Home > Profiles of dancers, Uncategorized > Featuring: Eric from Liquid Pop Collective

Featuring: Eric from Liquid Pop Collective

When I first saw a dancer do handflows, I thought the hands looked like two fish chasing each other. I didn’t even understand properly what I had seen. I found out what the move was called (much later) after stumbling upon a tutorial for liquid and digitz made by a group called Liquid Pop Collective. The most impressive handflow was contours. The way your one hand flowed over the surface of your other immovable hand, like water over a rock. Then your flowing hand became solid, and the cycle would repeat. The true expression of the liquid metal approach.

At the time, I wasn’t particularly interested in dancing or electronic music (the German scene back then was terrible), but I rediscovered the video a few weeks back and payed more attention to it. Contours caught my eye again. I searched around and found the following clip. It was unused footage for the tutorial, starring crew member Eric. This took the finger flow to a new level.

I recently contacted Eric and interviewed him for this feature. He answered my questions and provided some additional literature on the electro scene (you can read the email correspondence in my previous, separate post below.

Eric was born in New Jersey, about 25 minutes from New York. He went with his older cousin to his first NYC party in 1993 and fell in with the electronic party scene. He explained that there were two separate dance cultures for electronic music in NY, the club scene and the rave scene. The clubs included the Tunnel, Lime Light, Sound Factory, Twilo, Shelter and Outback Jacks. The raves could be held anywhere, sometimes at abandoned buildings without any permits. The scene gained momentum, and club owners started to pursue the rave crowd. Sometimes they would contact the authorities and make them shut down the illegal parties, then have promoters stand outside the rave and distribute promotional fliers for their clubs to the exiting crowd. Thus, the two scenes began to mingle.

Two years later, Eric came in contact with liquid dancing.

The first time I seen a style of liquid that really moved me was in 1995 at a club north of Philly
called Outback Jacks. They had a small Sunday night party that I found when I first moved to Philly. This is here I met a girl named Chrissie who absolutely had the most unique style of liquid I had ever seen up until that point. She incorporated her whole body into her flow. She is the genesis for what my style is today and part of her still lives in my flow. She totally changed my perspective on what liquid could be.

Unlike the popping scene, competition didn’t play a big part in the evolution of the dance.

There were a million of casual dancers who happily rave skipped the night away. I would say between the serious folks like myself it was a matter a pride and respect. When someone had dope liquid it was more of a respect thing because no one was forcing you to be good at liquid but you. There are dancing jerks in every dance scene, who sole purpose in life was to make themselves feel better by belittling the person next to them.

Eric wrote to me that he never practiced at home or took lessons to improve his liquid (although he did take some classes for popping). Instead, he went to the clubs five days a night and danced up to eight hours for a period of ten years. Regarding advice he would give to novice dancers, he answered in the same vein as David Elsewhere.

BE YOURSELF. YOU DONT NEED TO LOOK LIKE ANYONE ELSE. If you like something take it and make it your own. Find you own flavor be unique LISTEN to the music and let it move you.

Drugs became ubiquitous in this scene, and a substantial part of the crowd were young middle class people with income to spare on Ecstacy or whatever else. This attracted criminal gangs to the scene, and violence became a huge risk. The most infamous gang was the BTS crew It was a loosely organised gang with no formal initiation rites, ethnic boundaries, or any particular rules of conduct (except not stealing from fellow crew members). They would often sell fake drugs by selling mints or spray painting pills. At clubs, they pick-pocketed the clubgoers on the dance floor, or scouted for other drug dealers so they could steal the drugs from that dealer. For more information, read this article

This slowly led to people avoiding the scene, which was the beginning of the end. In 2002, the US senate passed the RAVE Act to counter youth drug use. The penalties for organizing such raves were so stiff they killed off the scene. NY mayor Rudolf Guilani took a hard stance against the clubs in his effort to clean up the city from undesirable elements, and many of the most prominent clubs could not sustain themselves after the 9/11 attacks paralysed the club scene in NY.

Before the scene died out, Eric recorded a short clip of him dancing in the Philadelphia club Space in 1999. He posted it on Napster, which was in its prime as a file-sharing medium. The clip became one of the viral videos of the pre-Youtube era.

