In an effort to lure younger viewers to the Olympics, a competitive headspin-to-headspin “dancesport” version of breakdancing, which has steadily been growing in global popularity over the last few decades, is now set to become the newest Olympic event.
The sport, which will officially go by the name “breaking” when it makes its debut at the 2024 Summer Games in Paris, is part of the International Olympic Committee’s efforts in recent years to attract younger viewers with globally popular subculture-based events like skateboarding, BMX, and rock climbing (all of which made their first official appearances at the last summer games in Tokyo).
In breaking competitions, pairs of dancers face off in “battles” - adapting their moves in response to music selected, mixed, and scratched by a DJ. “One dancer will have a performance and then the other one will try to outdo them in some way - viewers will see dancers facing off against each other, doing rounds against each other,” says veteran U.K.-based DJ and breakdancing judge Kevin “Renegade” Gopie, who co-created the scoring system, called Trivium, that will be used in the Olympics. “Unlike a lot of other sports where each person does their performance independently and then is scored, our sport is scored comparatively.”
Under the Trivium rules format, participants are scored on a 3 key components. Judges compare each battle dancer’s moves and style to their opponent’s, with special scrutiny paid to categories called “body” (physical moves), “mind” (creativity in response to the music and the opponent’s moves), and “soul” (interpretive flair and style).
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