The dancers begin to plot the path to the Paris Olympics

New York (AFP) – Breaking is in the blood of Victor Montalvo. He is the descendant of twins – his father and uncle – who were performing in Mexico long before young Montalvo taught them to spin on his back.

Born in Kissimmee, Florida, the 28-year-old who also goes by B-Boy Victor has mastered the foundations of the dance form. He has strength. He has the flair and arrogance expected of a tough guy. His movement syncs with the beat flowing from the DJ turntables.

Scribble, chirp, rip, boom, photo.

He hopes to take a step beyond what his relatives dreamed of, to fight his way to the medal ceremony, when the now world-class art of dance begins at the Summer Olympics less than two years from now.

“I feel like I have a really big opportunity,” Montalvo told the AP.

He’s among dozens of B-boys and B-girls — a term for a male or female rooted in hip-hop culture — charting a path to the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. The International Olympic Committee announced two years ago that collapse would become an official Olympic sport, a development dividing society between fans of a larger platform and those concerned with the purity of the art form.

But after the Red Bull BC One World Final, which was held earlier this month in the birthplace of hip-hop and a short walk from the very streets where Black and Puerto Rican pioneered the art of fracking, the field of Olympic competitors is starting to take shape. The November 12 event also attracted some indigenous boys and girls, as the hip-hop community prepares to celebrate the culture’s 50th anniversary in 1973.

said Douglas “Dancin’ Doug” Colón, a first-generation Cardinals boy from Harlem who proudly rejoiced at accepting the dance form into the Olympics.

Along with Colon, first-generation Trixie sat near a circular stage in the center of Hammerstein Hall in Manhattan. One by one, Red Bull BC One World Final contenders from Canada, China, France, Italy, Kazakhstan, South Korea and Venezuela have stepped onto the battlefield. The energy drink company runs the world’s largest cracking competition.

OGs have blessed their grandchildren by giving them a Dap – a friendly gesture of greeting in the Black and Latino communities that conveys solidarity and well wishes to the recipient. Joe Conzo Jr., a photographer known in the community as “Joey Snaps,” who has documented hip-hop in the Bronx since its inception, also sat at the side of the stage taking pictures of the Olympic contestants.

“Nothing is going to change the culture, the culture stays the same,” Colón said. “Even though it’s now an Olympic sport, people in a hood will still do whatever they want.”

Judging competitions within hip-hop culture has always been very personal, Victor Alicia, one of the Red Bull BC One World judges, told the Associated Press. But that won’t be the case with the Paris Olympics, where officials will use a newly developed judging system to decide which boy or girl outperformed their opponent in individual fights.

The Trivium Judging System, first created at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, is a digital scoring platform that allows judges to interact in real time with the physical, technical and interpretative qualities of a break or “body, mind and spirit.” A panel of five judges scores points for each slot on Creativity, Personality, Technique, Variety, Performance and Music. Scores can be adjusted throughout the battle, based on how the breaker responds to his opponent.

Scores can be lowered if the breaker “bites off” or copies a combination of moves from his opponent. Misconduct, such as intentional physical contact with an opponent, and other unsportsmanlike behavior can result in a ripper’s score being lowered.

“I’m looking for someone who takes over the land. It’s a battle. It’s not just dance and then dance,” said Alicia, also known as B-Boy Kid Ice.

Ranked as the best player in the world after competing at the World Championships in Paris last December, Montalvo said his path to the Olympics will require intense training. It would also require more winning performances in competitions sanctioned by the World Dance Sport Federation, the IOC-approved body that runs the fights. Cutters who do well in those events score points that help them qualify for the Paris Games. The Olympic Qualifiers will start in September and run through June 2024.

At the end of the process, 16 boys and 16 young girls will be allowed to compete over two days in the famous Place de la Concorde, an open-air public square in Paris.

This gives Olympic hopefuls plenty of opportunities to hone their skills in high-stakes fights.

Meet the contestants

B-BOY VICTOR

What sets Montalvo apart from other boys, he said, is his command of the grounds the judge favors for breaking: “pinning” movements, footwork, “landing” movements done close to the ground, and “power” moves that display acrobatics and strength, along with ” classic headspins,” “windmills” and “freeze” pose.

