Related Dances

Breaking was and still is influenced by many other dance styles, by gymnastics and even also very strongly by eastern material art moves.

In the early to mid 80ies “Breakdance” was often mixed and presented by the media together with Boogaloo, Popping, Roboting, Strutting, Waving and other funk dance styles. Although these dance styles were more and more adopted into the hip-hop movement, they were created in California during the Funk era. The roots and histories of these dance styles are fundamentally different from B-Boying.

A special dance style which is very often used by B-Boys (during their toprock or/and for battling) and which originated in Brooklyn (NYC) is Uprocking.

Uprocking is a dance style formed and shaped in the early 70’s in the ghetto of Brooklyn’s Bushwick section.

The Up-Rock dance style was originally conceived by a fellow named Rubber Band who lived in Bushwick’s ghetto. He invented the Up-Rock style of dancing back in the 70’s as an alternative to the gang fighting that permeated his neighborhood.

Rubber Band used the Up-Rock dance moves as a way for gangs to compete against each other through movement and style. This form of floor dance was then translated to “The Battle” that resulted in a win or a lose competition. It was done in a line (not a circle) 7 on 7, 10 on 10,….There were big crews back then. If you were good at it you never touched.
The people who usually touched were the ones who sucked and got burned.

It is called “Rock” because it was originated from different bits and peaces of Salsa. As far the moves there is footworks and shakes. A lot of good Rockers did the Latin Hustle because back in the days it went hand in hand. Sadly Rubber Band lost his life through a jealious dance rift. Later another follower of Rubber Band named Eddie Figueroa passed on and taught Papo, Clark and Manny the intricate moves and steps of Up-Rock dance in tribute to the memory of Rubber Band.

Dynasty Rockers were Brooklyn’s first Up-Rocker dance crew. It consisted around No. 1 dancer like Danny Boy, Carlos, Tony, Ralph and Gary. As more people became interested in the Dynasty Rockers it branched out to junior Dynasty Dancers and girls Dynasty Dancers who also uprocked on the scene. As Up-Rocking gained its popularity it gave birth to other local area Up-Rocker dance crews such as: Latin Timbales, Dynamic Spinner, Rock With Class, Touch Of Class, TNT Rockers, Lil Daves Rockers, MTC (Music To Communicate), Jig O Bugs, Mysterious To Burn, Universal Dancers, Explosive Rockers, Down To Burn, Holy Smoke Rockers, Incredible Rockers, Rock With Style, Just Begun Rockers and Down To Rock.

All of these groups were out there displaying their talents in a effort to keep the Up-Rock dance style alive. It was crews like Touch Of Rock that featured the awesome footwork of Up-Rockers Buz, Duz, Snoopy, Noel and more. As for Up-Rock Papo and J.R. from Dynamic Spinners are still said to be the true pioneers of Up-Rock and they still even dance today.

Many dancers today don’t know about the Up-Rock music of the 70’s. Keeping that continuous beat required precision and a DJ was as good as the records he was spinning. Those who played the classic Up-Rock records were DJ crews like Majestic Disco Sound, Pizazz Disco Sound, Disco Twins, Electrifying Sounds, Sound Of Dynasty, Disco Stompers, Divine Sounds and more.

However the fact remains that the Up-Rocking crews never received the international recognition and acclaim for Up-Rocking like the Breakers got for Breaking in the early 80’s.

Resources: Articles and Interviews of Ralph “King Up Rock” Casanova

Despite of many rumors and opinions Breaking didn’t originate from Capoeira. But during the years many moves, steps and freezes of this Brazilian (fight-) dance have inspired more and more B-Girls and B-Boys who integrated them into their dance.

“The afro-brazilian fight-dance and its culture of resistance” by PadRoc (Zulu Nation Switzerland):

Capoeira combines opposites like fighting and dancing, violence and aesthetics, game and death. Capoeira is a fight-dance which uses the beauty and efficiency of animal movements for combat.

It’s not quite clear where the name Capoeira comes from. Some people think it comes from a agressive bird called “odontophorus capoeira spix”; others think it’s a Tupi-Guarani word (Guarani-Indios = aborigine of Brasil) which means a forest that’s completely cut down (this would point at the destroying potential of Capoeira).

During the thirties of the 16th century the cultivation of sugar cane was intensified, therefor the Portugies had to import a very large number of slaves. Since 1538 about 18 millions slaves had been brought to Brasil. Most of them died after five years of work. The ships brought Capoeira to South America. The rhythm and the movements were in the heads and bodies of the african slaves; that was the only thing the slave-drivers couldn’t take away from them. The slaves weren’t allowed to fight but dancing and singing were tolerated. That’s why the guards didn’t pay too much attention to it. This was the chance for the slaves to prepare their resistance. Capoeira, a fast and effective way of fighting was performed in the “rodas” (circles) which were formed by the slaves. As soon as a guard came too close to the circle the fight turned into a dance and it was tolerated.

On the fields the slaves had only two choices: death through exhaustion and torture or they could escape in the forest. There the escaped slaves founded villages called “quilombos”, most of them in the 90’s of the 16th century. From these guitombos they organised the resistance against the Portugies. Next to the weapons Capoeira was one of the main instruments of the Africans against the slave-drivers. The consequence was that Capoeira was forbidden even after slavery had been abolished (may 13th, 1888) because it was always connected with rebellion.

But nevertheless Capoeira was still practised in the Brazilian slums, hidden from the eyes of the white people. If someone was caught doing Capoeira, he had to do forced labour on the isle of “Fernando de Noronha” for up to six month. The police went hunting Capoeira and quite often they got involved in body fights. Ironically the police sent people out there who could do Capoeira as well. During the years the situtation cooled down and the Capoeira schools called “academias” were tolerated.

The most famous Capoeira-master is Mestre Bimba. He was born 23rd sept. 1899 in Bahia, his birthname is Manoel dos Reis Machado and he started training when he was twelve. Mestre Bimba founded the first official “academia” in 1932 and lifted Capoeira out of the underground. On 9th of july 1937 the police turned up in his school and told him to follow them. They didn’t put him into prison, instead they took him to the gouverneurs palace. He was asked to do a performance of the fight-dance with his pupils, and that was a hugh success. Mestre Bimba managed to convince the audience of the cultural importance of Capoeira. As a result it was officially legalized.

Even nowadays Capoeira is performed mainly in the “favelas” – the Brazilian slums – where life is hard and where Capoeira is a useful and intelligent way to gain self-confidence in the struggle of life. But not only in Brasil Capoeira is practiced and performed nowadays, it is known all over the world and a lot of moves and thoughts were even entered in other dances like B-Boying.