Site Network
Unsplash

Is dance a sport? Should it be in the Olympics? They're complicated questions that tend to spark heated debate. But many dance fans will be excited to hear that breaking (please don't call it breakdancing) has been provisionally added to the program for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games in Paris.

Keep reading... Show less
Technique
Many breaking moves require the upper body to bear weight. Photo by Kyle Froman

Pavan Thimmaiah casually hovers in a freeze, his weight between his head and hands on the floor, legs extending out on an upward diagonal. From this topsy-turvy position, he encourages his students to try this breaking staple. “Take a picture and make it your Facebook profile," he jokes.

Self-taught Thimmaiah founded PMT Dance Studio in New York City in 2001 to teach breaking in a classroom setting to students of all different backgrounds, levels and ages. By focusing on safe technique and catering to his students' diverse skill levels, he's built a loyal following of teen and adult b-boys and girls in his Breakin' 101 for Beginners class. “I think a lot of times in breaking classes, teachers want to fly around and show what they can do," he says. “I want to show the students what they can do."

Keep reading... Show less

They’ve experienced amputation, birth defects, deafness and cancer, but the b-boys of ILL-Abilities are good. Really good. Hailing from Canada, Chile, Holland and the U.S., they’re as talented a hip-hop crew as any of their able-bodied peers in the biz, yet the ILL dancers (taking the “dis” out of “disability”) have chosen to highlight their “no excuses, no limits” mantra by sharing their disabilities with audiences.

In this video, each b-boy’s crowd-wowing performance is accompanied by his voiceover. Each describes facing challenges that would have sidelined many a determined artist or athlete. For some ILL members, dance was a way to overcome feeling different. Others were aspiring dancers who refused to give up their goals when faced with illness. “It’s about taking the bad and making it good,” says Luca "Lazylegz" Patuelli, who was born with a joint disorder and can do some pretty sweet tricks with his crutches. Then there’s Jacob "Kujo" Lyons, who gets the onstage DJ and the audience clapping so he—a deaf dancer—can “see the beat.” You know what? Just watch. And don’t quit before the end. The final cipher is incredible.

Ephrat "Bounce" Asherie might be at the top of her game—she just received two Bessie Award nominations and her company makes its Jacob's Pillow debut next month—but she still suffers from self-doubt and perfectionism. When she began taking breaking classes from Robert "Break Easy" Santiago in Brooklyn, New York, she had to draw upon her self-confidence to successfully battle with other break dancers.

"When I was finally ready to start battling, Robert told me: 'The hardest battle will always be with yourself.' As artists, we're ripe with self-doubt, because creating and performing work is such a vulnerable thing. Robert helped me confront that vulnerability in a way that made it manageable. When you battle another dancer, it's all about reacting to that person. You have to have the confidence to say, 'Well, maybe I can't do that movement that she did, but whatever I'm doing is going to top that, because I know my own value. I can define my worth as a dancer.'"

Ephrat Asherie Dance performs at Jacob's Pillow Inside/Out series on August 7.

Photo by Christiana Marcelli

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

Trending