“I feel like the foundations are the most important thing,” he said. “I see a lot of dancers do big moves, but then they don’t have those little details. They just don’t know how to get out of those big moves. It’s important to create a story, and the foundations are like creating a story.”

B-BOY YU-KI

During Red Bull BC1’s quarter-final battle against Japan’s Yuki Minatozaki, Montalvo went from a windmill into a rocking action as his legs moved back and forth so quickly that it appeared to be spinning the ropes of Double Dutchman. Minatozaki responded with a smirk, half-hearted applause, and a sarcastic thumbs-up—all in the spirit of good sportsmanship—before exploding in a head spin and displaying an energetic footwork.

“It feels great that the sport now has so many eyeballs,” Minatozaki, who goes by B-Boy UK, told the Associated Press through a translator. The 23-year-old has been breaking out since he was five years old. He said he intended to seek a place in the Paris Olympics.

Minatozaki lost his fight against Montalvo, who also went to the final to defeat Dutchman Lee Le Demiere, another potential Olympic contender. This win did not earn Montalvo points qualification for the Olympics.

B- India girl

India Sarjo, a 16-year-old from the Netherlands, won the Red Bull BC One World B-Girl Championship. She said she plans to then focus on competing in crew fights – this entails having one team of wrestlers compete against another for the group title and bragging rights, reminiscent of rootbreaking in the Bronx. Sardjoe was fresh to receive the highest honor at the European Breaking Championships, a WDSF event held in Manchester, England on November 6.

Nevertheless, the title of Red Bull is an achievement.

“I had to fight the defending champ, so that’s nothing,” Sarjo said. “But I was very happy to fight against her.”

B-GIRL LOGISTX

Sarjo Logan defeated 19-year-old Edra, also known as B-Girl Logistics, who won last year’s Red Bull BC One World Final in Gdańsk, Poland. Hailing from San Diego, Edra began breaking out at the age of eight, after his first training in ballet and jazz. Her father pushed her into hip-hop lessons.

Like Sardjo and Montalvo, Edra told the AP she will compete in WDSF events over the next year and a half for a place in the Olympics. On Saturday, she competed in the Breaking for Gold Challenge Series tournament in Tokyo and took home the silver behind Lithuanian Dominika Banević, better known as B-Girl Nicka, who took gold.

I’m competing against the best,” said Edra. “Because I have such a high level of myself, I try to outdo everyone else’s training. The training is insane – I have bruises on my elbows and knees from practicing the moves over and over. It’s a huge commitment because we don’t have a lot of resources like in sports.” the other.”

B- ISIS girl

Born in Ecuador before moving to the United States, Isis Alexandra Granda Challín started out in ballet, folk and contemporary dance. But Break spoke of her rebellious nature, especially at a time when she wondered if other forms of dance matched her dreams.

“The moment I realized I had more responsibility for myself, I put more work into crashing and getting opportunities to be here,” said Chalen, 27, ahead of the Red Bull BC One World Final.

“Now, we’re going to make this transition, from performers to athletes,” she said of her Olympic dreams. It is a big opportunity for every country. I come from Latin America, where there are not many opportunities. But the Olympics is for everyone.

B – a sunny girl

Sunny Choi, a B-Gear girl who resides in Queens, New York and won the 2022 Red Bull BC One Cipher USA Championship in September, said there’s access to the art and sport of cracking that will make her a big draw at the Paris Olympics. She hopes to earn a spot on the US team.

“We have a lot of diversity in hacking, which is really great about what we do, because there aren’t many financial barriers to entry,” Choi told the AP. “If you have a clean floor, and for the time being, access to YouTube or whatever you can learn, and some music, you can do it yourself.”

Her fledgling Olympic journey already required personal and professional sacrifices, she said, which initially made her wonder if she wanted to compete at all.

“I am one of those people or nothing,” Choi said. “I did a lot of soul-searching to clear some mental blocks. I feel like this journey is going to take a lot out of me and I just need to be ready for it.”

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Aaron Morrison is a national writer based in New York City and a member of the AP’s Race and Ethnicity Panel. Follow him on Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/aaronlmorrison.

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