The Times We Lived in: Breaking news

Published on March 20th, 1985. Photograph by Matt Kavanagh

In the spring of 1985, concern was growing at the crime rate in Dublin.

There was controversy over the introduction of one-man buses, and the singles charts were prone to domination by such dismal ditties as Foreigner's I Want To Know What Love Is , or Elaine Paige and Barbara Dickson's I Know Him So Well . Crimes against music, some would say.

However, change was in the air.

New kids on the dance block were doing something called “breakdancing”, ably demonstrated in our photograph by five members of the Dizzy Footwork breakdancing team – John Mansfield, Pat Daly, Brian Waters, Alan Dunnigan and Daniel Tracey – who were strutting their stuff on O’Connell Street in Dublin as part of International Youth Year.


The photograph looks so much like a bunch of guys dressed up in 80s gear for a stag night, that it’s quite hard to take it seriously.

I mean, take a look at those buffed-up hairdos and snazzy sweatbands.

And the general level of mugging from the lads – although to be fair to John Mansfield pictured on the far left, he's doing Walk Like An Egyptian a year before the song was even a twinkle in a record producer's eye.

None of which is to deny the group's physical and/or musical prowess. Indeed, the Dizzy Footwork Dance Academy is still going strong, bringing a variety of new moves to dancers in south Dublin across an energetic range of genres.

Breakdancing, however, is no more. If you Google it you will be redirected to an article about b-boying, where you will learn that the term breakdance – an invention of the ignorant mainstream media, apparently – has now been replaced by "breaking".

Which is performed by b-boys, and even b-girls, collectively known as breakers. Now that’s what I call breaking even.

Arminta Wallace

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