Meet the unstoppable force of breakdancing, Courtnaé Paul, a b-girl from Durban, South Africa who’s taking the world of dance by storm. With her remarkable talent, infectious energy, and larger-than-life personality, she’s quickly become a household name in the breakdance community.
She has won numerous breakdancing titles and accolades:
- Previous winner of Red Bull BC One SA (first winner outside of Cape Town across male & female categories).
- The only B-Girl to represent SA in Japan and Korea.
- 2 x Winner of Breaking For Gold SA, which is the official route to the Olympics.
- Battled in the JHB B-Boy category, and made it to the semis.
- Won Queen 16 Africa qualifier.
- Won Street Knowledge 2v2 battle.
- First South African female to compete in the Red Bull BC One World Final event.
- Took Breaking to a global TV show, that aired in all 52 African countries, the UK and the Indian Islands.
- Global Top 32 of the Red Bull BC One e–battle.
As a b-girl, she’s part of a growing movement of female breakdancers who are smashing gender stereotypes and inspiring girls around the world to follow their dreams. With her impressive talents and passion for dance, Courtnaé Paul is a true inspiration and a role model for all aspiring dancers out there.
What is a B-girl?
A b-girl is a female breakdancer who specializes in the style of dance known as “breaking” or “breakdancing.” B-girls use their skills, strength, and creativity to express themselves through movement, rhythm, and music.
Getting To Know Courtnaé Paul
How do you train and maintain your physical fitness to be able to perform at such a high level?
It’s all about consistent work. Breaking is the type of dance/sport that will have you feeling super rusty after taking just a week off. I train four to five times a week with active rest days, but most importantly, I listen to what my body is able to give me for each day.
What advice do you have for other women who are trying to break into this male-dominated field?
We just have to keep going, difficult days included. As B-girls and females as a whole in Africa, we have so many barriers to entry, but my success has come from not taking no for an answer. And that’s all it is, refuse to be ignored and never take on anyone else’s limitations as your own. I also find that the harder I work, the luckier I become.
How do you stay up-to-date with the latest trends and developments in b-girling, and how do you continue to challenge yourself creatively as a dancer?
When I first got into Breaking many years ago, I didn’t have specific intentions, plans or goals – there were little to no platforms and I just loved the culture. Now things have really changed for me with the introduction of the Red Bull BC One B-Girl category, as well as Breaking being added as an official sport to the 2024 Olympic Games.
These platforms keep me motivated and give me something to aspire towards. They’ve created opportunities that have led me to travel and compete in many different countries, and therefore exposing me to the global scene more than ever before.
What have been some of the most memorable experiences you’ve had while on tour, and what have you learned from those experiences?
One of my most memorable trips so far was travelling to Kitakyushu, Japan to compete at a WDSF Breaking For Gold qualifier. I travelled solo, +-40 hours one way, and blew my rotator cuff 10 minutes before I had to get on stage. It showed me just how resilient I am and that even though I went there alone, I left with so many amazing new relationships and memories.
What do you see as the future of b-girling, both in terms of its place in the wider dance world and its potential to inspire and empower young people around the world?
Ah man, Breaking is life-changing and I’m a testament to that. I don’t come from much, I was always the little black sheep and never knew what life had in store for me. But this art form gave me a home, it gave me room to be myself without having to conform to what society expected of me, and it gave me multiple paths to not only survive but thrive in business.
As it grows and reaches more corners of the globe, I see it being even more instrumental in uplifting and empowering of our youth.