Theses Bachelor's

Internet killed the b-boy star: a study of b-boying through the lens of contemporary media

Kong, Dehui

The twentieth century could hardly be characterized without a reference to the Internet, a global system of interconnected computers that serve billions of users worldwide. As personal lives are further occupied by this new technology, the Internet has naturally also spread to the realm of education, where teachers have begun to see the Internet as a convenient, effective, and adaptable teaching tool for students both young and older. The American education rests on an oral tradition — teacher-to-student verbal communication is crucial to the system, as the norm of both parties occupying the same physical space. For dance education, this traditional method is even further rooted in the learning process; one would be hard-pressed to imagine a formal dance class in which a teacher is not physically demonstrating, in one form or another, to her students. In Barnard College's Dance Program, the Internet is utilized in a variety of ways to enhance the learning experience. Increasingly, professors have begun to use websites as legitimate sources of educational material and present websites, such as, as reliable sources of historical and/or international dance footage. This paper seeks to understand the effects of the increasing use of new media, specifically the Internet, on the traditions of b-boying since its origins in the 1970's. I seek first to establish the idea of the b-boy star-the original b-boy who embodies the style and philosophies rooted in the traditions of the 1970's. I will examine each specific element that created this "star" — his way of life, the sacredness of b-boy communities, and the foundational style of his dance form. Then, I will examine how the contemporary media, such as MTV and Reality Television, have presented the b-boy dance form to the American people. Lastly, I will discuss how the Internet undermines the core qualities of a b-boy with the creation of a virtual space or community for breaking. Ultimately, this paper seeks to understand how the Internet has changed the way that a dance can be learned, communicated, and evaluated by dancers and the rest of the world.



More About This Work

Academic Units
Dance (Barnard College)
Thesis Advisors
Garafola, Lynn
B.A., Barnard College
Published Here
March 9, 2011


Senior seminar thesis, Barnard College.