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The Dancing Turtle Keeps the Art of Breakdancing Alive

By Pamela Sosnowski

B-boying or breaking is a form of street dancing that originated from African American and Puerto Rican youth in the mid-70s which spread globally by the 1980s, often being referred to as breakdancing by the media. A lot of people mistakenly believe the dance went out of fashion along with leg warmers and shoulder pads, but at the Dancing Turtle of Albuquerque, breakdancing is alive and well, and there's a lot more to it than learning dance moves.

"Breakdancing is the perfect combination of athletics and art, providing complex physical conditioning and deep self expression," says Christopher "Check-It" Lim, the dance studio's owner and head instructor. "At The Dancing Turtle, we teach classes for anyone at any age and skill level. We embrace each individual's movement (no matter how abstract it may be) and help equip them with the tools to produce something spectacular and inspiring to themselves, their families, and community."

Lim, who has been breakdancing for 22 years and teaching it for 17, instructs both boys and girls as young as two years old as well as adults how to breakdance, typically over an 8-weeek course that teaches strength, endurance, and flexibility in addition to the moves. When the studio opened in 2015, only 15 students signed up. A year and a half later, over 100 students completed the 8-week 2016 fall season.

No matter their age or skill level, Lim encourages everyone with an interest in breakdancing to give a class a try. As he explains, learning to breakdance delivers many benefits including gaining confidence, socializing with peers, and become physically fit.

"We focus beyond the dance and implement a family atmosphere that is true to the Bboy Culture and its origin," he explains. "As each student falls more in Love with the dance, they will also increase their communication skills, confidence, flexibility, strength, rhythm, and social skills." A Breaking Sprouts class focuses on the littlest breakdancers, children ages 2 to 4, and a Dance With Me class allows parents and toddlers to learn moves together.

In addition to classes, the studio also hosts community workshops led by Lim's staff members on techniques in breakdancing, and is also home to its own official dance team, Team Turtle. The dance troupe holds a youth-lead open breakdance practice every Wednesday evening just for registered Dancing Turtle students. The studio also sponsored Freestyle Session World Finals: Kids Battle in November of 2016 and continues to host competitions locally and nationally.

The winter session class runs from January 8 to March 5, and registration may be done online at

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