Breakin (bboying, bgirling) is the chosen dance
Breakin is not just airflares and sick freezes. There is text
Hip-hop music was a collage of funk sounds and poetry threaded together by drum breaks. The music itself is a pastiche thanks to / due to technological advancements: the twin record players extending and looping the break. It was meant to be worldwide, even if it was made for Bronx block parties.
"We were kids just having fun", they said. Joy and struggle spread like wildfire.
Hip-hop's original dance was breakin', which took every dance and movement arts under the sun and extracted patterns to make it ill, threaded together by footwork and flow. Breakin is practiced worldwide from Siberia to to Mexico to Algeria to India to Thailand. The internet made a world-wide village, of which breakin now feeds every dance which used to feed it. Every race and ethnic group and subculture imprints and is imprinted by this dance; it is a mixed-raced American child who lives in the bodies of young people around the world.
The movement culture of breakin' lifestyle is represented by three aspects, which extrapolates to larger patterns of life.
Each of these things contain the other.
The cypher is a circle of standing bodies that create the stage. The stage is a micro-representation of life, which is combative and fluid. Outsiders don't get the cypher experience, has to tiptoe to peek. One must be present fully, as in life. You must jump in. The experience is a duality of watcher and performer, continuously flowing from one to the next in an infinite loop. When two enter, one must leave for the other to take his turn. We all take turns to dance, one at a time, an unspoken conversation. If there is a breakdown in turns, a battle happens. Call-out happens when there is a disagreement in the conversation. Everyone has a role, and roles are dynamic. The music (of life) dictates. There is an element of free-will, mostly based on courage. Choice: to step in or to remain. The circle is broken by a bboy who explodes the energy outward, or devolves into an uprock free-for-all (chaos of war). This encompasses the struggle of life, where each has his moment in the sun.
The jam is the harvest, the gathering. Jams used to be pretty rare, then it was every weekend, and now it is rare again. All that hard work and toil. Cyphers, battles, exhibitions, vendors's bazaar, friendship-making, and parties are found here. None of the listed aspects are exlusive to jams; they are not too important by themselves. The idea is the community get-together, and nowadays the community is world wide. It is a battleground and peace-ground, where we are joined together in the music. Outsiders, lone wolves are welcomed, like in a good village, which excludes no one.
The practice is the reality of life: work. Give us this day our daily footwork, all day every day. You travel to practice, hit a session spot. You lab with the homies, or make homies out of strangers. The practice eventually lets you live inside the movement. We seek knowledge in practice, and develop wealth. If you do the work you're supposed to be doing, life's awesome.
Each of these contains the other. A cypher is a mini-jam. The "practice" that happens inside the cypher isn't the moves, it's the movement, the roles, how to behave, how to speak. A practice of long-time friends reunited is a jam, in which there can be a cypher. OG's say you shouldn't practice at a jam. Why not? Everything is practice.
This is why breakin has "good legs" and survived the mass appeal of the late 80's, which was just to sell hamburgers and energy drinks. It will survive TV and the internet and wars. It will survive the mass appeal of the Olympics, which turns it into a sport with points and judges. Breakin' is a relationship with self, others, and life. It's not even dance, it's to live, it's to dream. It is art, and God is the judge.