Meet the San Jose breaker vying for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris

Vicki Chang, also known as “La Vix,” is a professional breakdancer + member of Team USA — and hails from the great 408.

A woman in a blue sweater and white pants performs a stretching maneuver low to the ground.

Breaking may be new to the Olympics, but the activity traces its roots back to the early 1970s.

Photo by SJtoday staff

The 2024 Olympic Games in Paris could be getting a little of that 408 flavor. Breaking, or breakdancing as it’s more commonly known, will finally be making its debut at the games this summer — and San Josean Vicki Chang is vying for Team USA’s newly formed breaking team.

Let’s meet the local breaker + learn what it takes to make it to the Olympics.

Breaking onto the scene

The Leland High School alum began her breaking career at UC Berkeley, where she studied ecology and restoration sociology. In 2021, she began breaking full time. Since then, she’s been on the national stage multiple times, taking the top spot at the Undisputed Masters tournament in Los Angeles in 2022.

SJtoday_LaVix_VickiChang_Olympics_In Motion

The San Jose native has consistently ranked highly at national breaking competitions.

Photo courtesy @la_vix

“One of the reasons it’s taken such a long time is because there’s a tension between whether Breaking is an art or a sport” Chang said. “It is a dance, so the artistry is subjective. But, it’s also very athletic.”

Rock(ing) steady through history

Famously developed in Black and Puerto Rican communities in The Bronx, New York City in the 1970s, breakdancing has roots alongside the development of hip-hop as a music genre. While the DJ spun the music, dancers would go head-to-head in improvised dance-offs.

“A lot of Breaking is freestyle. When we battle, the DJ is playing the music, which we don’t know ahead of time. So the best we can do is train our material, and train how we react to the music.”

And, while the sport has been around for decades, it wasn’t until 2019 that the World DanceSport Federation began holding international competitions. Fast forward to 2024, and the competitive dance is finally making its way to the Paris games, where b-boys and b-girls (the terms for men + women who breakdance) go for the gold.

But for Team USA hopefuls, there’s still a long road to the Olympic games.

A woman in a blue sweater and white pants dances low to the ground next to a windowed wall.

Even during a warmup, Vicki Chang has seriously impressive breaking skills.

Photo by SJtoday staff

Blowup the (international) spot

“We have to win regional and national qualifiers to make it on Team USA. At the same time, we need to do international qualifiers to get international points. So we have to both be on Team USA and also rank high enough in the international qualifiers to make it to the Olympics.”

Team USA will only consist of two men and two women on the international stage, so for Vicki — who goes by the handle “La Vix” in competition — that means a lot of strenuous training sessions.

“My training consists of working out four days a week, like weightlifting, and also practicing five days a week. Recovery is really important, because I’m older, and takes up a lot more time.”

A man in a black sweater, a black hat smiles next to a woman in a blue sweater. The woman is making a peace sign.

City Editor Gregg caught up with La Vix at San Jose State University.

Photo by SJtoday staff

The selection process will consist of two events in May and June, one in Shanghai and one in Budapest, respectively. To qualify for the games, Vicki will need to be in the top eight internationally, and place either first or second in the US.

“It’s exciting to just take it all in and meet a bunch of people from other sports. It’s just gonna be a pretty crazy experience.”

We’ll update you on Vicki’s progress and cheer on the San Jose native in the coming events.

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