10 Oct 2018 19:22
Photos: Joe Toth for OIS/IOC
With 90,000 spectators in the Urban Park on the first day of Breaking competition and some 240 local b-boys and b-girls cramming a community centre for a five-hour workshop by judges AT, Moy and Mounir yesterday, it will come as no surprise to learn that free Breaking initiation sessions have been hugely popular as well at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games.
Breaking initiation what?
Developed and run by the Buenos Aires Youth Olympic Games Organising Committee (BAYOGOC), the World DanceSport Federation (WDSF) and the Asociación Argentina de Street Dance, the initiation workshops are offered to all visitors at a spot next to the iconic Puente de la Mujer bridge inside the Urban Park, where the Breaking competition is taking place.
The hourlong sessions are designed to give local youth from 12 to 18 years old a basic introduction to Breaking every day from 7-17 October starting at 9:00 and ending at 17:00. But teacher Maximiliano Herrera, from Cordoba, Argentina, says that older people are more than welcome to give it a go as well – and they have been.
“We have been doing classes for beginners and intermediate-level dancers, totally free, from children to old people: everyone who can dance can take part,” the 22-year-old says. “It’s been popular. Even if they don’t come to dance, they come to watch. So many people have visited with cameras and they take photos and videos. Yesterday, we were filmed and interviewed by Argentinian TV.”
A team of about a dozen Argentinian dance teachers has been on hand to assist the newcomers, giving lessons on basic skills and techniques, coordination, and physical fitness. After the workshops, participants leave with a better understanding of the rhythm and feel of music, the basic components of Breaking (top rock, footwork, and freezes), and how to put together a simple choreography.
Asked why he has come all the way from Cordoba to volunteer his time providing lessons at the YOG, Herrera doesn’t hesitate to answer: “This is the only thing that I love, for real. Breaking gives me an opportunity to travel, to meet other people, it’s like a big adventure. Every time I travel it gives me a new opportunity. To be here at the Youth Olympic Games is like a dream.”
It’s a dream made even more special by the fact that Herrera has also had a chance to catch the action of the 12 b-boys and 12 b-girls competing here at the YOG. Herrera’s eyes open wide and a broad smile stretches across his face when he speaks about his impression of the 1vs1 battles: “The level is so high and the dancers from the different countries bring their own flavours and styles to it. It’s been amazing. Amazing.”
The sport initiation sessions are part of a broader initiative by BAYOGOC to engage young people by giving them the opportunity to experience a fusion of elite sport competition, music, culture and art instillations, sport initiations, and educational programmes.
To date, BAYOGOC has organised 1,300 sporting and cultural events and initiatives in schools and community sports clubs over the last four years. One million young people will have actively participated in YOG-themed activities, from sport initiations and inspirational talks with Olympians to sport-themed cultural projects – all implemented by a dedicated young team.
In addition to this, 210,000 schoolchildren will experience Games-time YOG schools programmes, and free access to all four sport parks at the YOG is aimed at giving local youth, families and sport fans an opportunity to enjoy top-level competition in a festival-like atmosphere.