. They have since become cult-classics within Hip-Hop Culture.
Similar to the explosive growth of DJing, B-Boying also grew so large so fast, that out of this sub-culture also spawned an industry. Following the b-boying boom of the mid 80s, the global business world took notice and developed legitimate schools and institutions for b-boying. Some [specialized] institutions had begun teaching all elements of b-boying which includes uprock, downrock, toprock, popping and locking, and electric bogaloo.
Also similar to the DJing element, during the mid-90s the b-boying element had been overshadowed by the extreme popularity of rap music within the US and abroad. The original pioneers of b-boying were aging and not able to perform as they once did, and for a few years, b-boying looked to have been in danger of being phased out. However, at around the dawn of the new millennium, many countries outside of the US began to take a keen interest in the “old school” likeness of some of hip-hop’s elements: namely rap and b-boying. This global interest created a massive resurgence of b-boying abroad which eventually trickled back into the US between the years of 2005 and 2010.
Today, b-boying is as hot and prosperous as it ever was. Not only has the number of b-boys risen, but there has also been an enormous increase in the number of b-girls that have embraced the Culture. There are now thousands of breakdance institutions as well as general dance institutions that offer “hip-hop dance” as an elective course of study. In addition, there are dozens of global breakdance competitive tournaments that attract participants in over 50 countries around the world. As a stark result of the millions of youth around the world having studied and championed this unique dance form throughout the years, it is now nearly impossible to identify any part of the world where b-boying does not have some degree of presence and influence within the inner-city dance scene.
B-boying is an intricate hip-hop dance style which demands an extreme level of skill to master. But as long as there are DJs spinning music and that music has beats in it, the b-boy and b-girl will forever endure.