BENGALURU : India has a vibrant dance culture, with many western dance forms too having sparked an interest among youngsters in the last decade. When it comes to breaking though, there are only a handful of B-girls (the term refers to women breakdancers). But this might change with breaking being confirmed as one of the four additional sports for the 2024 Paris Olympics. There’s already a spike in interest with more women engaging with the dance form.
Kavipriya Dayal, known as B-girl Kavi, says, “We’ve only seen the bonding of the crews in the West or in movies. It’s amazing to see that we have a small community of it growing and the Olympics is going to give us the much-needed exposure.” However, she feels that there are fewer B-girls in the country because of societal pressure. “Most of them leave the dancing world after they get full-time jobs or start a family. They don’t get the support they should be, which is why we don’t see too many women. But it’s time that they also receive the necessary support because we have a lot of skills to offer and add to the dancing world,” says 27-year-old Dayal.
Strength, discipline and practice is the mantra of breaking. There’s a certain level of energy that’s needed to be able to swing and shuffle with ease. For 25-year-old classical dancer Pooja Kumari, aka B-girl Smiley, entering the world of breaking was a brand new experience, after leaving her classical training.
“I moved from Guwahati recently to be a part of the Bengaluru breaking scene. I’ve been a classic dancer since I was six years old and started exploring breaking only when I turned 21. My mother didn’t approve and was worried to see the injuries on my body. But they are supportive of my decision now,” says Kumari.
Though the outside world makes the division of B-girls and B-boys, when dancers get onto the battlefield, there is no gender divide, claim the young dancers. Sushma Aithal (24), now known as B-girl Bee Queen, started off without any professional training. But she figured it out by losing a number of battles with other dancers, and has kept at it because she loved the concept.
“It was embarrassing to know so little and battle with experienced dancers. I was doing my Masters when I decided I wanted to take up dancing full-time. I had to make sure that I topped all my exams and got to practice on time every day as my parents weren’t so supportive of this,” says Aithal, adding that the male dancers in fact, “don’t care that you are a woman.” “They actually don’t treat you any different. They teach you the tricks of the trade, taking a lot of time to do so. That’s all I need to improve my skills,” she says.