The Evolution of Breakdancing

Spotlight / Shoot Spotlight
Thomas Barwick
Amy Lehfeldt
Jan 30, 2024
In the heart of Mexico City, against the expansive skyline, creator Thomas Barwick and I gathered a group of talented breakdancers on a rooftop to capture and showcase their signature moves. This images and video shoot not only highlights the dancers' impressive skills, including intricate footwork and gravity‑defying spins, but also captures the spirit of personal expression, freedom, creativity, and community that define the world of breakdancing. It shines a light on the growing inclusivity of the sport showing Mexican dancers as well as female breakers—a sport that has been historically dominated by men.

Creating both video and images, we focused on shooting from a variety of perspectives using drone, GoPro, and classic camera equipment and shot in real‑time and slow motion. This approach provides our customers with a versatile toolkit, empowering them to unleash their creativity across various platforms—be it social media, advertisements, or the foundation for larger, compelling stories. To amplify the immersive quality, we directed the dancers to push the limits, bringing them as close as possible to the camera and the creator. One dancer came a little too close and kicked the lens and camera but both equipment and creator survived unscathed.
The history of breakdancing has been a journey from the South Bronx to international competitions organized by major brands like Red Bull1. Now, it is set to make its Olympic debut in Paris in 20242, taking center stage on a dance floor with the iconic Eiffel Tower as its backdrop. Whether driven by its organic growth or heightened interest due to the upcoming Olympics, our VisualGPS research indicates customer interest with breakdancing video is above expected with increased searches observed both in North America and globally over the past year.

More than a quarter of people in North America are expected to tune in this summer to watch sports that are not seen every day. Nearly one in three North Americans say watching the Olympics allows them and their families to learn about different cultures. The upcoming Olympic debut of breakdancing as a sport is significant because it brings a departure from traditional Olympic sports and introduces a high‑production spectacle that combines athleticism, art, and cultural expression. From the rooftops of Mexico City, this shoot highlights how a grassroots local street dance from the 1970s has been elevated into an internationally recognized sport that is practiced and celebrated inclusively around the world.
Works Cited
1) Red Bull BC One ‑ B‑Boy and B‑Girl competition (Red Bull)
2) Breakers Grapple With Hip‑Hop’s Big Olympic Moment (The New York Times)
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