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Olympic breakdancing? Meet the Texan who’s got a shot to compete in Paris

HOUSTON (KXAN) — From the streets of New York City to the Olympics, breakdancing will debut as a sport at the Paris 2024 Summer Games.

With the freestyling, footwork, head spins and countless other moves, the sport is artistry and athleticism.

Houston — a city known for its diverse culture — might have produced its first Olympic break dancer.

His name is Jeffery Louis, and he is known in the breaking world as B-boy Jeffro.

How does breaking work?

It’s an emerging sport based on a judge’s subjective point of view of how they think an athlete performed. Sounds fun, right? Jeffro said it’s thrilling.

“The DJ plays whatever song they want to throw out,” Jeffro said. “It is your job to perform to it. They’re judging you on five categories: musicality, originality, technique, execution and vocabulary.”

Jeffro said it comes naturally to him.

“My style is a vibe of explosions,” he said. “It captures people and you’re able to just go with it, even if you don’t understand it.”

  • Houston, Texas B-boy Breaker, Jeffro seeks to compete at Paris 2024 Olympic Games. (KXAN photos/Jala Washington).
    Houston, Texas B-boy Breaker, Jeffro seeks to compete at Paris 2024 Olympic Games. (KXAN photos/Jala Washington).
  • Houston, Texas B-boy Breaker, Jeffro seeks to compete at Paris 2024 Olympic Games. (KXAN photos/Jala Washington).
    Houston, Texas B-boy Breaker, Jeffro seeks to compete at Paris 2024 Olympic Games. (KXAN photos/Jala Washington).
  • Houston, Texas B-boy Breaker, Jeffro seeks to compete at Paris 2024 Olympic Games. (KXAN photos/Jala Washington).
    Houston, Texas B-boy Breaker, Jeffro seeks to compete at Paris 2024 Olympic Games. (KXAN photos/Jala Washington).
  • Houston, Texas B-boy Breaker, Jeffro seeks to compete at Paris 2024 Olympic Games. (KXAN photos/Jala Washington).
    Houston, Texas B-boy Breaker, Jeffro seeks to compete at Paris 2024 Olympic Games. (KXAN photos/Jala Washington).

Haiti roots in Houston

Jeffro’s parents immigrated from Haiti when he was young, planting roots in Houston. He never imagined taking breakdancing as an elective in middle school would lead him to live a less traditional life in the limelight.

“They sacrificed a lot,” Jeffro said. “I want to make my parents proud, and I want to do things and provide, but I’m going to do it in a different way … I changed my degree plan to sports administration — more of a business sport route — and I created my fitness program.”

Competing in breaking has carried Jeffro all around the world over the past 17 years, even providing him with a brand deal with Monster Energy. And he’s evolving in the sport with every regional experience.

“It’s a universal language that everybody speaks,” Jeffro said. “It doesn’t cost anything. I don’t need a racquet, I don’t need certain type of shoes, I can literally just go out here and just dance right now.”

A more inclusive sport

The sport also sets itself apart from other more traditional ones as it doesn’t have many barriers to anyone who wants to try it.

Jeffro trains at a gym called Break Free Worldwide in Houston. It was founded and is owned by a well-respected, longtime breaker, Moy Rivas.

Break Free Worldwide break dancing gym art. (KXAN photos/Jala Washington).
Break Free Worldwide break dancing gym art. (KXAN photos/Jala Washington).
Moises “Moy” Rivas, owner and founder of Break Free Worldwide break dancing gym. (KXAN photos/Jala Washington).
Moises “Moy” Rivas, owner and founder of Break Free Worldwide break dancing gym. (KXAN photos/Jala Washington).

“Growing up in the early 90s and trying to find somewhere to dance, we couldn’t do it,” Rivas said. “We’d get kicked out because people thought that it was street-related or was gang-related … As a kid I grew up bottling up a lot coming from the neighborhoods that I come from … and just seeing that opportunity to find something to fully express myself [with break dancing] … a positive alternative, it just really changed my life.”

His own story is why Rivas opened Break Free Worldwide. And he’s been mentoring kids ever since. Rivas sought out Jeffro about seven years ago when he saw his evolving talent at events. This helped Jeffro get the Monster Energy brand deal, ultimately helping elevate Jeffro’s name.

“He’s one of the very few dancers that can dance 100 miles per hour, and still connect with the music,” Rivas said. “He makes it look so easy.”

Breaking through to Paris

Jeffro said he feels his journey to where he is now, has been fueled by always feeling the need to prove himself.

Now that he’s one of the top breakers in the country, he’s trusting who he is will shine through, and that he’ll get to represent Team USA.

“It took a while but I realized I actually belong here,” Jeffro said.

Breaking’s Olympic qualifying event is coming up in June. Thirty-two athletes,16 b-boys and 16 b-girls, will compete in Paris for the first time on the Olympic stage.

You can connect with Nexstar Olympic Correspondent Jala Washington on X, Instagram or Facebook if you have Texas athlete you think she should feature.

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