KAWASAKI--Breakdancers in Japan are busting a move over a proposal for its inclusion in the 2024 Paris Olympics.

However, basic knowledge of the dance activity and its charms are not well known in this country.

Still, Japan has produced some of the world's best breakdancers, including 17-year-old Ram, real name Ramu Kawai. She won a gold medal in the B-Girl competition at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires in October 2018.

Ram mainly practices her moves in a studio here to bouncy music like hip-hop and R&B. The senior at Yurigaoka Senior High School doesn’t participate in club activities, but hones her dancing skills mainly in the studio after class.

“Ram is my dance name. It comes from my real name, Ramu,” she said. “All ‘breakin’ dancers have their own dance names.”

In the breakdancing community, the dance is commonly referred to as “breakin.’”

There are four basic elements: “toprock,” which is performed in a standing position; “footwork,” which involves showing footwork steps in a bent-over posture; “power moves,” which are acrobatic tricks performed using the head, shoulders and other parts of the body; and “freezes,” during which the dancer halts all bodily motion. Breakin’ is a freestyle dance form, with performers improvising their moves to music.

In addition to one-on-one competitions, performers also challenge each other in teams of several people. But it is basically a turn-based “battle” format in which they show off their dance moves. Dancers are judged for their style, musicality and creativity.

Until now, winners were determined based on the subjective opinions of the judges. But that changed after breakdancing was included in the Youth Olympics last year and was proposed for inclusion in the Summer Olympics.

“Right now, relevant parties are scrambling to establish judging criteria in haste,” said Katsuyuki Ishikawa, head of the breakdance department at the Japan Dance Sport Federation.

On a typical practice day, Ram can be seen taking delicate steps and doing back-spins, using her body to its fullest extent. The 158-centimeter-tall B-girl’s moves are dynamic and sharp.

“I don’t lift weights at all,” Ram said. “I build muscles by dancing.”

She has dedicated her life to breakdancing ever since she started attending a class near her home when she was 5. Ram believes that another important element of breakdancing is how to make her moves unique and look cool.

“It’s all about creativity, or I should say, it’s mentally challenging, so my brain also gets exhausted,” she said, laughing.

When asked about breakdancing becoming a medal event at the Paris Olympics, she replied: “I’d like those who are not familiar with breakin’ to see ‘tricks’ first. I hope they are impressed and see the big picture."