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Posts Tagged ‘animation’

Slim Boogie videoclips

November 19, 2011 Leave a comment

Read my interview with Slim Boogie.

Thanks to everyone who uploaded these clips. This is a small selection of my favourite clips.




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.

Three questions with David Elsewhere

March 5, 2011 Leave a comment

David Elsewhere’s dancing style and training philosophy have provided the greatest source of influence on this site. It is only natural that I contacted him so that he could represent himself in his own words. Here are three replies he sent to me.

Your practice methods and philosophies are a great inspiration to me. The principles require an incredible sense of self-reliance. Dance the way you want, trust your judgement, practice alone, transgress labels and catagories if necessary, rely on your memory and your own originality. Has this self-reliance always been a trait of your personality, or did you gradually learn the importance of it for your dance?

My self-reliance was mostly something I had to train myself to do.

It is only natural to be influenced by others especially when you believe someone else has a greater ability than you. I admit that I was influenced by and imitated a lot of people, but I eventually realized that it was more rewarding to be as independently thinking as possible.

I remember when I was a very young child I used to paint and draw really creative, extraordinary things. Of course my scribbly artwork as a child didn’t have the craftsmanship of a trained illustrator which I would later go to school for, but they did have a certain quality of creative freedom and innocence. I wasn’t afraid to draw a picture wrong because I didn’t know what wrong was.

Similarly with dancing I try to go about it in the same free spirit that I had as a child, before I was taught there is a right and wrong way.

Describe how Skywalker, Squid, and Salty influenced you. Are there any other dancers who played a significant part?

I was Squid’s friend since 8th grade. We both got into dancing around the same time in High School. He already knew how to do a few basic robot moves, and the backslide. He also seemed to naturally learn the basics a lot faster than I did. So I was really influenced by his style throughout the first few years I danced since I practiced with him so much.

Salty I saw in a breaking contest video within the first year that I started dancing. My mind was blown the first time I saw him dance and I became totally infatuated with learning his particular style. I would watch his footage over and over and then try to mimic his moves. I did this for many months, until I realized that it was almost impossible to copy his moves exactly. I would video tape myself and I would always be disappointed that I could never quite replicated his style. However my dancing wasn’t bad at all and it had my own unique personal flavor. Eventually I gave up trying to mimic him and stopped watching his footage altogether. This was very liberating and probably my biggest breakthrough because it was when I really started on my own path.

Skywalker I saw at Rave once probably a year or two after I had started dancing. Again I was amazed by his skills, mostly his uncanny waving ability. I started waving a lot more after I saw him. Since I didn’t have any footage of him to watch, I was only able to see him again in my memory. This definitely forced me to put my own spin on his style.

Other dancers which really influenced me would have to be: Mr. Animation for his popping ability, Bam Bam for his ground moves, Flattop for his isolations, Kujo for his philosophical outlook, and Midas for his style mixing.

You said in an interview that before the Kollab2001 clip went viral, that you thought that your dancing wasn’t really going to go anywhere. Did it really seem that unlikely at the time that a unique style like yours wasn’t going to lead to some kind of attention or success?

I could imagine my dancing getting some attention, but at the time it didn’t seem likely that my career as a dancer would suddenly take off the way that it did.

I was no stranger to the web before Kollab2001. The Detours video had been out for a while already and none of the video clips of me that where already on the internet got a lot of attention. Up to my kollab2001 performance I had been trying to make money off dancing for a long time doing various small gigs, street performing and selling the Detours video, yet the money I made wasn’t enough to support myself. Shortly after the Kollab2001 I had a falling out with my manager which prompted me to put dancing aside so that I could concentrate on my college courses. A year later the Kollab2001 clip appeared on the net and I had already graduated college and was working full time as a video editor. I hadn’t done paying dance gig in months and suddenly I was getting more offers than I could imagine.

Part 2 coming soon.

Raw interview: Vadim Savenkov

February 2, 2011 Leave a comment

This is my interview with Vadim Savenkov, one of the great Russian performing artists, who is also an amazing waver and botter. He is one of my biggest inspirations when it comes to blending performing arts and street dance. Also visit his website to receive further info.

What led you to performing arts like mime and circus clowns? Were there specific mimes and performers that inspired you?

During my childhood, I went crazy with movies. That is why I always like to dress as a movie character (soldier, indian, musketeer), and play the parts from recently watched movies. We in the USSR did not have the chance to buy nor rent any “carnival ” costumes. I used old clothes ,hats,belts, threads, needles, and my imagination. Sometimes my parents would help. And at the same time I did like drawing . Everybody was sure that I would be the painter because I easily won drawing competitions ( I later got into an art school ). Plus I have been in a children theater where I play parts. Then I was mad about martial arts and east culture. And of course music. When I heard first time “the Rockets” I felt something strange. I liked that music very much and I feel that something is getting closer.

