Hong Kong needs to do more to support the city’s breakdancers

  • The dancesport is set to debut at the 2024 Paris Olympics
  • Many of Hong Kong’s dancers need to pay for their own practise areas and fund their way to international competitions
Kelly Fung |

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Kwan Man-chun breakdances in Hong Kong. The dancesport will make its Olympic debut in 2024. Photo: SCMP/ Dickson Lee

Hong Kong must learn from Taiwan and Japan and give its breakdancers better support and resources, said the man organising the qualifiers to pick those who may represent the city in the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Kwan Man-chun, a member of the committee under the Hong Kong DanceSport Association tasked to pick the Hong Kong breakdancing team, said many B-boys and B-girls have had no choice but to self-fund their way to international competitions in Europe because of a lack of support from the city.

A B-girl’s journey to the Olympic Games

“Hong Kong should learn from Taiwan and Japan, where there are even mirrors installed in train stations for dancers to gather and practise,” he said, adding that the city’s dancers have to rent spaces in industrial buildings to practise.

Skateboarding debuted at the Olympics in Tokyo this year, and in 2024 the world’s best breakdancers will gather in Paris to compete in the Games for the first time.

A total of 36 dancers – six B-boys and six B-girls from three age groups – will be selected to represent the city. The Hong Kong DanceSport Association is in charge of organising the qualifiers.

36 Hongkongers will represent the city in breakdancing at the 2024 Paris Olympics. Photo: SCMP/ Dickson Lee

After the 36 dancers have been shortlisted, they still have to go through a series of other international qualifiers to secure their places in the Paris Olympics.

Kwan, better known as ET, has been breakdancing for 18 years and owns a t-shirt printing business and clothing store in Mong Kok. He wants more support for the city’s breakdancers.

He said that many Hongkongers did not understand much about the dancesport until the decision was made to include it in the Paris Games.

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“In the past I heard people asking if breaking is still trendy,” he said. “They did not know that there is this group of people who are still breakdancing in Hong Kong.”

He says there’s long been a bias against dancesports in the city.

“Many associate breakdancers with troubled teens who fail at life. In fact, many of them hold bachelor degrees or work as professionals,” he said.

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Kwan believes the inclusion of the dancesport in the 2024 Games will provide a global platform for Hong Kong people to learn more about breakdancing.

“People no longer need to search on YouTube to know about breaking,” he said. “With Olympic recognition, more people will understand that breakdancing is a balance between sport and art, much like gymnastics.”

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