Samuel Mass Cyr from Quebec is one of them.
“I started dancing 15 years ago when I was 12 years and now I’m competing around the world and I’m stoked, I’m happy!” Mass Cyr said.
Breaking, or breakdancing, will make its debut as an Olympic sport in Paris next August.
The Montreal qualifier event is the biggest Canada has ever hosted and the only one in North America.
Berenice Dupuis sees the event as an opportunity for more girls to step into the sport.
She’s been breaking for the past 20 years – breakdancing as well as breaking barriers.
“It was very difficult at the beginning even to participate in the battles because it was mostly crews of men,” said Dupuis, who is also known as B-Nice.
At the competition, B-boys and B-girls are battling it out side by side as equals.
It was only natural for Montreal to play host.
Breaking got its start in the 1970s in the Bronx and Montreal’s proximity to the American city facilitated exposure and ultimately, crowned Montreal as Canada’s hub for breaking, developing its own style.
“Canadian style is very dynamic, very creative and I would say very artistic,” said Taiyo Seo, a coach for Team Canada.
Throughout the years, the stages have evolved. What started out on the streets will soon blast onto the biggest sports stage in the world: the Olympics.
The 2024 Paris Summer Olympics will be hosting breaking as an official sport for the first time.
Dvir Rozen travelled from Israel to judge the Montreal competition. He has been a B-boy for 25 years.
“Now, a dancer, a B-girl a B-boy, can bring to their country a gold medal, this is unbelievable,” Rozen says.
More than landing a spot on the Olympic team, both Dupuis and Cyr say they are eager for the chance to show off Canadian talent and to attract more B-boys and B-girls to the growing crew.
“It can be a good exposure for my art and my discipline. I think it can be good for people to see it, for new kids to get into,” said Cyr. “The more we are dancing, the more fun we’re going to have.”
The qualifiers will continue at Place des Arts until Sunday.