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B-girl Señorita Carlota has come a long way since her appearance as a 16-year-old at the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018.
Since then she’s travelled the world competing in battles, showcased Breaking for Olympic decision-makers, obtained her Baccalaureate, and continued to grow as both a dancer and a person.
While the hard work and dedication are all her own, she credits her experience at the YOG for providing the inspiration to develop even further.
“In two years, a lot has happened,” the now 18-year-old breaker says. “I’ve been through many things, but I've grown up and it’s obvious that the YOG had a considerable impact on that. I am building myself as a young woman and also as a dancer. My dancing is evolving and you can feel that it has matured. This year I moved out on my own to devote myself to my studies and my sport and I think that this will contribute even more to my growth and construction.”
Carlota became the first Frenchwoman to qualify for the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, and she did her country proud, finishing a respectable 5th in the 1vs1 battles against predominantly older competition.
Breaking made its Olympic debut in Buenos Aires, and thanks to the crowd-pleasing performances of Carlota and the 23 other Breakers (12 b-girls and 12 b-boys in total), the DanceSport discipline is now being considered for inclusion on the sport programme for the Olympic Games Paris 2024. An official decision by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will be made in early December.
Carlota recalls her time in Buenos Aires fondly, and has indelible memories of her first exposure to the Olympic experience.
“The beauty of the Youth Olympic Games is that it was a series of events that combined to create a unique experience,” she says. “Several moments in particular made an impression on me, including our arrival at the Olympic Village (it was so impressive to find ourselves in front of this village full of flags, activities and sportsmen and women coming from all over the world), the Opening Ceremony, which was splendid, and finally the realization that all our efforts during the competition, the atmosphere, and the level at which we competed were appreciated and we felt proud to be part of the delegations!”
As her name suggests, Señorita Carlota comes from Latin heritage, namely Cuban. Her background made the visit to Argentina for the YOG even more special, as she was keenly interested in sinking her teeth into the culture and surroundings when she wasn’t training or competing.
“It was my first time in Argentina,” she says. “Indeed, my Cuban origins mean that a part of me belongs to this Latin American culture and it was therefore important for me to discover the country. Argentina left me with beautiful memories. I was able to walk in the beautiful streets of Buenos Aires, visit the markets, have lunch at the restaurant ‘La Poesía,’ taste the famous dulce de leche and meet nice and welcoming people.
“After staying in Buenos Aires, it became a dream for me to visit the whole of Argentina.”
But her favourite memory from the YOG was something else entirely – a meeting with dancer, choreographer, instructor and influencer Kaelynn ‘KK’ Harris.
“In the morning, my girlfriends sent me a photo of [Kaelynn] showing that she has arrived in the Olympic Village, so they asked me to try and get a picture with her,” Carlota recalls. “The next day I found myself not only taking a photo with her but also filming a promotional video for the Olympic Channel, where I taught her some breaking choreography. I guess I still can’t believe that I'm the one who taught her a lesson when I only dreamed of having a picture with her.”
The Breaking competition in Buenos Aires was held in the Urban Park from 7-11 October, and in addition to 1v1 battles, Bonnie & Clyde battles also took place, featuring mixed-gender pairs from different countries. The 24 Breakers had already grown close before these battles, but it was clear their bonds strengthened even more once they came together as teammates.
Following the YOG, Carlota says she has kept in contact with most of the BA alumni, mainly through social media, and says she continues to be impressed with all the great things they continue to achieve.
“I am still in contact with the YOG dancers, of course,” Carlota says. “We keep in touch, we follow each other on social media, and the most fascinating thing is to see and react to how we evolve after this common experience. To see how it has impacted each one of us and the new objectives we manage to unlock, the way we evolve and the new projects we manage to carry out.”
One personal accomplishment with possible long-term implications was a stint Carlota enjoyed with the Paris 2024 local organising committee.
“I was lucky, along with b-boy Lagaet, to be able to represent Breaking during a demonstration for the IOC Coordination Commission during their visit to Marseille [an Olympic site location for Paris 2024],” Carlota says. “It was a great moment, the Commission was super receptive, and we were able to highlight our sport, the beauty and uniqueness of it. I felt that I was directly involved in the advancement of Breaking at the Olympics.”
Carlota’s efforts have already borne fruit. Breaking was provisionally included on the programme for Paris 2024 along with skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing, in September 2019. The DanceSport discipline is considered to have a good chance of receiving official approval at the next IOC Executive Board meeting from 8-10 December.
Breaking is popular in France, with some 560 national and 11 major international Breaking events held in the country every year. There is also a powerful development programme at the national level in place, aimed at supporting competing b-boys and b-girls with coaching and training preparation. More than 10,000 athletes have already benefited from the programme.
The 2024 Summer Olympic Games are scheduled to take place in the French capital from 26 July to 11 August.
“I think it’s great that Breaking could be included at Paris 2024!,” says Carlota. “What I love about this sport is that it’s multi-faceted. There’s the cultural dimension, the artistic dimension and the sporting dimension. I think it’s a chance [for the Olympics to gain] so much richness from one discipline, and it’s so important to be able to explore and exploit them all. The competition format is evolving, and we have to use this experience to continue to take Breaking forward with all the other aspects we have to offer.”
Ahead of the IOC decision in December, Carlota says she is doing everything she can to continue her personal growth during the COVID-19 pandemic and is looking forward to better things ahead in 2021.
“Despite the alarming situation, it has been very beneficial to me,” Carlota says of the coronavirus lockdown and other measures implemented to contain the virus. “It has allowed me to breathe, settle down and focus on myself and my needs. I was able to take the time to identify and mobilise the tools I needed to evolve. I am lucky to have been able to fit out my garage and dedicate myself to my training. It has allowed me to work on my weak points more calmly and come back with more technique and material. So it’s been a calm time for me that has allowed me to strengthen myself.
“What I am now expecting from 2021 is that COVID-19 will end and allow me to bring out all the resources I have mobilised and express myself freely. Having been deprived of contact with others, I also want to evolve by becoming more present in my exchanges and sharing with others.”