Sport / Paris Olympics

Breaking in Paris

A spectacular and singular sport, breaking will make its Olympic debut at the Paris Games during summer 2024

Breaking - also known as breakdancing – is a spectacular dance discipline that originated in the 1970s in New York. On the programme of the Olympic Games Paris 2024. Find out where to practice it in Paris, who are the favourites to get a medal and France’s best hopes

Breaking: presentation of the discipline

Breaking is the most recent of the new disciplines on the programme of the Olympic Games Paris 2024! This dance discipline originated in the 1970s in the streets of the Bronx, in New York. Also known as breakdancing breakdance, was at that time particularly popular amongst Afro-American and Puerto Rican communities. It is performed with spectacular and acrobatic movements and requires little means: the street is the breakers' playground. Since then, breaking has become an integral part of the hip-hop movement - along with other art forms such as graffiti, rap, beatbox and Djing - as well as an international phenomenon**. From the streets of New York, breaking has crossed borders, and tournaments have been organized in the Netherlands, South Korea, and France. France, the world's hip-hop heartland**, naturally became the first country to include breaking as an Olympic discipline at the Olympic Games Paris 2024.

A popular and universal sport par excellence, - 30 million enthusiasts worldwide - breaking is a sport accessible to everyone - amateurs and professionals alike - anywhere and requires no equipment ... or almost no equipment at all: a pair of shoes and a speaker to play music are all that is needed **.

Basically, breakdancers link rhythmic movements at incredible speed, coupled with important accuracy. They perform figures such as the top rock (a form of stand-up dancing), the footwork (the dancer moves their legs while their hands are on the floor) or the freeze (the dancer stops, for a few seconds, in sync with the music being played) ...

At the Olympic Games Paris 2024, the breaking rules are quite simple. The 16 B-Girls - in the women’s competition – and the 16 B-Boys - in the men’s competition - compete one-to-one, up to the final to try and winthe first Olympic medals ever in breaking. During each duel, athletes perform successively to a musical track, played by a DJ, and unknown to them.

To determine the winner, five judges evaluate their performance according to six criteria:

  • creativity
  • personality
  • technique
  • variety
  • performativity
  • musicality

The favourites for the Paris 2024 Games are the Lithuanian B-Girl Nicka and American B-Boy Victor. At the end of 2023, these two great athletes won the gold medal at the world breaking championships in Louvain in Belgium. Serious outsiders include the Canadian B-Boy Phil Wizard - world champion 2022 - the Japanese B-Boy Shigekix - Bronze medallist at the 2018 Youth Olympics - the Japanese B-Girls Ami - world champion 2019 and 2022 - and Ayumi - world champions 2021 – and the Dutch B-Girl India, winner of the European Games 2023.

France is honorable represented ! For the B-Girls, the rising star Syssy, a bronze medallist at only 16 yrs at the world championships 2023 in Louvain. As for the men’s competition B-Boy Dany Dann won gold at the age of 35 at the European Games 2023 and is dreaming of adding an Olympic medal to his singular career.

Places to practice breaking in Paris

© Stéphane Laure

An urban and popular sport, breaking can be practiced anywhere. But to improve, there is nothing better than having lessons! In Paris, a large range of breaking lessons are available for all levels.

Several centres Paris Anim’ offer classes – for kids and adults – at interesting rates. For example Paris Anim' Grange aux Belles (6 rue Boy Zelensky, Paris 10th district), du centre Paris Anim' Censier (12 rue Censier, Paris 5th district), du centre Paris Anim’ Ruth Bader Ginsburg (6-8 place Carrée, Paris 1st district) and du centre Paris Anim' Angel Parra (181-183 rue Vercingétorix, Paris 14th district).

In addition to these facilities put in place by Paris City Hall, associations specializing in dance also offer paid lessons:

  • the Compagnie Maya and its hip-hop workshops throughout Paris
  • the Break Dance Crew and its workshops in the 3rd and 4th arrondissements
  • Breakin'13, situated in the 13th arrondissement, devoted to breaking

For those who prefer to learn as they go, many breaking amateurs practice at the Centquatre, the cultural centre in the 19th arrondissement, in particular at the weekend, breakdancing in the corridors, amongst visitors, in a spirit worthy of the origins of the discipline. A great atmosphere guaranteed!

And because the Games Paris 2024 are not just about competition, go along to SPOT24, our unique multipurpose venue devoted to the new Olympic disciplines. Situated close to the Eiffel Tower, SPOT24 presents an exhibition of objects from the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, original artworks, special events, battles, and introductory sporting sessions including breaking.

The Olympic venue for breaking at the Games Paris 2024

© Paris 2024

The Place de la Concorde will be transformed into an open-air stadium for the Olympic Games Paris 2024. The breaking events will be taking place at Concorde and not in classic stadium, a nod to the origins of breaking. On 9 and 10 August 2024, the B-Girls and B-Boys will be competing at Concorde, in the 8th arrondissement of the capital. Situated a few steps from the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, this Olympic competition venue hosts several urban sports events, like skateboarding, just below the iconic obelisk of Louxor, the oldest monument in Paris!

B-Boy Dany Dann, the French breaker to watch out for

© Robert Zunikoff - Unsplash

His efforts have finished by paying off. In 2008, at the age of 20, Danis Civil left his native French Guiana for metropolitan France with one idea in his head: to make a name for himself in breaking. He succeeded and in 2024, at the age of 36, B-boy Dany Dann will be representing France at home, at the Paris 2024 Games.

Before becoming one of France’s medal hopes, B-Boy Dany Dann travelled through French cities taking part in battles, encountered major figures in breaking, gaining in experience as he alternated his passion for the sport at the weekend with his job as a nursing assistant during the week. He was spurred on in 2018 when B-Boy Dany Dann became breaking champion of France. He then went on to win: two other national titles (2022 et 2023), the gold medal at the European championships in 2022 and at the European Games in 2023 before perhaps … an Olympic title before his home public in Paris, on 10 August 2024?

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