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break dancing

or break·danc·ing

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noun
  1. a style of acrobatic dancing originating in the mid-1970s, often performed to rap music usually by teenage males in the streets, and characterized by intricate footwork, pantomime, spinning headstands, tumbling, and elaborate improvised virtuosic movements.
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Origin of break dancing

the sense of break is unclear; cf. breakdown
Also called break, breaking.
Related formsbreak dancer, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Word Origin and History for break dancing

n.

1982, but the style itself evolved late 1970s in South Bronx. The reference is to the rhythmic break in a pop-dance song (see break (n.)), which the DJs isolated and the dancers performed to. Breakdown "a riotous dance, in the style of the negroes" is recorded from 1864.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper