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Breakdancing team set for SEA Games

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Cambodian breakdancers pose for a group photo. The classic ‘street dance’ has been declared a sport by the Olympics and others. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Breakdancing team set for SEA Games

The Cambodia DanceSport Federation (CDSF) will audition and select the nation’s best breakdancers in order to form a competitive national breakdancing team for the 32nd Southeast Asian (SEA) Games to be held in Cambodia in 2023, in a first for both the Kingdom and the federation.

Dancing is one of the 38 sports that the Cambodian SEA Games Organising Committee (CAMSOC) has included in the games, the biggest biennial multi-sports event in Southeast Asia.

Breakdancing is an athletic style of street dance originally associated with hip-hop music and the inner city African-American communities of the US. It is characterised by the use of difficult stunts such as head-spins and other acrobatic moves. There is a long tradition of both informal and formal competition between breakdancers since the art was originally invented as a means for youths to show off and try to outdo each other, whether at school, in a public park or on the street.

CDSF said it has chosen breakdancing as one of the 12 disciplines to compete in because it saw a high potential given the talent level in the new discipline among some of Cambodia’s most youthful dancers.

“Breakdancing athletes have been training since childhood [here in Phnom Penh] with the NGO Tiny Toones, and they have already competed abroad several times and achieved remarkable results,” CDSF secretary-general Hang Simon told The Post on October 17.

According to Simon, the selection of breakdancing athletes will also take place with support from the Japanese DOD Dance School, which will provide both coaching and training here in Cambodia and abroad in Japan.

Four athletes – two women and two men – will be selected to train, with two of them serving as reserve athletes for both the men’s and women’s events, she noted. They will be selected by a Japanese coach to train in Cambodia for two months before receiving an additional three months of training in Japan to strengthen their technical abilities.

“Although it is a new event, breakdancing is also an Olympic sport now. We believe in the ability of our athletes in this new discipline because we have the support of the Japanese DOD Dance School, which is famous for its dance training. Compared to other countries in the region, we definitely have enough capacity to compete for medals.

“Our athletes will be training in Cambodia from this month onwards before being selected to travel to Japan to train for an additional three months between December and January. Then we will select one male and one female athlete for the breakdancing competition,” she added.

Sov Tong, head coach of the Cambodian national dance team, echoed Simon’s remarks, after seeing the technical ability of the local dancers despite breakdancing being a new discipline for the SEA Games.

“Based on their experience and the dancing technique of our athletes who have been training for a long time as well as receiving additional training from Japanese coaches in both Cambodia and Japan, I believe we will have enough ability to compete for medals at the 2023 SEA Games in Cambodia,” he told The Post.

According to the coach, CDSF will also send its athletes in some forms of dance to train in China in December to strengthen their technical level and ability to compete for medals.

Breakdancing was first introduced at the 2019 SEA Games, with five countries competing in the event: the hosts the Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand.

Established in 2016, CDSF has so far sent athletes to compete in the SEA Games in the Philippines in 2019 and in Vietnam earlier this year, but has so far come up short with no medal wins.

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