Break-dancing will kill you… Or not!
Review ( answer!!!) to the article Break-dancing will kill you by Sarah K. Smith ( 2009).
Wednesday afternoon, seating in the library, “studying”… Well, my brain can’t take it anymore, so the model student that I am decides to do what every student would do: try to find a way to focus on my study…through facebook :-p
Nothing intrusting as usual, nea bather ( I looooove Scotland) since the main purpose of my facebookal visit is to get my head away from anything that smells academic… oh wait! What’s that? One of my contacts just posted a link accompanied by a comment sweating rage and anger, let me quote: “that woman doesn’t know anything about b.boying, who the f*** does she think she is?”. Wow wow wow! Who did what? Noisy Me wants to know! The link gets me to the NBC 10 website, it is an article titled: BREAK DANCE WILL KILL YOU. Excuuuuuuuuse me?
I read through the article and all that comes in my mind is: “for my ghetto blaster’s sake who allowed that woman to write that piece of none-sense?” the Article is written by Sarah K. Smith, professional waltzer (???). Let’s be fair, she pretends have read the report of a German university on injuries in break-dancing (sorry for speculating , but I’m pretty sure she only read the abstract!) Well, I read that academic paper myself (full version: $32 to access it, aaaargh!), actually I studied b-boying for my dance medicine module at university and truth need to be told it is not the most safe activity in the world…but you know what? Neither are classical ballet, contemporary dance, jazz dance, gymnastic, kung fu, football, sky diving, cooking, driving, walking, throwing knifes at your friends, jumping off a cliff, talking back to your mother (believe me that one is the most dangerous of all), etc. Moreover, it is practically impossible to go through a dance carrier without experience injuries except if you are really lucky. And even-more-than-moreover (yeah! my very own person decided that it was proper English), if you meet someone older than 16 (the age of the youngest b-boy in the report if I remember well) who NEVER injured themselves, congratulation, you just met Clark Kent!
Let’s be serious for a bit, the reason why the report of the German university is so alarming is that no epidemiological survey regarding musculoskeletal injuries in b-boying has been effectuated since the 1980’s and so as every style of dance, b-boying changes and evolves, and this evolution gives birth to a bench of super heroes ( look at the Rivers,[the Korean crew] they don’t dance, they fly! ), relatively ain’t-scared-of-anything type of b-boys and b-girls not waiting for dance specialists ( to busy squatting the nice and warm dance studios) to come down in the street in order to evaluate if b-boying was respecting any health and safety policy. Now that the urban dances are starting to make their ways in the very elitist world of dance, academics and scientists start to timidly acknowledge the need of reporting and developing methods to prevent injuries in b-boying. Round of applause for that!
What really bothers me about that article is the way, the so-called journalist looks down on b-boys and b-girls. Shall I say it in Aretha’s words, all I’m asking it aaaaaaaaaaaaa little respect! According to her, b-boys are “vulgar youths who stand around outside on scraps of cardboard, painfully gyrating while shrouded in enormous pants and shirts, and spinning, pointlessly, on their heads to loud music.” I personally find this appreciation pretty poor coming from a professional dancer…hum…waltzer… (talking about pointlessly spinning…). I really am hoping that she used the word “vulgar” as in “ common people”… “@_@” <= (reader thinking: Sankara, are you REALLY thinking that “common people” is what she meant?) … hahaha, I can be so naive sometimes ^-^. In the same line of thought, claiming that “most break-dancers are already too brain damaged to even know what protective gear is” is none to say the less insulting. The writer needed an easy target in order to write a well trashy article; therefore she decided to attack b-boying, using the misconception of Hip Hop culture that the media continually spread (shrouded in enormous pants and shirts…Loud music…).
To (Finally!!!) conclude I’ll just paraphrase a passage of the ( must-read) book Foundation: B-Boys, B-Girls and Hip Hop Culture in New-York by Joseph Schloss: To study and understand b-boying (and allow yourself to believe that you have the required knowledge in that field to talk about it) you need to be personally involved in it. Before opening your mouth about something you don’t know, please think… or at least use google!
May the Funk be with you …Spread luv…
Schloss G. 2009. “Foundation: B-Boys, B-Girls and Hip Hop Culture in New-York” Oxford University Press, USA