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It’s a late summer day in Austin, TX, and Jeyna Ponce looks relaxed and ready. Sitting comfortably on a gray couch in her head-to-toe athleisure and gold hoop earrings, you would have no idea she’s one of the most accomplished young break dancers currently on the competition circuit.
“This weekend is the start of a whole chaotic month because for the next month, there’s no breaks,” Ponce tells POPSUGAR. “Today’s Austin and then next weekend is Philadelphia for breaking nationals. Next weekend after that, I’m going to Minnesota. And the weekend after that, I go to LA for a video commercial. So that’s a lot.”
Life on the road is part of the package when you’re an in-demand b-girl. Here in Austin, Ponce is participating in a regional qualifier for Red Bull BC One, one of the most prestigious breaking competitions in the world. Elite breakers (‘b-boys’ and ‘b-girls’) have come to the Lone Star State to compete in a knockout bracket-style tournament. The ultimate goal? To be among the 16 b-boys and 16 b-girls chosen to represent their home country at the 2022 World Finals in New York City on November 11.
Ponce, 21, has been dancing since she was a child, studying a range of styles, including ballet, jazz, contemporary American, and hip hop. Initially, breakdancing didn’t appeal to her, despite the fact that she’d grown up around the craft.
“My family is heavy into breaking, like I grew up around Jabberwocky and Super Crew and Full Force, so I was always influenced by them and the culture, and they were all my family,” Ponce says. “But it wasn’t until Covid [happened] that I got fully into breaking.”
With the world in lockdown, she turned to breakdancing as a means of escape and expression. The Las Vegas native began training at her local studio, Alchemy Breaking. From there, she started to attend their open sessions. A year later, she was in her first battle.
“I just love the art form, the freedom of expression, and that my family is very oriented in dance and my parents loved dancing,” she says. “Everybody dances, so it’s a really big connection and attachment that we have, like a mutual connection amongst all of us.”
Ahead, Ponce takes POPSUGAR through a day in the life of a b-girl, her go-to uniform for battle day, and the best shoes for busting out a few breakdancing moves of your own — cautiously, of course.