Unfortunately in Russia, most of the invitations to participate in tv show with your act go to humorous shows. If you do not have a humor in your act you have almost no chance to be seen on tv. That is second reason why I start studying humor as a genre.
When I started to dance there were people who inspired me : Aleksei Geroulaitis, Vjacheslav Ignatjev, Michael “Boogloo Shrimp” Chambers.
Later I was inspired by: Michael Moschen, Koichi Tohei,David Copperfield shows( all production team), Michel Courtemanche, Tommy Cooper.
My favorites actors which inspired me from my childhood are: Andrey Mironov, Jurij Nikulin, Georgij Vitcin. Unfortunately those actors were seen only in Russia.

My drawing skills helped me to create new characters, build a combinations of moves, how to do the right make up.
My martial arts gave me good physical ability and knowledge of the rules of harmony.
My theatrical skill helps me to find right gestures, pouses and mimicry.
As a movie fun I have in my brain collection of many screen plays, actors reactions, compositions…
My researching skill helps me to get all that things together .
I am still researching an illusion dance and stage performance. Reading scientific books such as ” Biomechanic”, ” brain’s reaction on a visual signal”…
As for mime and clown, I can say that in 1990 I have a trip with famous Russian mimes. And of course I learn many things from them. Then I participated in shows with famous Russian comics. I always liked good sense of humor and one day I started to analyze this thing.

What is your daily training regime, and has this changed significantly over the years? How does one train to develop the strength, body control and agility that you acquired?

When I was younger I spent lots of time in training ( 5-8 hours a day), but now I often have no time for that, unfortunately, because sometimes I make the shows as director and it means that after the working day you have no time and no power. But if I have contract as a performer( in South Korea,Switzerland….) I spend at least two hours a day on training(character movement ,dance ,conjuring,…)
I think that east arts ( wu shu, karate,yoga..) can help to develop good body and soul control. For example, after practicing kata in karate for years I can able to make quick movements and stop suddenly.
If we need we can practice with a little weight on our wrists…
But I think that the most important thing is control the tension and relaxation in muscles and not to overtax joints. Of course tension is good thing If we want to do something extraordinary, but the way of harmony is how to be a good friend to our body and our soul and not to break them in order to impress audience .
Another thing is how to make combination( act,performance ) look good. As for me, I often draw on my ideas and try to find the way how to fill the space and how to match the music. Plus I always pay attention to the Russian theatrical school. There are lots of answers on how to make the act, how to work with a character ,where to you lead your audience …..
It does not mean that every B boy must know all these things. No. It is just for someone who want to get to the bottom of himself and make something that will be very good for audience of all ages.

How did you come into contact with streetdance styles like the robot, waving, and electric boogie? How did the Russian youth come into contact with streetdances.

Being in the Army in 1985, I suddenly saw Break Dance on TV! I saw people who were walking normally but the floor was moving, then you saw that it was a normal floor. Those people moved like robots, sometimes it seemed like the space changed, and the music sounded futuristic. From that particular moment I understood that this is what I have been waiting for such a long time!
I found that Break dance consist two things:
Demonstration of incredible physical ability. Audiences see ordinary people who perfectly operate with their bodies.
Demonstration of the ability of illusion. Audiences see people with abnormal physical ability who don’t seem human at all.
But I saw a stage version of Break dance . Maybe that is why when I got a chance to see the Breaking movie I was disappointed by some of the clothes. They looked like clothes for rock. But of course I liked very much electro rock , and the dance with the broom. I liked the happy face of a man who had no legs but had a chance to dance, being in harmony with the music and sharing his ability with an audience.
Later I bumped into the differences between street style and stage rules. As for the professional stage there were many obstacles. On the street there is more freedom.
Mostly I was on stage then on the street. But you know that we have cold weather in Russia, so most of the year you should dance inside.
Now the Russian youth can see break dance in a night club shows and on the internet, but very seldom on TV.

How was your experience in the Volzhskiy Circus School? How did it improve your skills?

When I was in a Circus School I like acrobatics, juggling and conjuring. I learned many rules about how to do tricks using only power which you actually need to spend to do that and avoid injury. And of course I learned what exactly it is to be a professional performer.

Is there any government support for the performing Arts in Russia? It at all possible to make a living as a performer?