In 2000, he met the dancers who later form the Liquid Pop Collective crew. The response of the clip overwhelmed the LPC crew, and they started discussing the idea to produce a tutorial on the dance. Eric eventually took out a ten grand loan to do so and involved a core team of LPC dancers. Ricardo Rivera (aka VJ Kaboom) directed the video (he now owns klip.tv) and Imri Meritt did the sleeve art and music soundtrack (he now runs reflective.net).

The tutorial was a success, but the LPC broke up soon after. I asked Eric why. He wrote me a three word reply: money and ego.

As to other dancers who continue the tradition of liquid and digits, he pointed to the floasis.net community. He also made sure to mention the Liquid Lights crew, particularly crew member Tiny Love, who predated the LPC by a few years.

I ended the interview by asking him to describe his most memorable moment in dancing.

Wow, that is hard. I would have to say a yearly party called Starscape thrown by Ultra world down in Baltimore. I think the party was in 2003. I was with my future wife and all the LPC guys. We watched the sun come up out on the dock over the water ( this dock was destroyed during a hurricane in 2004) to the sound track of MOS DEF’S UMI says. It was surreal after a full night of dancing together. Those are the moments I miss the most now a days…

More interviews to follow, plus another entry in the Looking Elsewhere series coming up. If you’d like to receive updates, click on the RSS feed button.

  1. Jack Mannik
    June 24, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    Hey man, i just found your blog recently and have to say it’s amazing! Thanks for putting this together.

    I am a popper from a small island in the UK, there is only a couple of dance classes and neither of them are popping. I have learnt 95% of what i know from the internet and awesome sites like this. You clearly know a ton about popping, i would love if you could check my video out and give me some advice.

    I saw that you were working on full body strobing and had mentioned you hadn’t seen anyone do it. I am working on it too but i didn’t realise it was possible until i saw Boogie Frantick doing it here.

    Anyways, i just wanted to say thanks for writing this blog.


    • June 24, 2010 at 7:00 pm

      Thanks for the props, man. Appreciate it.

      It’s tough being isolated from other people who can teach you popping. The internet is a godsend for people like us. You’ve already taken a good step and started recording yourself, even putting it out for other people to see. That will reduce your public shyness to show off your dance. But remember: slowly you will learn how to judge yourself properly. Take my criticism with a pinch of salt. For me, it’ll be interesting to comment on someone else’s dancing.

      First off, respect to you dancing to the music. That’s a great quality, one you shouldn’t lose.
      Your arm waves are fantastic, and I enjoyed your fingertutting (remember to always draw straight lines in the air). I like your popping and boogaloo mini-routine from 1:18-1:28, and crushing the ball of energy move is sick. You’re def on your way. Build on what you’ve accomplished.

      My main advice is to slow down in two respects. First, speed control in dancing is a problem. The best tricks and moves need to be done slowly, and doing them in quick bursts doesn’t work. People need time to see what you are doing and figure it out. Nobody in the audience will understand your strobing illusion until after a few seconds of looking. Your head-and-chest isolations suffer from the same problem. Jerking your chest and head from side to side cheapens the effect. Look at your your man Boogie Frantick. He’s a master of speed control. All his waves and isolation moves are at a low speed over a long period of time. We can clearly see his illusions. When he makes quick movements, it’s completely deliberate and a nice contrast to his typical slow speed. His dancing is one of the sickest you’ll see out there.

      Second, you employed many different styles and move in this one dance. You do well in most of them. Perhaps its better to focus on one thing at a time, though, because there’s always a risk of attempting too much at once in the beginning. This holds you back from hitting through to the next level in any one of your styles. Focus on a small set of fav moves and practice them. I know it’s difficult because everyone want to have a large set of tricks as soon as possible. There’s no time frame, though, so slow down and practice more deliberately.

      Hope this helped you. I can’t wait to see your progress in the future.

  2. Jack Mannik
    June 27, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    Thanks for the advice, definitely know what you mean about slowing down. It’s something i have felt that I should be doing but can’t quite manage it yet.

    I will keep working for sure.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: