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What is the difference between breakdancing and Parkour? – History and Video Blog

13 Nov
The definitions:

Parkour: (French pronunciation: ​[paʁˈkuʁ]) (abbreviated PK) is a holistic training discipline using movement that developed from obstacle course training. Practitioners aim to quickly and efficiently overcome obstacles in their environment, using only their bodies and their surroundings to propel themselves; furthermore, they try to maintain as much momentum as is possible in a safe manner. Parkour can include running, climbing, swinging, vaultingjumping, rolling, quadrupedal movement, and the like, depending on what movement is deemed most suitable for the given situation. 
Parkour is non-competitive. It may be performed on an obstacle course, but is usually practiced in a creative, and sometimes playful, reinterpretation or subversion of urban spaces. Parkour involves seeing one’s environment in a new way, and imagining the potentialities for movement around it.
Developed in France primarily by Raymond BelleDavid Belle, and Sébastien Foucan, during the late 1980s, Parkour became popular in the late 1990s and 2000s through films, documentaries, and advertisements featuring these practitioners and others.
Parkour’s training methods have inspired a range of other activities, includingfreerunning and l’art du déplacement. Although their creators define them as separate activities, practitioners and non-practitioners alike often find it difficult to discern the differences between them.


B-boying or Breaking, also called Breakdancing: is a style of street dance that originated among Black and Puerto Rican youths in New York City during the early 1970s. The dance spread worldwide due to popularity in the media, especially in regions such as South Korea, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia, and Japan. While diverse in the amount of variation available in the dance, b-boying consists of four kinds of movement: toprockdownrockpower moves, and freezes. B-boying is typically danced to hip-hop and especially breakbeats, although modern trends allow for much wider varieties of music along certain ranges of tempo and beat patterns. 

A practitioner of this dance is called a b-boy, b-girl, or breaker. Although the term “breakdance” is frequently used to refer to the dance, “b-boying” and “breaking” are the original terms. These terms are preferred by the majority of the pioneers and most notable practitioners.

The History of Parkour

Trying to pinpoint the exact moment of the birth of Parkour is no easy task. In fact, it may actually prove to be an impossibility. Something as nebulous and indefinable as this thing we practice tends to defy classification. Already it boasts several names, in more than one language: Le Parkour, the Art of Movement, Freerunning, L’Art du Deplacement, to name but a few. And even if you do settle on a name, there is then the tricky little problem of what that name refers to – Is it a sport? Or an art? Or a philosophy perhaps? Or maybe it is better termed a discipline?


Truth is, there is no consensus on this. And – which really hefts a giant spanner into the works – you can’t just go and ask the founding father because this great movement is pretty damn far from being a nuclear family, 2.4 kids and all the rest. No. This child has had a whole host of surrogate step-parents influencing its development down through the years, the centuries, indeed even through the millennia. It has drawn on many sources, supped on inspiration from all over, and drunk from a hundred different cups as it has evolved – and by no means is this process over.
So where do we start in an attempt to get a grip on all this? Not at the beginning, because the gods only know where that was. Not at the end, because that isn’t even in sight. Seems the best we can do is to start somewhere in the middle, and give credit where it’s due to a certain little town in France.
The French Connection
To the south of Paris rest the sleepy, suburban towns of Evry, Sarcelles and Lisses, places no different from any other of the hundreds of satellites orbiting the French capital, save for one small fact: these places were home to a group of nine young men widely acknowledged as having crystallized a number of influences to create something then called l’Art du Deplacement, sometime in the 1980s. At the core of this group were Yann Hnautra and David Belle, who drove much of the early training and have since become known as the originators of the art. These childhood friends formed the group which called itself ‘Yamakasi’, a Lingala word meaning ‘Strong man, strong spirit’, and for over a decade they practised their discipline together and alone, reviled by the French authorities and seen as wildmen by the local public.
What style of dance is Parkour?
 
Parkour, as we have seen, is not something easily categorized. Perhaps inevitably however, as the community grew and numbers swelled, attempts to define and classify became commonplace. By nature an art that encourages freedom of movement and individual expression, it is difficult – if not impossible – to formalise a structured system that contains it whilst at the same time allowing for the subjective approaches of its practitioners. Matters were further complicated by the simple fact that David Belle – acknowledged as one of the gurus of Parkour – chose at first not to release any succinct and clear definition for others to refer to, and so the debates raged and schisms between the different perspectives ensued.
 
History of Breakdancing
 
Many elements of b-boying can be seen in other antecedent cultures prior to the 1970s. B-boy pioneers Richard “Crazy Legs” Colon and Kenneth “Ken Swift” Gabbert, both of Rock Steady Crew, cite James Brown and Kung-Fu films as influences to b-boying. Many of b-boying’s more acrobatic moves, such as the flare, show clear connections to gymnastics. An Arab street dancer performing acrobatic headspins was recorded by Thomas Edison in 1898. However, it was not until the 1970s that b-boying developed as a defined dance style.

Beginning with DJ Kool Herc, Bronx-based DJs would take the rhythmic breakdown sections (also known as the “breaks”) of dance records and prolong them by looping them successively. The breakbeat provided a rhythmic base that allowed dancers to display their improvisational skills during the duration of the break. This led to the first battles—turn-based dance competitions between two individuals or dance crews judged with respect to creativity, skill, and musicality. These battles occurred in cyphers—circles of people gathered around the breakers. Though at its inception the earliest b-boys were “close to 90 percent African-American”, dance crews such as “SalSoul” and “Rockwell Association” were populated almost entirely by Puerto Rican-Americans.

 
To most Americans, even to casual fans of hip hop, breakdancing was a fad whose moment passed before the end of the ’80s, tossed into the decade’s time capsule along with acid wash and decent John Hughes movies.

And in some sense, they’re right. Breakdancing burst onto the national scene in the early 1980s, fueled by a media obsession with hip hop, enjoyed a love affair with the spotlight that lasted a few years, and then fell out of the glare just as quickly as it had located it.
Breakdancing may have died, but the b-boy, one of four original elements of hip hop (also included: the MC, the DJ, and the graffiti artist) lives on. To those who knew it before it was tagged with the name breakdancing, to those still involved in the scene that they will always know as b-boying, the tradition is alive and, well, spinning.

Breakdancing seems so different from all other kinds of dancing that the first question people ask when they see it is: “Where did these kids learn to dance like that?” To many people, this dance seems to have come out of nowhere. But like everything else, Breakdance did come from somewhere, something and someone. In the case of Breakdancing, the someone is the great superstar, James Brown, and the something is the dance, the Good Foot. In 1969, when James Brown was getting down with his big hit “Get on the Good Foot” the Hustle was the big dance style of the day. If you’ve ever seen JamesBrown live in concert or on TV, then you know he can really get down. And when he preformed his hit, he did the kind of dance you’d expect James Brown to do. High Energy. This almost acrobatic dance was appropriately enough known as the lot of kids around New York City.

Compiled By: Josh Martin

Sources:

Wikipedia

Parkour Generations

NPR

Global Darkness

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Posted by on November 13, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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