New partnership to boost breakdancing in Birmingham and beyond ahead of Olympics

Birmingham City University has joined forces with internationally renowned breakdancing company Break Mission to train a new generation of competitors ahead of the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.


Following confirmation that ‘breaking’ – breakdancing’s original name and what it will be called when competitors take to the floor in Paris – will be a new Olympic sport, experts from the University’s sports science team will collaborate with the collective of ‘breakers’, DJs and producers to help them prepare and to raise the profile of their work in Birmingham and beyond.

The partnership will see the University open up its sports and research facilities, including its strength and conditioning suite, to breaking competitors. BCU sport science and coaching staff will also study the breakers, analysing and gathering information on their moves and their physical demands, to gain a better understanding of what they do and ultimately enhance their performance.

Dr Matt Cole, Associate Professor in Sport and Exercise Nutrition at Birmingham City University, said:

“It’s exciting to be joining up with Break Mission, particularly with the Olympics looming. It will be great if we could play a part in helping them produce a potential medal winner at the Paris Games.

Breakers are athletes, no doubt. They require strength, stamina, flexibility and great timing to perform their moves. But all athletes benefit from coaching and analysis, so we’ll be studying their techniques, looking at the stresses and strains that breaking places on their bodies and how we can counter them, as well as offering nutritional advice to help them stay in shape.

Hopefully we can hone their skills and ready them for some serious competition.

Dr Matt Cole, Associate Professor in Sport and Exercise Nutrition

Breaking is a form of street dance that emerged from African American and Puerto Rican communities in the United States in the 1970s. Made up of acrobatic moves and carefully choreographed footwork, breaking is usually set to music such as Funk, Rock and Disco, which contains looped drum break segments.

Inspired by a breaking event held in New York by The Bronx Boys Rocking Crew, Break Mission, which was established ten years ago, is now a leading breaking organisation working within the UK. Since its beginnings it has held over 60 major events, performances and workshops at home and overseas, and involving some of the top breakers – also known as B-Boys and B-Girls – from across the world.

As well as performing and competing in events, Break Mission is focussed on raising awareness of social issues, particularly poverty and homelessness. Break Mission is a registered community interest company (CIC) and has worked with charities to support vulnerable groups through food donations and distribution of recycled clothing.

Its founders hope that alongside improving competition performance, the partnership with Birmingham City University will alert people to the positive cultural and social impact of the breaking community and will encourage others to come forward and join the movement.

David ‘Footloose’ Russell, Break Mission co-founder, said:

“We’re really pleased to be working with Birmingham City University. Like us, they’re focussed on helping people transform themselves and the world around them in a constructive way.

“We hope working with them will help us spread the word about how breaking can help people come together to express themselves and connect with others in a communal celebration of our way of life.

“But of course, we’re also really excited about working with the University’s sports department to sharpen our skills ahead of breaking’s Olympic debut in Paris.”


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