When the culture of hip-hop first began to take shape in the 1970s, it consisted of at least four fundamental elements: deejaying, emceeing, graffiti, and breaking.
Breaking, popularly known as breakdancing today, was created in the Bronx in New York City. The term breakdancing as it’s used in the media often mixes New York’s b-boying and West Coast–developed dance styles like popping, locking, and the electric boogaloo. B-boy dance moves are influenced by a number of cultural sources, including African-American and Afro-Caribbean music, kung fu, and capoeira.
Breaking reached peak popularity in the mid-1980s, when a number of films showcased the moves and the youth who created it. Breaking began as a mode of self-expression; it was a part of a larger culture that reflected the social, economic, and political conditions of the youth at that time. Now, decades later, as the style and moves of breaking have changed, so have some of its traditions.
Watch the video above to learn more about breaking and how it’s changed since its humble beginnings.