What is Breaking & What is a BBoy?
Breaking, or more commonly known to mainstream audiences as breakdancing, has attracted a larger audience base and following since its genesis in early 1970s among African American and Puerto Rican communities in New York City. Through the combination of power, strength, flexibility and originality into an athletic style of street dance, breaking has captivated people worldwide with major breakdancing events, such as Red Bull BC One, drawing mass viewership along with an increased pool of breakdancers vying for a spot at the top.
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Practitioners of this dance style are commonly referred to as breakers or breakdancers. Specifically, a male practitioner of breaking is called a b-boy, which stands for break-boy, while a female practitioner of the style is called a b-girl, which stands for break-girl. These original terms were used to describe dancers who would dance to the breakbeats of DJ Kool Herc, who is widely regarded as a pioneer and godfather of Hip-Hop.
With breaking making its olympic debut at the upcoming 2024 Olympics in Paris, this street dance style has become even more competitive B-Boys constantly pushing their skills and mastery of the dance to the next level. Here are ten B-Boys you should be looking out for who are repping their unique style of breaking from various parts of the world!
Top 10 BBoys You Need To Watch
1. B-Boy Menno, the Netherlands
When talking about the top b-boys in the world, B-Boy Menno is a name that can’t be left out of the conversation.
Menno Van Gorp, also known as B-Boy Menno, is considered to be one of the top b-boys in the world. Hailing from the Netherlands, Menno has taken the top spot at the most renowned breaking events worldwide. Most notably, he has won Red Bull BC One not just once, but three times, in 2014, 2017 and 2019 – a feat not many have reached.
Known for his fluid transitions and unique style, Menno also won big at the 2019 WDSF World Breaking Championship and came in second at the 2019 World Urban Games.
2. B-Boy Wing, South Korea
Following in the footsteps of his older brother B-Boy Skim, HeonWoo Kim, also known as B-Boy Wing, started breaking in 1999 and has never looked back.
Representing the Jinjo crew, 7 Commandoz and Red Bull BC One All Stars, B-Boy Wing has battled and performed all over the world and boasts an extensive list of wins such as the 2008 Red Bull BC One World Finals and the 2018 Battle of the Year World Finals.
B-Boy Wing is well-known for his light, fluid, intricate and clean style that continues to wow breakers worldwide.
3. B-Boy Issei, Japan
Born in Japan, Issei Hori, also known as B-Boy Issei, has been breaking since he was just six years old.
Representing the Foundnation Crew, B-Boy Issei has won the title at multiple international breaking competitions such as the 2013 IBE Super Solo Battle, as well as the 2016 Red Bull BC One World Final.
His exciting style is known to be very musical, playful and filled with high-energy power moves.
4. B-Boy Hong 10, South Korea
Kim Hong-Yul, known as B-Boy Hong 10, represents Flow XL, 7 Commandoz crew, and is a member of the Red Bull BC One All Stars.
Besides cementing his status as a legendary breaker through his two prolific wins at the Red Bull BC One competition in 2006 and 2013, his breathtaking competition battle performances and innovative take on breaking has wowed many for years. One of the moves showcasing how unreal he is as a B-Boy is his upside down ‘two-finger freeze’ – a move in which he supports his entire body while freezing upside down with just two fingers.
5. B-Boy Shigekix, Japan
Hailing from Japan, Nakarai Shigeyuki, also known as B-Boy Shigekix, started breaking when he was seven after being inspired by his older sister B-Girl Ayane.
Having won numerous breaking competitions worldwide, B-Boy Shigekix was the youngest breaker to be invited to compete at the Red Bull BC One World Final in 2017 at only 15 years of age.
As a world-class B-Boy, B-Boy Shigekix is known for his musicality, fast and controlled power moves, and on-the-beat freezes.
6. B-Boy Bumblebee, Russia
Sergey Chernyshev, also known as B-Boy Bumblebee, fell in love with breaking through his father who was one of the pioneers of breaking in Voronezh, Russia.
As a member of the Outstanding crew, B-Boy Bumblebee’s style is described as complex yet made to look effortless. He won third place at the 2019 World Urban Games and won a gold medal at the 2018 Youth Games where breaking made its first olympic debut.
7. B-Boy Lilou, France
Born in France and of Algerian descent, B-Boy Lilou, also known as Ali Ramdani, has been breaking since 1997. B-Boy Lilou represents the Pockemon Crew and the all-star team LEGION X.
In 2009, B-Boy Lilou became the first B-Boy to have ever won the Red Bull BC One Championships twice. He is known for his musicality, agility, as well as his playful, humorous and creative style which has amazed and inspired breakers around the world.
8. B-Boy Phil Wizard, Canada
Representing Canada and his crews Red Bull Bull BC One All Stars, United Rivals and 7 Commandoz, Philip Kim, also known as B-Boy Phil, won the title at the 2022 World Breaking Championships in Korea. He edged out stiff competition such as Shigekix, the 2018 Buenos Aires Youth Olympic Games Bronze medalist for breaking, making him one of the crowd favourites for winning a gold medal at the 2024 Olympic Games.
Since picking up the style in 2009, B-Boy Phil has gone on to win multiple titles such as the 2017 and 2018 Red Bull BC One Cyphers, the 2018 Undisputed World B-Boy Series, as well as achieving two years of consecutive wins at the IBE solo competition in 2018 and 2019.
B-Boy Phil is definitely a breaker you need to watch since he is constantly improving his craft and refining his style.
9. B-Boy Victor, United States of America
Coming from the USA, B-Boy Victor has won numerous titles for breaking, most notably at the Red Bull BC One World Final in 2015, and more recently at the Red Bull BC One finals held in New York City in November 2022.
Also known as Victor Montalvo, B-Boy Victor has been breaking since 2005 at the age of 11 after being inspired by his father and cousins, who were breakers at the time.
Known for his varied style, strong foundations in the dance, as well as his signature move, the Super Montalvo, which is a one-handed spin, B-Boy Victor has his eyes set on the podium at the 2024 Olympic Games. You’ll definitely hear more about him in the near future!
10. B-Boy Lee, the Netherlands
Hailing from the Netherlands, 21-year-old B-Boy Lee, also known as Lee-Lou Demierre, has been breaking ever since he was two-years-old, inspired by his mother who was a B-Girl.
Representing The Ruggeds, B-Boy Lee is also a new Red Bull BC One All Star and is known for his unique flow and slides. This has earned him second place at the recent 2022 Red Bull BC One competition.
This list is by no means exhaustive – there are so many B-Boys out there pushing the level of breaking to the next level. Didn’t find your pick of top B-Boys on the list? Drop us your suggestions in the comments below.
Winning competitions isn’t the only thing that’s important in breaking. At the end of the day, what matters, according to B-Boy Lee, is to “just be yourself.” In breaking, B-Boy Lee shares, “Hard work pays off so don’t let the opinions of other people affect you too much. Breaking taught me to be free. To have no barriers and move how I want to move.”
In the meantime, if you want to learn how to breakdance right now and learn all the foundational breaking moves, check out our free course that takes you through everything you need to know about breaking.