Thank you for this particular question . As far as I can see, our government does not pay enough attention on these things. If you do not belong to classical ballet or folk dance, you are sailing on your own. It is difficult to even find out if someone casting because the casting system is hidden.
Our show business is based on singers and stand up comedians. If you want to go abroad you have to have a visa. Some of my friends (performers) are dead already and they were young people and not lazy at all but for them it was too difficult to get used to the situation. In the last years, the situation has changed a little. Our dancers can be seen on a world championships…( Top 9).
Anyway, it is possible to make a living as a performer in Russia.

How were your experiences performing in American venues like the Beau Rivage Casino.

I had a jolly good time there in USA! During my work in the USA I received many interesting ideas. In Las Vegas I saw most of the greatest shows with outstanding effects,scenery,costumes…!It was not my first visit to America but I always like to be there. Very quickly I met with local B boys . That was fun.
As for experiences… in one of those show I had character which performs thoughout the whole show . It is such a pleasure to feel yourself as a fantasy character, but at the same time you have to work hard and control your body as to be interesting for the audience; An who have already seen many shows,actors,dancers. You have to do something to make audience believe that you are not an actor or a dancer. You are real character.

What are your current projects?
Two months ado I finished with an ice show ” Alice in wonderland on ice” as a director and visual effects creator. Then one month ago I worked in a circus and gave lessons for the whole troupe and participate in a show as a wizard. Then took a part in Alterum theatre performance ( you can see on Youtube as” Alterum theatre” HD ,I was a Chess man).
At this moment I am participating in different shows which belong to Russian New Year celebration( December – January ).

What one piece of advice would you give people who are interested in the performing arts?

Try to get to the subject matter itself!

Best of luck for everybody!

For more interviews with inspiring people, click here.

Showcase: Madd Chadd

August 15, 2010 1 comment


Madd Chadd in Jon M. Chu’s Step Up 3d

Tyson Eberly is the one who got me into dancing. I admired his mechanical movements, waving, and animation skills. Tyson used to be in the group Elastic Illusions, which included Otis Funkmeyer. Funkmeyer taught me the importance of the robot as the foundation for other popping related styles. He also mentioned the name of Madd Chadd, a friend of his and Tyson, who Otis called the undisputed champion of mechanical movement.

When I viewed footage of his dancing, I saw why. The two qualities that define mechanical movement are isolation control and the ability to dimestop. Isolation is about moving one part of the body independently from another body part. Dimestops are the ability to stop a movement as abruptly as possible. These two skills give mechanical movement their unreal quality, because humans don’t quite move that way. It’s more about how a machine would mimic human movements, but not getting it quite right. Madd Chadd has excellent isolation skills, and probably the best dimestop skills out there. I particularly love his strobing (a series of advanced dimestops) that can mimic high-precision motor, or an electrical surge causing a glitch in his movements.


I found it quite unusual for a dancer to focus so extensively on the robot. How could one perform the robot style during a dance battle? The following clip from a battle in 2004 answered my doubts, though.

At the time I discovered his dancing, Madd Chadd had just started work on Step Up 3d, which recently came out in cinemas. It was directed by Jon M. Chu, the director of Step Up 2 The Streets. Chu formed the dance group LXD (Legion of Extraordinary Dancers) largely from the dancers of those films, and started a number of viral dance videos. These include the internet dance off against Miley Cirus and the Election Day dance off. The LXD performed a number at a number of events, but my favourite is their performance at the Ted Talks. The video below skips directly to Madd Chadd’s performance, but I advise you to watch the entire clip.

The project I feel most excited about is Chu’s new web series, The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers. Madd Chadd is the main character in the third episode, a fallen soldier who wakes up and finds that the villain (the dark doctor) has turned him into a robot (called Sp3cimen). It can be seen in on Hulu inside the US. Chu has stated that he’s trying to find a way to stream it outside of the US.

Growing up, I never thought I’d be interested in the robot, because I had seen some do it and it looked nothing more than just a joke. Once you think a dance is inherently bad, you stop taking it seriously and don’t believe that it could ever look good. If it weren’t for people like Madd Chadd, Tyson Eberly and Robert Shields, I never would have known how great this dance could be. I hope that the LXD reaches as many people in the mainstream audience and inspire them to see the dance for the art form that it is.

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Looking Elsewhere: Youtube is our friend and enemy

June 28, 2010 2 comments

This is the third entry in the David Elsewhere series where I analyse his training methods and philosophies. The quotes are derived from his myspace post.

Relying on my memory and not videos for reference – Like most people I have the natural tendency to subconsciously imitate movements I am frequently exposed to. I feel videos have the potential of doing more harm than good because multiple viewings make me more disposed to mimicry. Seeing Skywalker and Animation bust only on a few occasions prevented me from directly imitating them because all I had to go by was the memories in my head. Using memory alone as reference allows my creativity to manipulate external influence into something that is more of my own innovation.

