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Archive for August, 2011

A convo with Boppin Andre

August 25, 2011 Leave a comment

I befriended the legendary Boppin Andre on Facebook and asked him if he were willing to describe his practice methods and how he developed his unparalleled animation skills. Instead, we had a chat about originality, pioneers, and experimentation. I have never heard of a dancer saying he doesn’t practice and  I would put it down as false boasting if it didn’t come from such a great dancer like Andre..

Boppin Andre: You should first be aware that I do not train! I do not even practice. I just go withwhat i always have done and then throw in whatever I feel appropriate at the moment […]

Well, I guess that everytime i perform, that’s practice enough, but I feel that people practice to acquire skills and movements they dont have. I mean, they really practice hard to try and master someone else’s moves!
Outside of the robot, which I use to practice hard, when I was young (13-15), I also practiced popping at first (compton style popping, which came from EB’s and popping pete!..1977). After that, i made the connection and combo..bopping! I’ve not have to peactice since then, because i’m only doing me. It’s what I want to do, and as such I don’t have to practice or try to master it. It’s whatever i do!
I am however about to begin practicing. When i figure out how to go about trying to master or perfect someone else’s moves, I’ll be glad to share that!

LM: Well, would you say you spend a lot of time experimenting? Because your reply reminds me of how David Elsewhere explains how he developed is dance.

Hahaha, i don’t experiment..with nothing! Elsewhere both experiments and shares his movements with others.(skywalker, his influence, and squid , another share buddy!)

At one time, i incorporated some mime type moments into my repertoire; influenced by a guy nemed Robot Prince. But I only do me, and he, like eveyone else, watched, took and copied what they could, and some even best me at doing myself!

No my friend, nowadays I’m not original. In my prime, i was bar none. The most influential cat, bar none. Elements of my endeavors have been indirectly incorporated into almost every poppers performance. Popping Pete had the brake (drum). I brought the disc brake, and everybody, including Pete, use to disc brake! The vibrate; been there, I was the first moving vibrate. Sinbad/3d/strobe/animation/speed changes and the rythym riding instead of on the beat only popping (later perfected by my friend , flattop)

No my friend. I only do  my moves, and everybody else are doing my moves as well (in part or totally)!

LM: Do you feel that you have received the proper respect for your contributions by the current generation? Some OGs feel overlooked and betrayed.

Again there’s that word: “OG”. Wrong word to use by anybody! There are only a few cats that actually created or brung something new to the table, and only a few cats that are original/different! Everyone else could claim they saw, then went and practiced, and perhaps they became the best at it!

There are not many og’s. Sure, some were lucky to promote themselves and get onto tv, on stage, into film, but they only truely took the credit and income from the source. Many, myself included, were not soo lucky to get that opportunity

In the streets, OG is the identifying marker and title for the first! It’s like Senior and Jr, so most all of those guys trying to fluant the OG title are perhaps OG in name only. Perhaps they were pioneers. They didn’t create, but they took it into another arena. They were the first in that arena.

I’m the LA OG, or so i claim. I was not the first to pop, others did it before me, from different areas, around LA county. But to my knowledge I was the only South Central LA cat! Big deal! I am the originater, not of the robot/ not of popping, but of the combo-deal;.Bopping!

And i was an original! Today, I’m not so original. Perhaps there’s even questions as to if I am the best at even doing me ! But, i am the originator Anybody coming after me can not claim to be the first, and with that they can not be OG!

Click here for more of my interviews with streetdancers.

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Practice tip: Find your dance through drills

August 19, 2011 Leave a comment

Summary: Drills are not meant to just teach you certain moves. Drills help you find how your body can move in a dance. Every person has a different body and way of moving; this is why no two people doing the same drill should do it exactly the same way. Practising the same exercise allows you to provide feedback to yourself and experiment.

Explanation: The main advantage of locking and popping over hip hop choreography are the fundamental “drills” you can practice over and over again (exercises like the walkout or the lock). Every person has a different body and movement characteristics. Some dancers look better moving fast and dynamic, others look better moving slow but with more force. Drills provide you with exercises that allow you to experiment on how to move in an aesthetically pleasing way. No two people doing the same drills need to look the same. God is in the details, and only drills allow you to notice these details.

See more of my practice tips here.

Categories: Uncategorized

New practice tip: Avoid burning out

August 8, 2011 Leave a comment

Summary: Many people give up because they burn out from too high expectations that are not met by immediate results. The initial burst of enthusiasm dies out when you realise how slowly you improve in dancing. Accept the slow rate of improvement. Instead of setting yourself up for disappointment, let the dance take over your life in a slow fashion. In the beginning, just focus on practicing a little every day. Once you start seeing results, you will be motivated to have longer practice sessions. Then you may also start working on your body (stretching, cardio and weightlifting). You will not feel overwhelmed by this workload because you have experienced the benefits over a long period.

Explanation: I learned the greatest lesson in dancing from weightlift training. Let me explain. When we start physical exercise like weightlifting or cardio, we do so with great enthusiasm. We may train every day, giving it our best every time we go to a gym. But the results come slowly, far too slowly, and frustration starts to build. We train so hard, why aren’t we getting stronger quickly? Every session seems more like a burden, a waste of time even. We start to resent the whole process. Despite our guilt of sabotaging ourselves, we stop training altogether.

I went through this all-too familiar cycle not just with my weightlifting and stretching, but with my dancing, too. My high expectations could never meet up with the slow process, and I would burn out. This impatience is tragic, because there is no reason to work that hard and burn out in the beginning. Beginners in weightlifting will get stronger even if they only have light training once a week. The improvement rate is strongest at the beginning, even when we can’t easily see the improvements. In fact, training three times a week as a beginner will almost make no difference, because there is a limit to how fast one’s strength can grow. Additional training becomes necessary once one has achieved a certain level of fitness. It is better to start slow, see the benefits, then intensify your training in a gradual fashion.

I realised that this applies to dancing, too. I was overwhelmed by the difficulty of my first choreo classes and hated how long it took to start feeling comfortable. Should it take this long? Are the others learning this faster than me? Should I train harder? This only added to my stress and frustration, and I felt like quitting.

Over time, I realised that this worrying served no purpose. My dancing had improved over time, even though I hadn’t realised it while I was doing it. The more my dance improved, the more I felt like training more intensely. Dancing has altered my entire lifestyle. I continue to do weightlifting, stretching, martial arts, and eating healthy because of it. But this process took nearly three years. Had I started out training as hard as I do now, I would have given up very soon.

Categories: Training philosophy