Ep. 165: Breaking Boundaries: Breakdancing’s journey from the streets to the Olympic stage; with B-Boy London Reyes

Is breaking going to be an Olympic sport?

Photo by Ilja Tulit on Unsplash

As a child of the 80s, I was intrigued to hear that breaking will be an event at the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris! Breaking exploded in popularity in the 80s, but it’s had a resurgence and is now more popular than ever. Breaking expert and insider B-Boy London Reyes tells the behind-the-scenes story of breakdancing’s history as it evolved from a street art form to an official Olympic sport. We discuss the moment the Olympic-inclusion seed was first planted; the surprising economic impact of hip hop; how breaking saves lives; how an American “product” became a global phenomenon; the challenges ahead for the art-slash-sport; and how the music involved in breaking has changed (and why).


London Reyes, also known as B-Boy London, is featured in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Hip-Hop Exhibit. London began his entertainment career as a member of the New York City Breakers in the early 1980’s, and his career has fused urban entertainment with the sports world. His experiences have included television and film work, hosting professional basketball events, running a non-profit for underprivileged youth, running for political office, and managing the internationally famous New York City Breakers.


We discuss:

  • A brief history of breaking
  • Breaking’s complex journey to being recognized as an Olympic sport
  • When and how the process first began of inclusion in the Olympics
  • Do breakers view their talent as more sport, or art?
  • The role of music in breaking; how and why the music used in breaking has changed
  • An upcoming first-of-its-kind event: Breaking Week
  • The surprising economic impact of hip hop
  • How breaking saves lives
  • How an American “product” became a global phenomenon
  • The challenges ahead for the art-slash-sport

Connect/Other Resources

Other episodes we mentioned or that you may enjoy:

In-Episode Promo

The Business Side of Music podcast

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For a convenient way to eat whole foods on the go, while supporting causes that are making the world a better place, join me in reaching for JAMBARs. Available at Amazon, select retailers, and jambar.com. For more info, you can also visit Episode 160.


London shares the significance of the the song “The Breaks” by rapper Kurtis Blow.

Closing Words

And that is a little clip of Kurtis Blow’s “The Breaks”; you can watch the full YouTube video in the show notes, and also find more info on Breaking Week. Thank you so much to London for joining us today, and enlightening us with this behind-the-scenes story of breaking’s complex journey to the Olympics. As always, there are lots of links in the show notes, including dedicated web pages for breaking on the Olympics’ site and the Paris 2024 games’ site, and articles you’ll find really interesting on breaking’s journey to the Olympics.

All Enhance Life with Music episodes are evergreen; so check out the back catalogue for more ways that music can make your life better.

You can always connect with me on email (mindy@mpetersonmusic.com), Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

Thank you so much for joining me today. Until next time, may your life be enhanced with music.

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