May 3, 2024 - News

This Houstonian wants to break into the Olympics break-dancing team

Photo of Jeffrey Jeffro Louis breakdancing

Photo: Melissa Phillip/Houston Chronicle via Getty Images

Houstonian Jeffrey Louis is vying for a spot on the USA Olympic break-dancing team as the sport makes its Olympic debut this summer in Paris.

Why it matters: Breaking — an urban dance style with roots in hip-hop culture that originated in the U.S. and was commercialized by 1980s pop culture — faced an uphill battle to get on the Olympic stage.

  • Louis tells Axios that Houston's diversity inspires his dance, saying he draws from the city's various cultures

What he's saying: "I pull from my friends. I've got Colombian friends, Mexican friends, and they're teaching me. I've learned all the dances, whether it's bachata, cumbia, salsa, merengue, everything. I pull from all of those things, and I add it to my dance," Louis says.

  • "Houston is just a melting pot of different cultures, styles, and I use that to build myself up."

State of play: The 29-year-old, known as B-Boy Jeffro, is one of two finalists aiming to claim the last men's spot on the U.S. team.

  • Louis will compete against Miguel "Gravity" Angel Rosario this spring in the two-part Olympic Qualifier Series.

The intrigue: Alief-born and -raised, Louis found his passion for breaking at Westside High School and the University of Houston, and he is ranked as one of the best break dancers in the world, according to the World DanceSport Federation, dancing's international governing body.

Flashback: In 2020, the International Olympic Committee accepted a proposal to have breaking make its debut at the 2024 Games in Paris, in an effort to attract a younger audience.

  • "This is the biggest opportunity breaking has ever seen … We finally get to educate people on what breaking is," he tells the Houston Chronicle.

How it works: The breaking competition at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games in August comprises two events — one for men and one for women — where 16 B-boys and 16 B-girls will face off in one-on-one throw-downs, each lasting a minute.

What's next: The first qualifying event will take place in Shanghai from May 16 to 19, with the final stage of the Olympic Qualifier Series scheduled for June 20 to 23 in Budapest.

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