Street Dance is the umbrella term for lots of different genres of urban dance that collectively formed and came to be known for what it is today. They include: Locking, Popping, Waacking, House, HipHop & Breakin’ (B-Boy/B-Girl). People were connecting with the music that was around at the time and thus creating movement that expressed not only what the music was saying to them but also what was happening around them at the time, both socially & politically.
HIP HOP CULTURE
Hip Hop Culture is a term used to define a lifestyle. It is a collective of urban music, dance, art (graffiti) & fashion that was escapism and expression for youths growing up in run down areas of their communities in America. It is a way of life for many and it is promoted positively to give people a sense of belonging in something they related to.
HIP-HOP is a dance! It became better known in the mid-late 80’s when the music was starting to journey that way in America and was born in New York. It comprises of 4 elements: Bounce, Rock, Roll & Skate where maybe one or more of these techniques would be implemented in the move. Artists such as MC Hammer, Vanilla Ice, Will Smith & Boys II Men where examples of promoting this genre of dance. Elite Force crew are the main pioneers of this style where they worked with other major artists such as Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey etc. New Jack Swing is genre of music mostly produced by Teddy Riley that was a definite attribute in the creation of this style but ultimately the name for it is HIPHOP. The names of some of the moves were inspired by much of what was going on at the time i.e Bart Simpson, Steve Martin, Smurf, Roger Rabbit, Robocop etc.
Elite Force Crew: www.eliteforcecrew.com
FREESTYLE & CHOREOGRAPHY
It’s pretty self explanatory in terms of what each of the terms mean, however, all of these dance styles were first and foremost free styled. The moves, history & knowledge need to be constantly studied for you to become the best you can be, your dance was validation of what your knowledge was of the dance when performed as a free style (socially). From there obviously, you can create choreography (as with any dance style) but the most important thing here is to know the originality of the music and movement to be able to deliver a great piece that shows off the dance to the best of it’s capability.
THE BAM BAM BOOGIES
Created in 2004 after Vicki Stavrinos was invited to go train with Popin Pete of the Electric Boogaloos at his Las Vegas home. Since then she has devoted her time to learning all aspects of HipHop Culture travelling all over America and continues to be mentored by all the pioneers of Street Dance as well as Pete when he visits the UK.
Another huge part of Vicki’s dance journey is her mentor Jeffrey Daniel. Jeffrey was one third of the pop group Shalamar and is more well known for bringing the Moonwalk or ‘Backslide’ as it’s more correctly known as, to the UK in 1983 on Top Of The Pops. He also worked closely with Michael Jackson, co-choreographing ‘Bad’ & Smooth Criminal.
As well as working more now as a creative director / teacher / choreographer, Vicki also works alongside School Boards, Charities, Health Clubs & Private Social Groups not only to promote the Street/Hip-Hop dance elements and offer motivational speaking, but also to encourage dance as a physical activity as well as a performing art. All the instructors that represent Bam Bam Boogies are highly trained & educated in Street Dance culture and all add a different flavour to our story.
Bam Bam Boogies: www.bambamboogies.com
Locking began in 1970 and was created by a man called Don Campbell. The original name was Campbellocking, which then got shortened to ‘Locking’. It came about from the funky chicken dance to which Don then created the ‘Lock’, which meant to freeze or stop a move. Don was an original Soul Train dancer and was often seen / heard on the dance floor and so was followed by many others in wanting to learn his movement.
‘The Lockers’ was then formed, a group of 7 dancers that contributed to the movement, they included: Don Campbell, Greg ‘Campbellock’ Jnr, Toni Basil, Slim The Robot, Shabba Doo, Fred Berry, Fluky Luke. There were also many others that were a big part of the history of Locking including Scoo B Doo & Tony GoGo who still travel around the world teaching this dance in its original form.
Popping began in the mid-70’s and is widely speculated as to who was fully responsible in creating the movement. The Electric Boogaloos are the main pioneer source of this movement and were from Fresno, California. The group was formed by a man called Sam Solomon (Boogaloo Sam), where he coined the phrase ‘Popping’ from a sudden jerk movement of his body. Popping is a tension and release of a muscle & is a technique applied on top of your dance. Boogaloo is another form of dance that complements Popping.
