Home > Interviews > Raw interview: Poppin John (part 1)

Raw interview: Poppin John (part 1)

That’s right, that’s right. I was able to score a monster interview with Poppin John from Soulbotics crew. To understand why he’s one of my top influences in dancing, read my feature on him. The depth of his answers surprised me, and I am grateful to have had this opportunity.

The interview itself is divided into three separate parts. There is a link at the end of each post to the next section. I have added some links whenever he mentions a dancer, plus I added some video and my comments whenever appropriate.

1. Where did you grow up?

I grew up in a very small town called Farmington in the Northwest corner of New Mexico. My childhood was amazing there but when I started to creep my way into the entertainment side of life, it definitely was not the right place to be. But that being said, I do think I have come up with many moves and concepts because I was learning by myself with not a lot of influences in town.

2. What got you into dancing, and why did you specialize in popping?

Well, my very first dance experience was at a family reunion. We camped in a big campground in Colorado, I think. But anyway, there was a small like dance room in the main building of the campground and they had DJ get down on the weekends, so my dad took me and my cousins. I was about 11 years old. My cousin Jason could do a few new jack swing moves like top rock-ish. I was super amazed because I hadn’t even thought about dancing in my whole life until that moment. After that, I went to my 7 grade first school dance and BOOM girls and music….”That’s it, I need to learn how to dance”….

Everyone was just standing around, and then I saw a circle on the other side of the gym. There were 2 kids breakin in the circle. When I walked up, one was doing a backspin. The other answered with the worm. That moment I know that this was the type of dance I wanted to do.

So that night I went home and learned how to do the worm (haha, everybody starts somewhere). I laid my mirror down on the ground and watched myself attempt this move that I wanted to learn so bad. One night of practice: the next school dance I was worming my ass off. That was my first dance experience.

Me and a few friends started a crew and started battling other crews. It was crazy. There were 7 or 8 crews in my small town in like 99, and we would hash it out at the skating ring. It was so dope, we thought we were the shit, pulling out routines and all kinds of tricks. So one night at the ring one of my friends told me that I have the best arm waves, and he asked me to repeat it over and over…that moment really stuck in my mind.

I was breaking and poppin, but never at the same time! For some reason, thank God, I always treated the dances as completely different things. I was in a crew called Foundations of freedom and it was all bboys and one bgirl, and I was the one who could pop. After a couple of years of practicing both I decided to give bboying a break and focus on poppin. I have been addicted ever since.

3. What were the reaction of your parents and peers to your dancing passion?

Well, the first reaction of my peers was pretty much 50/50. One side was like “DOPE, I wanna learn”, and the other side was a bunch of haters. You know how it is, and in a small town everybody has an opinion. But my parents have been down since day one. For real, my parents are a big reason for me taking dance to the next level and perusing it as a career. But after I developed a pretty good skill level, it was rare when I got negative feed back from anybody, really.

4. How did you come to the conclusion to pursue dancing full-time and travel around the world?

Well, the first time I really thought about traveling the world was when I started to watch bboy battle videos. Seeing dancers from all over the globe come and compete in the same place was so dope to me. My pops started taking us to jams in the surrounding cities when they did go down. From those experiences, I turned into a battle cat, always ready to through down. To this day, I can’t seem to get rid of the desire to compete.

To take dancing as a career really started with my father. He made it known that he wanted me to pursue whatever I wanted to do in life and to not get stuck punching a clock and be unhappy. So then the idea of my website www.learn2bust.com started up, and a few years later, the plans became reality. Now I have students all over the globe learning form my videos. Its an amazing feeling, being able to teach the things I have picked up throughout my dance career.

Click here for part 2 of the interview.

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