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With breakdancing now an Olympic sport, meet India's ace B-girl 'Bar-B'

With breakdancing now an Olympic sport, meet India's ace B-girl 'Bar-B'

With breakdancing now an Olympic sport, meet India's ace B-girl 'Bar-B'
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By Prakhar Sachdeo  Oct 22, 2022 12:03:33 PM IST (Published)

Bar-B, or Siddhi Tambe, hopes to be one of the 16 B-girls at the Paris 2024 Olympics breakdancing (breaking) event. Currently, she is hard at work preparing for the Red Bull BC One World Final in New York, to be held on November 12. Get to know all about Bar-B's modest background, her struggles and journey and how Welspun helped her to a great extent.

At the Paris 2024 Olympics, breaking, popularly known as breakdancing,  will be a medal event.

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According to a Forbes report, "breaking competitions have been held all over the world since the 1990s, popularising the dance form far beyond urban hip-hop communities to cross over to the general public along the way."
Breaking as a sport made its Olympic debut at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires in 2018. Following its outstanding success, breaking has been chosen to feature on the Paris 2024 Olympics as a new sport, along with surfing, skateboarding and sport climbing.
The Pairs 2024 official website states that the breaking competition will comprise two events — one for men and one for women — where 16 B-boys and 16 B-girls will go face to face in spectacular solo battles.
Hoping to be one of the 16 B-girls is India's B-girl, Bar-B, or Siddhi Tambe.
Bar-B is the winner of inaugural national breaking championship that was held in Mumbai last year. The win at the national championships pushed Bar-B to fame and got her a ticket to the 2021 World Breaking Championship in Paris.
The teenager then went on to win the Red Bull BC One Cypher in July this year. The success at Red Bull BC One Cypher has paved her way to be in New York in November.
Siddhi has battled odds to be where she is today. The Mumbai-based girl's mother is an Anganwadi teacher and her father was a ward boy in a local hospital, who has recently been promoted and now works in labour office.  After finishing her schooling and she is now pursuing her B.Sc. degree while keeping her Paris dreams alive.
CNBCTV18.com caught up with this dancing sensation to know more about her life.  Excerpts from her interview is below.
Q. How did you get into breakdancing?
Siddhi: I started my journey as a dancer when I was 10 years old. It was new for people around me to see a girl do breakdance.
My mother was always interested in dancing but she was never able to dance freely because of circumstances. I got hooked because of her. Whenever I saw a dance video I used to try and copy the steps. I would to shake by body as I watched the dance videos, just couldn't stand still. So my mother enrolled me in a dance class. I was selected after an audition. It is here that I learnt breakdancing.
Q. Which dance class did you join?
Siddhi: It was 3D Dance Academy in Mumbai.
Q. Who taught you breakdancing at the academy?
Siddhi: I learnt dancing from Santosh sir and Shubham sir. At the academy, there were seven boys who taught me everything, like breaking, locking, popping.
Q. How did you get into breakdancing competitions?
Siddhi: I used to do breaking the whole day. There was a dada (elder brother figure) who told me about breakdance competitions. I was too young to understand about contests. I only knew about Bollywood and hip hop dancing. I started competing at the age of 11. Then I started with the battles. My mother used to take me to the battles.
Q. How did you feel after winning India's inaugural national breaking championships last year?
Siddhi: I was very happy. Because I won the championship I had a chance to represent India at the World Breaking Championships in Paris. However, the event was postponed. But I had really worked hard preparing for the event, thinking I was going to dance for India.
Now I am going to represent India at the Red Bull BC One World Final in New York.  The event is on November 12. I have practised hard. It is my dream to represent my country.  I am very excited about the event. It not about me, but about India. Let's see what happens.
B-Girl Bar-B during he Red Bull BC One Cypher event. (Image: bgirl_barb_ Instagram) B-Girl Bar-B during he Red Bull BC One Cypher event. (Image: bgirl_barb_ Instagram)
Q. What was your parent's reaction to your success?
Siddhi: As I said, my mother was very supportive. But my father was not that encouraging. Not that he used to stop me from dancing but he felt education was the only assured route to success. He was somewhat sceptical about breaking.
But as I started being successful in dance events and gained recognition, he realised that breaking too can help me. Now he is fully convinced. He talks proudly about my achievements and shares articles about me with his friends and informs them when I am on TV.  He has even started liking breaking.
Q. I'm curious to know why the breakdancers adopt a different name. You are famous as B-Girl Bar-B...
Siddhi: It depends on you if you have to adopt a name or not. The name identifies you. Many dancers take on names depending on their style. if their character is naughty, their name will reflect that.
My name was given to me by one of my crewmates. My first name was B-girl Sid. Sid is half of my name, Siddhi. But B-girl Sid was confusing to people as I am a girl.  So my teammates changed the name to B-girl Bar-B. Maybe because they thought I look like Barbie.
It is not compulsory to have another name. It depends on you.
Q. How has Welspun woman programme helped you?
Siddhi: Welspun woman programme scholarship has helped me a lot. Previously, it was difficult for me travel to other cities to participate in the battles. But now because of the scholarship, I can go to cities to compete.
Not just finance, but Welspun is also taking care of my training, physical and mental health.
Q. Breaking is now a medal event for the 2024 Paris Olympics. How are you preparing for the Paris Olympics? Are there any other breakdancers from India who are preparing for the event?
Siddhi: It is a big opportunity for all the breakers to participate in the Olympics. Earlier, breaking was only a street style dance, so it was not much recognised. But being in the Olympics, it is now being valued. I am happy to see this growth. I am preparing hard for the Olympics. Now I have to represent India, it is a big thing for me.
With me, B-boy Wildchild (Eshwar Tiwar), who won the national championship in the boys category, is also trying hard for the Olympics.
Q. Could you tell us about the degree that you are pursuing?
Siddhi: I am pursuing my B.Sc. degree. First I opted to do my graduation in microbiology. But it was very difficult for me to manage both breaking and microbiology. So I opted for botany and chemistry. I wish to do M.Sc. in one of these subjects. I am really interested in science.
When I started dancing, my mother was clear that I should also focus on my studies.  My parents have experienced many hardships and want to shield me from all that. So they want me to have a good education. Obviously with breaking I am fulfilling my passion, but with studies I am fulfilling my parents' wish as well.
Q. Any message that you want to send out to the young breakers who want to learn breakdancing and represent India?
Siddhi: It is just about doing what you like. If you are interested in breaking then give your full heart to it. If you give your 100 percent to dance it will give you back. When I am frustrated with my college or anything else, I go to my dance class and vent everything.  Just give your 100 percent. Be yourself. If I can do it, you too can.
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