For an upcoming workshop at Global Kids, I've been doing some investigation into the links between conflict resolution and breaking / b-boying. The evidence that I've seen is very thin and unsubstantiated at this point, largely based on a few period dancer's recollections and assertions.
Here's some theories:
- B-boy Trac-2 in an NPR interview maintained that back in the day, gangs would send in their respective leaders to battle on the dancefloor to settle their differences. There are no specific accounts that I can find of where this actually occurred however. Others maintain that dance battles might set off fights between gangs.
- Another theory is that b-boying was an alternative to gangs, enabling young people to get respect among their peers for something non-violent. For a lucky few, it became (at least temporarily) a means of making money and getting fame beyond their neighborhood.
- As breaking emerged as an international phenomenon (as documented in the film "Planet B-Boy"), it has become a way for youth from around the world to connect with each other through a common pursuit.
- Finally, on a more psychological level, breaking is a way of releasing negative energy into a more positive pursuit.
If anyone has anything more substantial, I would love to see it.