the Breaking K final stage held at SK Handball Stadium in Olympic Park, Seoul on the 26th of last month. In this competition to select the best dancers in Korea, B-boy ‘Kill (Park In-soo)’ took the stage with an exciting beat. The opponent ‘Dol’ (Jinhyung Park) approached Kiel and asked for a high five, but Kiel did not respond. As if embarrassed, Dol took a lap around the stage, lay down on the floor, and performed a splendid dance move by spinning his body round and round. Kiel looked at the stone performing for a while, and the emcee raised the atmosphere by saying ‘Let’s go’.
Now it’s your turn to kill. Kiel pretended to be yawning as if he was tired of the opponent’s stage, and then made the audience go wild with his radical movements. As Kiel stood on his hands, his ragged abs showed through the T-shirt. The two hugged and encouraged each other as if they had never competed before coming off the stage. On this day, Kiel took the runner-up, and was selected for the national team along with ‘Wing (Kim Heon-woo)’, who became the champion in this competition.
If there is no major change, Kiel and Wing are expected to aim for medals by participating in the Asian Games Breaking event to be held in Hangzhou, China next September. Furthermore, they have to defeat many challengers to win the right to participate in the breaking event at the 2024 Olympics in Paris, France.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) put an Olympic medal on break dancing. The IOC held an Executive Committee meeting in December last year and adopted breaking as an official event.
◆Breaking as a street culture
Breaking is one of the four major elements of hip-hop, along with MC who raps, DJ who plays music, and graffiti, which means graffiti such as murals. Like hip-hop, breaking also started from street culture. After the 20th century, dance based on popular culture, not pure dance, began to spread, and breaking was completed as new movements were created around clubs. According to the Korea Dance Sports Federation (KFD), breaking started in the early 1970s. At that time, when a party was held in New York, USA, DJ Kool Herc played the danceable and exciting sections of the music without lyrics. The dancers called this part the ‘break section’ and danced to it. The act of dancing to this music was called break dancing. Men who enjoy breakdance are called ‘B-boys’ and women are called ‘B-girls’. Since then, Breaking has spread all over the world, and the way to enjoy it has also diversified. B-boys developed in various ways, such as competing with each other or teaming up to show off their skills.
Breaking has become a sport Breaking, which used to be a culture, is becoming a sport. Breaking was adopted as a demonstration event at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina. At that time, 30,000 young spectators gathered to see the breaking stage. The IOC, which just needed content for a new generation, discussed the adoption of breaking as an official event. As a result, 16 B-boys and 16 B-girls competed for medals in the Paris Olympics break. It seems that the gold medal will be assigned to one b-boy and one b-girl. The right to participate in the Olympics is allocated to three competitions, including the World Championships to be held next year, international competitions by continent, and the Olympic Qualifying Series.
The IOC introduced the ‘battle’ culture in which b-boys and b-girls compete head-to-head as an Olympic event. The two players will face off round by round to the music played by the DJ in turn, and an odd-numbered judges will score their performances to determine the winner. The performance is carried out in the form of a counterattack from the blue side after the red side has finished. The performance time for each round is around 1 minute. Music is not announced in advance to the players.
The level of breaking in Korea is to the point where medals are expected. According to B-Boy Rankings, Wing, who won the Breaking K series final, is ranked 2nd in the B-Boy rankings, and Kiel is 22nd. Breaking in Korea is ranked second in the world. The United States, the birthplace of breaking, is ranked first in the world rankings, while Japan, Canada, and Russia dance behind Korea.
◆Breaking mixed with concerns and expectations
Some point out that the fun breaking culture has been brought into the realm of competition. It is said that if breaking is quantified, the charm of freedom that dance has can be diminished. It is also worrisome that there is no clear standard for judging. Judges only look at the technical difficulty and diversity of the b-boy or b-girl, their ability to interpret music, and how unique and creative their movements are, but there are no objective indicators for evaluation.
A KFD official said, “One of the factors that determines the quality of a competition is how fair and authoritative referees participate.” I accept the verdict,” he explained.
◆“The pleasure of mastering a high level of skill, I can’t express it in words”
“It sometimes takes more than a year to hone a movement. But the feeling of having mastered the skill perfectly is hard to describe in words.”
B-boy Kill Park In-soo (30) and b-girl Fresh Bella Jeon Ji-ye (23, photo), who were selected for the national team through the Breaking K Final, spoke in unison about their breaking charms in an interview with Segye Ilbo. It means that you can only know the charm of breaking when you perfectly digest the high-level skills that are presented in line with the colorful lighting and exciting beats on stage.
Jeon Ji-ye said, “The sense of accomplishment that comes from digging a skill properly is attractive.” Park In-soo also introduced, “There is no better moment than when I properly showed the moves I practiced on stage, and when I look back at the video and feel like I’m hooked.”
Jeon Ji-ye said, she wasn’t into breaking from the start. Jeon Ji-ye explained, “I started attending an academy while dreaming of becoming an idol after being a figure skater.” “I wanted to dance femininely, but one day, when I copied the movements of a non-girl next to me, people around me told me that I had talent, so I started it.” did.
Park In-soo, who fell in love with breaking after watching the movie ‘Honey’, wanted to learn b-boying but couldn’t muster up the courage. He recalled, “I went to middle school and hoped to join the hip-hop club, but all I knew how to do was stand on my hands.” Park In-soo, who regretted that incident, visited a breaking team at the Youth Cultural Center in Dong-gu, Ulsan. “When I blindly asked, ‘I want to learn,’ the hyung, who seemed like a leader, said, ‘I’ll see what you do and decide.’ So, from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm, I only stood on my hands,” he said, and Park In-soo looked back, saying, “I learned breaking in earnest because the team accepted me after seeing me standing alone for three days.” 스포츠토토
He was not welcome at home. His family couldn’t like his unfamiliar breaking. However, the two breakers were recognized by their parents for their excellent skills to the point of wearing the Taegeuk mark. Jeon Ji-ye laughed, saying, “My parents were very worried that I would get hurt when I braked. Park In-soo, who couldn’t even tell his parents that he was breaking, said, “One day, a newspaper reported on how I was dancing, and my parents saw the article and found out about this fact.” After receiving it and going to college, my parents opened their hearts.”
Those who made their name in domestic competitions have their eyes on the world stage. Park In-soo said, “I am the only one who can dance that combines power moves with the technology of the chair.” Jeon Ji-ye also said, “I want to achieve better results at the World Championships next year than this year,” and pledged, “I will win a medal at the Paris Olympics in 2024.