How Breakdancing Benefited My Creativity both Physically and Mentally
Written by Ricardo Roderick-Cornejo aka Cartel
Shy, stressed and emotionally lost, I walked past my high-school hallways unconfidently. Everyone and everything felt new and even though we were halfway past freshman year, I still felt unseen. It was at that moment where I felt the vibrations of an 808 beat shake the floor, and saw things done with the human body I didn’t even know were possible. Between the detailed dancing and the swiftness of people spinning on their heads, I was instantly engaged. At that moment I decided that I wanted to be a part of this culture, and be able to inspire others in the same way I was. That decision shaped my life then in ways I never would have imagined, and it was by far the best decision I ever made for myself in life.
Since then, I’ve had experiences very few get the opportunity to be a part of. Between being flown out to perform with celebrities and winning national competitions, breakdancing gave my life structure in more ways than you can imagine. The greatest part of it all? Anyone, and I mean ANYONE, can be a part of this culture. It’s supportive to a plethora of communities, welcoming anyone who wants to pass down the tradition of New York’s iconic Hip-Hop history. Although it was popular in the 80’s, most today would say it’s even bigger now than before. It’s 2021, and Breakin’ (the official term for Breakdancing) has more opportunities now than ever. Instead of asking yourself why you should be interested in breakin’, let me educate you on what you could be missing out on instead.
Pictured above: One of my current students BBoy CheX
Breakin’ is a combination of many artforms, each one benefiting the human body just as strong as the last. The dancing aspect alone morphed me from a stiff off-key dancer to a musically inclined artist. I’ve noticed eight counts in almost everything I listen to now, and completely have a deeper understanding and appreciation for music. Every instrument and symphony has never gone unnoticed since then. It has also given me a deeper understanding of my body and the way it functions. I now have more control and self-awareness than I’ve had, making me healthier and more flexible than I’ve ever experienced. Through these lessons I can now spin and fall in any direction as I please without hurting myself. On top of that, after years of learning how to lift my weight upside down, I’ve also managed to gain a lot of muscle all over my physique. Just as breakin’ has helped me evolve physically in a fun and creative way, it also helped grow my character mentally.
As effortlessly as it seems, breakin’ taught me a lot of discipline. Some moves come easier than others, but most of the complex movements take a lot of time to learn. It’s easy to give up on things we aren’t comfortable with, but breakin’ makes the movements worth the time. Achieving one move after another, you would imagine that the best thing you can get out of this is being able to show it off in front of your friends and family. But if I’m being completely honest the best reward you can gain is proving to yourself that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to. It gave me the confidence I didn’t have before, and made life easier to work though since then. Everyday conversations are now more fluid and less like an awkward interaction. Being introduced to breakin’ in high school helped me get through the years in a mentally healthy way. Between the stress of what was happening at home and at school, Breakin’ offered me a creative outlet to release that energy. It gave me a break from the world and let me express myself in a non-harmful way. On top of feeling alone, the community welcomed me with a place of belonging and care. In a lot of ways, I can thank Breakin’ for helping me keep my mental health under control and positive.
Mentally and physically, Breakin’ gave me the structure I needed to get through everyday interactions. It gave me confidence, strength and multiple career options. I’ve won more than 30 professional competitions all over the country, giving me an excuse to explore other states. I’ve performed on live television on multiple occasions, sometimes for ESPN and others on NBA games. Most currently I spend my career passing on the tradition to the youth, reliving my growth and happiness through them. It’s healthy, fun and creative. Who wouldn’t want that gift for themselves or the ones you love? For more information on how to be a part of this opportunity, you can hit us up!!!
Thanks for reading!