Have you ever found yourself lost in the whirlwind of terms surrounding breakdancing? You’re not alone. In the vibrant world of breakdancing, there’s often confusion about what it means to be a “breaker” versus a “breakdancer”, or the difference between “breaking” and “breakdancing”. So, why are there so many different words for the same thing?

Well, it all comes down to history and where these terms originated. Each word has its own story, and understanding that can help us appreciate the rich culture behind breakdancing even more. But fear not, because today, we’re going to unravel these mysteries and clarify the terminology once and for all.

So, get ready to embark on a journey of discovery. By the end of this blog, you’ll not only understand the differences between terms like “breaker” and “breakdancer,” “breaking” and “breakdancing,” but you’ll also gain a deeper insight into the culture and history that make breakdancing so captivating. It’s time to demystify the confusing terminology and uncover the true essence of breakdancing. Let’s dive in!

Breaker and breaking

In the lively world of breaking there are some special names that people use to talk about those who dance and live the hip-hop lifestyle.

What is breaking? Breaking, also known as breakdancing, is a dynamic form of street dance that involves a combination of athletic moves, footwork, spins, and freezes, all performed to the beat of hip-hop music. Breaking has evolved over the decades, influencing and being influenced by various other dance styles and cultures around the world.

Today, it remains a vibrant and integral part of hip-hop culture, celebrated in battles, competitions, performances, and social gatherings worldwide. Through breaking dance moves, dancers showcasing their creativity and individual style through intricate movements and transitions.

You might hear terms like “B-Boys,” “B-Girls,” and “breakers,” as terms to mention dancers who perform breaking movements. But why are there so many terms for that? What do these words really mean and differentiate from each other? Let’s figure them out!


Let’s break down the term “breaker” and its meaning in the world of breakdancing.

Who is a breaker? A breaker is someone who loves to dance, but it’s not just any kind of dance—it’s breakdancing! But here’s the cool part: “breaker” is a gender-neutral word, so it can refer to anyone who’s into breaking, whether they’re a guy or a girl.

Now, when we talk about a group of breakers, we call them “Breakers”. It’s like their special term, kind of like a crew or a team. Breakers are awesome because they bring so much energy and skill to the dance floor.

  • And when breakers are doing their thing—busting out those amazing moves and grooving to the beat—that’s what we call “breaking.”
  • It’s like they’re dancing to the “break” of the music, which is why it’s called breaking.

It’s all about that special moment in the song when the rhythm really kicks in, and the breakers let loose with their awesome moves.

B-Boys and B-Girls

Well, let’s move on with “B-Boys” and “B-Girls”.

What are “B-Boys” and “B-Girls”? These are like the original names for people who love breaking. They can show off their amazing moves and skills in several elements of breaking on the dance floor such as toprock, footwork, power moves and freezes. It’s a way to show respect to the roots of the dance and the culture behind it.

But have you ever wondered what the “B” stands for?

  • Well, it turns out, the “B” in B-Boy and B-Girl actually stands for “break.” So, when you hear someone talk about a B-Boy or B-Girl, they’re really talking about a Break-Boy or Break-Girl. How cool is that?
  • But wait, there’s more! Some folks say that the “B” stands for Bronx.” Why? Because breaking history got its start in the Bronx borough of New York City. So, when they say B-Boy or B-Girl, they might be referring to someone who’s got that Bronx flavor in their moves.

What is the history of breaking? The history of breaking started way back in the 1970s in New York City. DJ Kool Herc, a hip-hop pioneer, is often credited with giving birth to breaking. He did this by playing funky music and focusing on the “breaks”—the really groovy parts of songs. By the late 1970s, breakdancing was a big part of hip-hop culture, especially in neighborhoods like the Bronx and Manhattan. It was especially popular among Black and Puerto Rican youth.


  • In 1977, a group of breakdancers got together and formed the
    Some members of Rock Steady Crew
    Some members of Rock Steady Crew

    . Some of the original members were Richard “Crazy Legs” Colón, Kenneth “Ken Swift” Gabbert, and Santiago “JoJo” Torres. They were like the B-Boy pioneers of breakdancing and helped to spread the art form even further.

  • On the other hand, in the world of hip-hop, where guys mostly ruled the dance floor, there emerged a remarkable woman – Laneski, who was one of the first B-Girls to master and even invent some of the cool moves that became popular in the early 1980s. In 1983, she joined a breakdancing class led by the Seattle Circuit Breakers. The group was blown away by her skills and quickly gave her the name “LaneSki”.
Laneski - One of the first B-Girls
Laneski – One of the first B-Girls

B-Boys and B-Girls weren’t just about busting moves on the dance floor—they were also dancing from their hearts. You see, when they danced, it was like they were letting out all the feelings they had bottled up inside. Imagine living in a place where there’s a lot of poverty and crime. It can be really tough, right?

Well, that’s what life was like for many B-Boys and B-Girls. They grew up in neighborhoods where things were hard, and sometimes it felt like there was no way to escape. But when they danced, it was like they were breaking free from all that negativity. They poured their frustrations, their anger, and their sadness into their movements, and it helped them feel better.

Breakdancer and breakdancing


What is breakdancing? Breakdancing is exactly the same meaning as breaking – a vibrant style of dance that started on the streets, closely connected to hip-hop culture. But here’s the thing: the way people call it breakdancing isn’t exactly how it was originally named. It’s like there’s a little misunderstanding about it, and it all started with the media.. But the way they call breaking as breakdancing is not really

You see, the media kind of gave breakdancing a different name. Instead of calling it breaking, they started using the term breakdancing. It’s not totally wrong, but it’s not exactly on point either. Now, here’s the thing: breakers themselves never used the word “dance” at the end of their name or art form. To the real breakers, it was all about breaking, not breakdancing.

So, when the media started calling it breakdancing, it was like a small mix-up. But over time, the term caught on, especially outside of hip-hop culture.


A breaker is a also breakdancer
A breaker is a also breakdancer

What is a breakdancer? A breakdancer is someone who practices breaking, but the term itself wasn’t originally used by the breakdancers themselves. Instead, it was coined by the media when breaking started gaining attention outside of hip-hop culture.

Unaware that breaker, some outlets discovered the kids who were breaking and said they were breakdancing. So, when people heard about breakdancing, they often pictured breakdancers busting moves on the dance floor. It’s a funny thing how words can shape our perception, isn’t it? This term became how B-Boys and B-Girls were first known by everyone outside of hip-hop culture.


In today’s world, the folks who are really into breaking and live the hip-hop lifestyle have dug deep into the history of the dance. They’ve learned all about the roots of breaking and the right words to use when talking about it. They know about terms like B-Boy, B-Girl, breakers, and breaking, and they use them with pride.

But even though the serious breakers know the right words to use, the media hasn’t quite caught up. They still mostly stick to using “breakdancer” and “breakdancing” when they talk about the dance and the people who do it.

That’s why, even today, these terms are still the ones that most people outside of the hip-hop community know. It’s like the media is stuck in the past, using old-school and imprecise terms instead of the ones that the breakers themselves prefer.

But hey, as long as people keep dancing and spreading the joy of breaking, maybe eventually the media will catch on and start using the right words. Until then, breakers will keep doing their thing and showing the world what breaking is all about.

If you want to step further into the world of breakers, and know more about world of cool breaking techniques, please check out the this YouTube video below!

See also  Exploring the Charm of Common Breakdancing Moves

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