Renowned for her prowess in surfing and traditional Japanese dance, 74-year-old Saruwaka Kiyoshie has discovered a newfound passion for breakdancing, especially since its inclusion in the 2024 Paris Games was announced. Reflecting on her surprise at developing an interest in breakdancing later in life, Saruwaka recalled watching young breakdancers near railroad tracks and imagining herself joining them if she were younger. Beginning her journey with Nihonbuyo dance at the age of five, Saruwaka never expected to take up breakdancing in her senior years but eagerly embraced the opportunity, drawn to its appeal and excitement.

Saruwaka is now part of Ara Style Senior, an exclusive club in Japan where elderly citizens practice breakdancing. Initiated by 71-year-old Tokyo official Reiko Maruyama, the club aims to energize the community through physical activities. Maruyama, with former national breaking champion Yusuke Arai, introduced breakdancing to older residents, inspired by its upcoming Olympic debut. Arai, known for mentoring talents like B-Boy Shigekix, believes this could reshape perceptions about age and physical fitness. Maruyama hopes to expand breakdancing’s popularity beyond Edogawa ward to a national and global scale. Ara Style Senior, currently comprising about 15 members, recently performed at a local festival to enthusiastic applause from the Edogawa community. Despite not performing the acrobatic feats seen in Olympic-level breaking, members like Hitomi Oda, aged 69, find joy and physical benefit in practicing simpler moves. For Saruwaka, breakdancing provides a refreshing diversion from her responsibilities as a custodian of the Saruwaka school of classical dance, a tradition she is dedicated to passing on. Emphasizing its role in maintaining her physical fitness for both dance forms, Saruwaka expressed optimism about continuing breakdancing well into the future.