The breaking scene has come a long way in the past 10 years. Competitions have grown, more opportunities are now available to B-boys and B-girls, and breaking itself has spread into many areas outside of the scene.
The past 10 years have seen a crazy acceleration of growth and change that many might not be aware of. So, here are six ways the scene has evolved in the last decade:
1. Judging systems
10 years ago, judging involved simply having the judges point towards the person they thought had won. but improvements to judging have constantly been discussed. The past decade has seen the testing, rise and establishment of more thought-out, technological judging systems, which are now being used at many big competitions.
B-boy Dyzee's OUR (Objective, Unified, Real-time) Judging System. This one uses five judges, with each individually judging only one particular element of the battle: Foundation, Originality, Execution, Dynamics or Battle Tactics. This system was mostly used for the Korean R-16 event.
The Kozen Judging System, where you have a blue and a red side for each competitor. The judges are given an interface and after each round of the battle they make their decision by pressing either the blue or red button to pick the breaker they think won. It also uses a 'best of' approach, where if the majority of the rounds have been won, the battle is over. The results are then shown on a big screen behind the judges.
The And8 Judging System, which is similar to the Kozen system when it comes to the red and blue side and the display used to show who won. However, it also uses iPads with cross faders, which the judges use to score the competitors' rounds. The iPad then calculates the score and the competitor with the highest score is shown after each round.
And we also now have the new Trivium Judging System, which was recently created by B-boy Storm and DJ Renegade to be used for the breaking category happening this year at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games.
2. The Rise of the B-girls
From B-girl Ayumi becoming the first to be invited to battle at the Red Bull BC One World Final, to B-girl AT being the first to win the IBE Footwork battle, and B-girl Queen Mary being the first to win her country's Red Bull BC One Cypher qualifier, B-girls have come more than a long way in the last 10 years. More B-girls are judging events, more events are doing B-girl battles, and the level of the ladies has sky-rocketed in the last decade.
3. YouTube changing the way breakers learn and interact with the scene
Ten years ago, people were still finding out about breaking by going to events or classes. But the sheer number of videos being uploaded daily to YouTube means the website is now the place where a lot of new breakers first encounter the culture. Instead of having to fly to another country or travel to another city to see a major breaking competition, a lot of B-boys and B-girls simply look them up on YouTube and watch the footage.
Breakers also learn moves through YouTube breaking tutorials, find out who the hottest up-and-coming B-boys or B-girls are through highlight videos, and share clips of their favourite battles and dancers instead of having to make the effort to go and see them live.
A lot of breakers have also gone viral when they've had an amazing round at a battle, which has lead to them getting more invites to jams, work outside the scene and judging jobs.
4. Commentary on events
In the past few years, both Red Bull BC One and the Undisputed World B-boy Series have introduced commentary to their breaking events, giving them a much more of a sports-event feel. The commentary gives viewers the voices of knowledgeable members of the scene, providing them with valuable insight and information during each battle. Ten years ago, the closest thing to this was the MC or host talking on the microphone during battle.
5. Live streaming of competitions
It's become commonplace for an event to let you know what time the live stream will begin. A decade ago, you either had to have the money to travel to an event or had to wait for the footage to come out to see the battles. And if footage didn't materialise, you might only hear about what happened. But now you can catch the action live in the comfort of your own home with almost every major event now being streamed on Facebook and YouTube, completely free and uncut.
6. The growth of breaking leagues and ranking systems
More and more breaking competitions spring up every year, but we now have a number with league tables that rank breakers based on the battles they win, or where they placed in the overall competition. These include the Undisputed World B-boy series, which is probably the biggest league ranking competition out there, as well as ones like the Dutch Breakdance League, the British Breaking League, and the UDEF Standings scoreboard.
(written by Emmanuel Adelekun. Photos by Dean Treml, Nika Kramer and Up against the Wall. All from Red Bull Content Pool)