A reader from Boston asks, " Whatever happened to . . . " Break Dancing

New York DJ Kool Herc coined the term "break dance" in the early 1980s when he used to spin at block parties in the Bronx. Dancers would move to the DJ's breaks in the music (remixed or "scratched" sections), whizzing around on their heads and jumping with acrobatic skill and intense rhythm.

The music and videos of pop performers like Michael Jackson and The Beastie Boys provided the background for the dance form and helped sweep it into the national spotlight. But as musical styles evolved, break dancing seemed to disappear.

Actually, it was just under the surface, living on as an inner-city art form.

Now, break dancing is again being embraced by mainstream hip-hop culture. It's featured in new music videos like "It's Like That" by Run-DMC vs. Jason Nevins and "Going Out of My Head" by Fatboy Slim. A new ad for Coca-Cola features break dancing, and it's the dance of choice at raves - popular all-night dance parties.

You can catch break dancing's best performers at international competitions, or "battles," like the annual Playstation UK Breakdance Championship in London.

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