breakdancing by Ibtasam Elmaliki July 7, 2021
What does the future of breakdancing have to do with sustainability? As it turns out, it may have more to do with it than one may think.
Breakdancing is slowly but surely entering the mainstream with France announcing it as an official category in its Paris 2024 Olympics, bringing dancers from neighborhood blocks to the global stage.
The art form has always been community-oriented. The dance origins from Black and Latinx neighborhoods in NYC used it as a means of expression and distraction. Youth feeling trapped in gang activity, as well as feeling helpless from urban planners ignoring them and the people of the city, inspired the street dance.
Breakdancing is so ingrained in the community that auditions for breakdancing are done in public, with acceptance determined on public approval. This is what the future of art and sustainability looks like.
Breakdancing is essentially a means of preserving the community, bringing people of the neighborhood together, and in its future, has the power of sustainability.
It’s currently almost Olympics season and past the celebration of great athletes comes the daunting remembrance of postgames, when empty stadiums are left. Business Insider shared photos of abandoned stadiums, the eerie photos looking like a wasteland.
Breakdancing, unlike other sports, doesn’t require a big arena to perform. The beauty of the art is how versatile it is, being able to be done in any public space, from parks to subway carts. The usage of public space makes it sustainable, not harming the environment.
In this sense, it is not absurd to wonder whether the future of more activities will be like breakdancing.
Although breakdancing is a means of retaliating from urban planners, studies show that it can actually foster urban planning.
In a The Urban Activist article, a research study done by Tonje Fjogstad Langnes of the Oslo Metropolitan University and Kari Fasting of the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences is discussed. The study shows evidence that breakdancing creates strong identification within communities, which leads to acceptance rather than negligence.
Breakdance offers young people identification with and acceptance by a global society that crosses racial, ethnic and geographical boundaries.Susana F. Molina speaking of the research study of Tonje Fjogstad Langnes
As seen in the Red Bull BC One World competitions, people from all over the world participate in the art form, the competitors a large pool of diversity. In their own hometowns, they take up their own spaces, creating strong ties within their communities.
They’re keeping their own neighborhoods alive, allowing community engagement to thrive through creative expression. Once there’s community engagement then civic engagement comes along with it. Citizens are able to make changes in their city by coming together, a mode of activism.
Urban activism through these means is a method of sustainability. Not only protesting to make living conditions better, but to preserve the community itself not just culturally but environmentally.
In his article, Thomas Easley, a hip-hop artist, urges youth in the hip-hop industry to think about green issues. He raises the thought that BIPOC think of the environment last when thinking of other pressing issues, such as poverty and police brutality, but stresses how important green issues are.
As city planners try to disrupt communities in order to build high rises and buildings with flashing lights (contributing heavily to the deterioration of the environment), art forms such as break dancing prevent this.
As much as we don’t think about sustainability, keeping communities and people together contributes to sustainability and bettering the environment.