Yeap, it was popular in 1970's and it's popular again these days. Breakdance it's street dance based which involve body movements, coordination and style. It's a also known the oldest version of Hip Hop. You might want to thank James Brown and Michael Jackson to bring all these breakdance moves.
Like any dances in the world, the very basic element you need is music. Hip Hop is not the only option. You can choose 70's, soul, funk, some people even use jazz tunes. My favorite is Beastie Boys.
Learning breakdance is quite tricky and can cause injury, thus having knee pads and elbow pads are essential. Just for the info, my knee got swollen practicin the moves. But if you are too shy or you think you have good flexibility wear long pants to cover your knees from bruises.
Breakdance considered as exercise, make sure you do some warm up before you hit the dance floor.
Another important element from breakdance is FASHION! I don't mean to advertise certain brands, but Nike and Adidas have very stylish dance clothing line.
The clothes and the color you choose should show your own personality. Wear t-shirt that fits but don't restrict the movement. Buy some good socks, 'cos breakdancing is lots of footwoork.
So far, the benefits that I get from breakdancing are ( apart from the happy feeling and look cool ) I gain more flexibility and of course found a new to train my core.