Paris 2024 | Dany Dann, breakdancer: an artist at the Olympic Games

(Grande-Synthe) “Half athlete, half artist”, he describes himself as an “arthlete”: Danis Civil, aka Dany Dann, 2022 European breakdance champion, hopes to become this summer the first Olympic medalist in the history of this discipline, which is making its debut at the Paris Games.

Blue hair and a pendant from Guyana, where he comes from, around his neck, Dany Dann, 36, started breakdancing “by chance”, when he passed at the age of 14 in front of a hall in Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni, in the west of this French department bordering Brazil, where his cousin is participating in an internship.

He is amazed, “blown away”.

“I fell in love,” testifies the double French champion and 2022 European champion, who came to attend “as a tourist” the French championship in Grande-Synthe.

What followed were “hours and hours” of watching his idols, training in the gym to reproduce the movements, then his first “battles” within the local “crews”.

At 19, after two years in the army, the Bboy, the name given to breakdancers, left his native Guyana to “try his luck” in mainland France. To make a living, he continued with food jobs: receptionist in parks and gardens, delivery man, employee in canteens, then caregiver in an EHPAD.

Hip-hop culture

In 2022, Dany Dann, who now makes a living from his passion, joins Insep, the temple of high-level athletes in Paris.

Like an athlete, he works on “cardio and muscle strengthening”, devoting himself to his discipline, dance. “There is also physiotherapy, recovery, mental preparation… A good athlete must know how to get beyond his human problems to concentrate on his sport,” he insists.

“Dany is a hard worker who can work from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. to find the flaw in his opponent’s dance,” describes his personal coach Omar Remichi.

The breaking events, scheduled for August 9 and 10, Place de la Concorde in Paris, are “battles” where Bboys and Bgirls compete in a duel on stage accompanied by music.

They throw acrobatic figures and a jury votes to elect the winner by evaluating in particular the athletic aspect and the quality of execution of the movements.

Dany Dann will participate in the Olympics with a maximum of three other French breakdancers, including two women, who have yet to be qualified.

Breaking, a discipline originating from hip-hop culture, “began in the streets”, in the disadvantaged neighborhoods of New York in the 1970s, “and today I am recognized as an athlete, for my art, for my sport », rejoices the dancer.

His wish: “To show the new generation that we can imagine being a high-level breaking athlete and having the possibility of making a living from our passion. »

“He dances with his guts”

He says he is “proud” to “represent a great nation”. “What scares me is not losing, but disappointing France. »

Dany Dann, who has 25,000 subscribers on Instagram, describes himself as a “joker”, a “little crazy”, who “dares to do things”. To describe his style, he highlights its “musicality” and “explosiveness”.

His dance “is a reflection of his personality, he has experience, he dances with his guts, a lot on instinct and with a form of immediacy,” says Omar Remichi. “It has a history, roots and a body that expresses itself through “battles”. »

When he is not dancing, he returns to Perpignan with his wife Marion, a former breakdancer, and his two boys aged six and eight who prefer football to breaking.

A big fan of video games, he likes football games with his friends, fashion, restaurants, “taking the time”.

Considered as an additional sport in Paris, breaking was not selected for Los Angeles in 2028, “maybe they will regret it,” says the athlete. “Paris is going to be magnificent, I’m preparing thoroughly,” he concludes, his eyes shining.


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