Since its first inception breakdancing has provided a youth culture, originating
from violent urban street gangs. Today however, breakdancing culture is remarkably
constructive with a character somewhere in between those of dancers and athletes.
Since acceptance and involvement centers on dance skills, breakdancing culture
is unusually free of the common race, gender and age boundaries of a subculture.
Social interaction centers on practice and performance, which are occasionally
intertwined because of its improvisational style. While featured at dance schools,
breaking is typically taught to newbies by more experienced b-boys and passed
on to new generations in an informal word-of-mouth way.
In contrast to this social breakdancing culture there are Internet b-boys, also known as e-boys, or as they call them in Japan: Otaku b-boys. These have learned much of what they know of the dance purely from the internet and from watching videoclips, not by instruction or by the passing of knowledge from one generation to another. The reason for this might be that they do not have access to competent instructors or social circles that can provide them with teaching and inspiration. Such b-boys are by some groups looked-down upon as not having their heart in hip hop culture.
Because of its functional demands on music and clothing, breakdance culture has become largely separated from popular hip hop since the 1980s. (back)