Break Dance Olympics

Do you support Break Dancing in Olympics?

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What do the disapproving voices tell us about society and movement?

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’Til next time, Be Free In Your Movement™.

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When I found out that break dancing is going to be in the Olympics from 2024 I was thrilled! But then I found out a lot of people are upset about it saying that it is disgraceful, it’s a mockery, and I thought “why are they so upset?” and then it dawned on me, they have confirmed a long-held observation of mine and I want to share that with you.

Hi, I’m Selina from MoveMedics here to help you move better, feel better, so you can do what makes you happy for as long as you want.

I’ve been a physio for 20 years now and I have made this observation a long time ago: Society’s understanding and appreciation for movement is really limited. We all know how much society loves to put things in different boxes so it can like understand it, and movement is no exception.

There really only are two avenues where you are freely able to express your movement and they are sports and arts, and even within these two boxes there are sub boxes and hierarchy. Outside of these boxes, we are expected, society expects us to behave a certain way – we are supposed to stand a certain way, sit a certain way, walk a certain way, and if you don’t conform to the ways you are then labeled naughty, inappropriate, disrespectful, and the all-time favourite, not ladylike.

So let’s have a look at sports itself, there’re sub boxes in sports in my opinion, society is very good at appreciating what we can count, movement that has a quantitative aspect to it, like how fast, how far, how heavy, how many times, the score, if we can count it, we can easily grasp it, but not all movement can be counted like that and there are movements that has a more qualitative aspect to it like gymnastic, diving, aerial, figure skating, and even boxing, because not all punches are weighted the same, but society is most helpful it has worked very very hard to figure out how to count these things so we can appreciate it.

Let’s take gymnastic for an example, from a qualitative aspect, someone doing three somersaults in the air is typically considered to be better at the person that can only do two somersaults, but that’s only if they are the same types of somersault, there’re different types of somersaults, someone who comes in and does a linear, like a tuck or pike in one direction, that’s somersault compared to a three-dimensional one, one that has the tumble and the twist, that one is a lot harder so you know doing one complex tumble is far harder than doing two or three linear ones, so very helpfully we have a thing called degree of difficulties that are assigned to each movement, so lay person when we’re watching something we don’t, we’re not familiar with, we can, we know, we are told that is a harder movement than that one, and they are marked on their execution for it.

Then in a smaller subset of discipline, there is also an artistic expression element to it. The classic example here would be figure skating, they are judged for technical execution and artistic expression, but unfortunately, it’s typically not well done, I mean it can be done beautifully, and they are the people who win all the medals, but from a musicality perspective, like I’m a musician, you’re watching those routines sometimes can be quite painful, because you think “why that song?” It makes no sense, it doesn’t go with what you’re doing, it doesn’t suit the competitor, or maybe it like has one line of lyrics that you know goes with the whole thing that they built the whole thing on, and the most painful thing for me from a musician perspective to watch, is that often they don’t use the dynamic of the music to their full advantage, so many times you watch a routine, the music is building building building and you expect it to get to like this dah movement where you have this full extension held for you to appreciate, but you don’t get that, you get some kind of like a half extended or sometimes even like an opposite closing in kind of movement and you think “why?” You have wasted the opportunity to make it perfect (sigh)

Very painful for a musician to watch, but the point is, when it’s a qualitative aspect we struggle to appreciate it fully for what it is compared to something that is very straightforward, he runs the fastest, she jumps the highest, she wins, right.
So let’s take a look at the art box. In the art box is more a hierarchy thing, because some arts are considered more proper than others, they tend to be the ones that has been around for a long time with a long history, such as classical music, opera, theatre, ballet, and they are also the kind of discipline you would see when there is a formal occasion, can you imagine, say the Queen of England, her majesty is having a state dinner, all the heads of countries of the world will attend, and they’re having the dinners and whatnot and then income a b-boy crew and they started popping and locking, they start crumping, doesn’t get done does it?

You don’t see it because break dancing is not generally considered to be “proper” Why is that? I think it has a lot to do with the music, breakers use Hip Hop. Hip Hop has always been about speaking up for what is wrong in society pointing out flaws that people don’t want to know about or just are ignorant to. It’s overwhelming, right. And when people are presented with things that they don’t know, don’t understand, find overwhelming, a very common reaction is to push it away, don’t have to deal with it, it can’t hurt me, right.

And that’s where break dancing tends to be in the art world, in the hierarchy, there are more proper movement and not as proper movement and another um, supporting evidence I suppose is um you will also find circus is also in that kind of fringe in the art world, why else would we have the saying “running away to join the circus”? You are running away from the proper part of society to join the circus because it’s in the fringes of society.

Back to the Olympics, when you take a movement that is in, more of a qualitative nature in the movement sports box, that’s at the edge of that box, and then you get break dancing that’s also in the fringe of the art world and you bring them together, people lose their mind, they don’t want to know, and I think it is a fantastic thing because, remember I was saying that even the artistic, the very few movements in sports that has an artistic expressive element to it, I don’t think they are often done well. But not in break dancing.

In break dancing, the movement itself is most, most similar to gymnastics, it’s quite obvious, I hope for people to see that it’s really high quality difficult movement that they are doing. They are judged on that but they are also judged heavily on creative expression of artistic creativity, they put so much effort to make their movement work with the music, blending them into this awesome one, and in my opinion there is nothing on the planet right now that merges the music and the movement better than break dancers, so I am very excited that they are going to be in the Olympics because if you think about what the Olympics is, and I’d ask my husband that and he says the Olympics is for nations to come together to see who does something the best, and I thought yeah true, but what about the essence of it? What is in the core of it?

In the Olympics, really the essence of it is the appreciation of human movement excellence. Look at how amazingly they can do that! Look at how fast they can do that! Look at how heavy a thing they can lift! Amazing physical display of abilities, but then there’s also as spectators why do we like to watch it? Because we want to be entertained. Remember in the movie The Gladiator? Maximus comes to say “are you not entertained?” There’s an entertaining aspect to it, and break dancing embodies both so so well, it shows, it the movement on display is out of this world crazy difficult, and they are creative, and they are entertaining, so I think it is a fantastic thing and

I would love to know what you thought of it too. So are you for break dancing or are you against break dancing in the Olympics? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, and if you like my videos, make sure you give me a like to let me know, and subscribe to the channel and also follow the link in the description you can subscribe to MoveMedics’ Digest as well, so until next time, Be Free In Your Movement.

Selina Asirus Tannenberg. Voice Physio


Selina Tannenberg is a Meanjin (Brisbane)-based Physiotherapist, Singer, Composer. She believes a Strong, Limber and Fit body is an under-utilised key to enhancing Vocal Efficiency and Performance so has created Voice Physio to help Singers build Strong Bodies for Singing! She publishes music under her nom de plume, Asirus, and has a pet dragon named Sk’on.

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