It includes more fluidity / roll movement to which other movements have been formed such as: Waving, Twist O Flex, Neck O Flex, Sliding / Gliding etc. In 1978 The Electric Boogaloos followed in the footsteps of The Lockers & made their first TV Appearance. The original group being Boogaloo Sam’s younger brother Timothy ‘Popin Pete’ Soloman, Tickin Deck, Robot Dane, Puppet Boozer, Creepin Sid, Scarecrow Sculley, Darryl (King Cobra) & George (King Rattler). Popin Pete took the dance style to a whole new level and the Electric Boogaloos became another pioneer street dance group who influence and inspire generations of dancers to this day.
The Electric Boogaloos: breakinconvention.com/electric-boogaloos-usa
WAACKING (WHACKING / PUNKING)
Waacking was born in the gay communities of the Disco era in the 70’s in California. It consists of a very grand & flamboyant expression by use of arm work, posture & poses. The music is the most important factor as a lot of the movement is created from the instruments / lyrics of the track. Other styles such as Jazz & Latin have been known to be fused with Waacking. Pioneers / Innovators of this style include: Tyrone Proctor, Archie Burnett & Kumari Suraj.
House dance comprises of 3 elements: Jacking (the groove), Footwork & Lofting (floor work). It originated (again) from the music that was happening at the time from the clubs of Chicago & New York in the late 80’s early 90’s. The dance style is an amalgamation of steps influenced from other dance styles such as: Jazz, Tap, Salsa, Hip-Hop etc. Very much a social dance that unified dancers in the clubs, pioneers / innovators include: Brain Green, Ejoe Wilson, Marjory Smarth, Tony McGregor, Caleaf Sellars etc.
BREAKIN’ (BBOY / BGIRL)
Breakin’ (BBoy / BGirl) originated from the Bronx (NY) by the youths of African American & Puerto Rican communities. The term Breaker Boy / Girl then got shortened to BBoy / Bgirl. Breakin’ consists of movements such as Top Rocking, Power Moves & Freezes. It came around in the late 70’s early 80’s but was more popularised during the late 80’s / early 90’s due to certain films being made / TV exposure. A genre that definitely set the scene for dance battles, pioneer crews include ‘The New York City Breakers’ & ‘Rock Steady Crew’, Crazy Legs being one of the most iconic BBoys continuing to share the history.
Rock Steady Crew: www.rocksteadycrew.com
Growing up in Los Angeles, Jeffrey was enthralled by The Lockers and would soon follow in Don Campbell’s footsteps to become a Soul Train dancer.
Jeffrey and his Soul Train dance partner Jodi Watley along with Howard Hewett later became the world famous soul funk group Shalamar. In 1982 Shalamar were due to perform on Top of the Pops (UK’s biggest chart show). With Jodi Watley falling pregnant, Jeffrey decided to do a solo performance that changed the lives of many people. He came out to one of Shalamar’s biggest hits ‘A Night to Remember’ and ‘popped’ all the way through. He also demonstrated the Back Slide which is now known worldwide as the Moonwalk. It was the first time the UK and Europe had seen anything like it.
Jeffrey Daniel: www.jeffreydaniel.com
THE TWILIGHT PLAYERS
The Twilight Players are:
Sinbad Phgura and his younger brothers, Ammo ‘Too Sweet’ and Jimi ‘The Quiff’.
Sinbad learnt his skills firsthand in mid-eighties Los Angeles from his mentor Jeffrey Daniel. He returned to England to form Twilight East, a dance group incorporating Boogaloo and Locking. Later he joined forcer with his brothers and ‘The Twilight Players’ were born.
Sinbad was one of the first UK pioneers of the west coast dance styles and The Twilight Players achieved major recognition this year by being awarded the first ever UK OG’s 4 Life Award at the prestigious Carnival Choreographers Ball 2005.
The Twilight Players: www.twilightplayers.com