Yes, I was once a breakdancer.

Yuck it up if you must, but back then, back when I was young (the '80s), I was pretty fucking great. Maybe even the best breaker at the Boys & Girls Club. I could do it all--backspin, windmill, headspin (admittedly not my strongest move), bopping, footwork, etc.

I spent hours every day after school perfecting my moves. I even had a breakin' name: "B-Rock."

And "B-Rock" rocked.*

Eventually, however, breakdancing fell out of style (the release of Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo may have been the last nail, although the art had already lost a lot of its luster well before then). I quickly turned to skateboarding, and breakdancing sank below my radar, my illustrious breaking past turning to a faded memory (I still occasionally refer to myself as "B-Rock," but usually only during sex, when it is received by a roll of the eyes and a polite laugh, as most things I do during sex are).

At any rate (and there is a point to this story, other than how spectacular I am--sex excluded), now breakdancing is making a serious comeback, as anyone who has been to the Paris on a Wednesday night can attest, and I am once again reminded of the splendor that was my breakin' past. Such an occurance has, of course, made me long for my own breakin' days (although breakin' is now called "b-boying," evidently). Though I never competed, at least not officially (there were occasional scrimmages at the Boys & Girls Club), my trips to underground hiphop shows of late have resulted in an urge to fling myself out on the floor and show the kids how it's done (a foolish, completely unrealistic fantasy to have, seeing as how my body would quickly crumple and fold, tendons breaking, muscles straining, until nothing was left but a 27-year-old puddle in the center of the circle). This fantasy is a result of two things: (1) my fear of growing older (or, my longing to be younger), and (2) the vast change in style from the days when I was a breaker and the current b-boying style. For example:

The reader should note that whereas illustration A shows a fluid, routine oriented style, illustration B is centered more on specific moves. In other words, the classic style of '80s breakin'--bopping, to footwork, to backspin, to windmill, to headspin, to finish--has given way in '01 style, to a freer form--upright footwork, to spectacular twisting handstand move, to lowered footwork, to freaky twisting handstand backflip mid-air pivot thing that looks really, really dangerous, to (maybe) a little bit of windmill to finish. (And if it sounds like I'm talking out of my ass, you are only partially correct.)

Such a progression in style is, of course, to be expected, but as brilliant as today's breakers (or b-boyers) are, I still long for the old-school style, one built upon entire routines, where battles between crews resulted in a clear victor.

* Note: My prowess as a breakdancer may, in fact, be somewhat exaggerated. And, although I was a white kid breakin' at the lame-ass Boys & Girls Club, I still feel infinitely qualified to comment on breakdancing due to my countless hours of studying tapes of breakdancing competitions when I was young.