This principle surprised me the most. If it weren’t for internet video clips, I never would have started dancing in the first place. For the first time in history, I have the ability to watch the greatest dancers in the world perform, no matter how remote i am from the hub of the dance community. I can receive expert tutorials without relying on dance teachers near my region. This is the first time that everyone in the world has access to this treasure trove of inspiring videos, and every dance style has the chance to spread like wild fire on a global scale. How could anyone denounce this?

But one issue nagged at me. Looking at the small selection of popping and bboy clips that survived from the late 70s and 80s, I am often in awe of the originality of the dancers. Granted, some elements of those dances may seem dated, even corny. But in other respects, the skill and creativity of the old school dancers overwhelmed me. The art of animation, vibration and floats/slides were more advanced in the 1980s then today.

And here’s the central question: How did the urban youth of the time, with almost no guidance from video clips or formal teachers, learn these incredible creative moves?

This question rose up again in my interview with Otis Funkmeyer. He wrote that having less access to footage proved to be an advantage for him and his fellow poppers. They were always “hungry”. Youtube offered too much eye-candy and didn’t produce the army of skilled dancers that he expected would come out of this trove of videos.

A few interviews with the OG poppers (from Westcoastpoppin.com) showed similar sentiments.

What do you think is the major differences between todays scene and before?

[…] We looked within our imagination. Many stylese came out in a short period of time, and those styles got flipped by the next person, you took the ball and ran with it your way. Today, many cats emulate thier dance from the sorce they are studing to learn it from. That, in my opinion, takes away some of the creative process that takes place when figuring out styles, moves, transitions, etc, yourself.

-Midnight, source

I think it’s all coo for videos and clips, but people have to remember to look at these clips for inspiration not for biting and copying verbatim. Peeps need to take from what they watch and twist it to there own sh^t. or if they are beginners, bite a lil until you are able to understand the dance better, and then change what you have bittin to your own sh&t.
Mr Wiggles, source.

We keep hearing that back in the day, no one danced like each other. Please explain.

First of all back then we didn’t have any video cameras to record different people we were lucky to ketch soul train so see the soul train line and watch the different dancers. […] everybody got there reps of there originality and being different.
-Shallow, source)

After long periods of reflection, I began to see some truth in these statements. I came up with a number of ways that people can abuse the dance clips that are meant to inspire us. I will come back to these and discuss them individually in later posts, but I will now focus on Elsewhere’s objection to mimicry. Elsewhere distrusts the ability to replay the clips over and over again, because it induces the viewer to mimic what he sees instead of inspiring them to take their style in a new direction. He elaborated on this in an interview with Oye Mag.

With all the people and dance styles that have come before you, how do you stay original?
That’s hard. I think that in the very beginning when most people start, it’s kind of necessary to copy people. But once your dancing matures I think videos can be a little unhelpful. You can watch them over and over again so you’re kind of brainwashing yourself into wanting to dance like that. I’m not saying that videos are a bad thing. I’m saying that they are good to some degree, but I just think that they are easily abused.

I like going to events and seeing someone dance, then going home and not being able to watch them again. When you don’t have the ability to watch something over and over again, your mind kind of manipulates the memory into something different. Then when you go home and have that vision in your head, it becomes your own interpretation.

Not being able to rewatch video clips therefore has advantages. It means that you may remember a cool move, but you can’t remember every aspect of the illusion. These gaps in your memory means that you have to stay inventive and come up with your own ways to achieve the illusion. In the process, you stay hungry and attentive. Your mind isn’t allowed to remain lazy because it can’t rely on mimicry. This process is more valuable then actually learning the move itself. It will feed into your originality, and give you the impetus to create your own moves and style.

Let’s look at an example that illustrates this. Mr Wiggles accidentally created his famous knee slide because of a misunderstanding. He heard that Popin Pete performed a moved called the knee slide. Mr Wiggles hadn’t seen Pete do it, but he assumed it was a back-slide (now called the moonwalk) performed on the knees. He practiced so long until he figured a way to pull it off. He did the move in the movie Beat Street and in a performance for the president.

It was only much later that he found out that Popin Pete’s knee slide was nothing like a knee moonwalk (it was more like the ET walk). Not being able to see the move even once, he used his imagination and created a completely new move.

I’m not saying to stop watching video clips altogether. They expand your understanding and can lead you into something new and exciting. Watch as many different clips of different styles for inspiration (I’ll come back to this point in Looking Elsewhere: Mixing Styles). But the clips can make you dependent and decouple you from your own imagination. Refrain from rewatching the same clips over and over again, because it will do you little good.

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