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Interview: Slim Boogie

October 29, 2011 1 comment

Slim Boogie

Half a year ago, I started losing interest in popping. I couldn’t figure out how to develop an interesting style within the confines of traditional popping styles. I started focusing on locking and physical exercise because it seemed more rewarding. But when a friend showed me a clip from Slim Boogie, I felt the same fascination I had when I first saw popping. His smooth flow, animated movements, isolation and hard pops showed me that it is possible to develop a style within popping. I met him in Brixton, England for the UK BBoy CHampionships and was able to interview him for a few minutes.

What are your daily traing goals, and how have these changed over the years?

For me, Ive never taken any Electric Boogaloo classes. I’ve never taken any any classes at all, actually. But my crew and I are very close to the EBs.

So you session with the EBs more than you practice?

Yeah. I practice with them and try to learn as much as possible, and I’m still learning. I think it’s good to learn the style, so we can keep it as popping. If you don’t do that it’s going to lose its edge. It’s gonna be a completely different thing. The way I usually practice… I always practice my hits, my angles, my musicality, but always just trying to be creative.

Try to be open to all styles. Don’t think of training as training, but as fun. Remember that there are always new ways of creating new things. That you always have room to innovate and create; like even with the old man and the walkout, you can create something within that style.

Liquid Metal: what was the greatest obstacle you had to overcome in your training?
Right now I’m working on more freedom in my dance. I used to be really into animation (I still am), but when you practice too much of something like the robot, you lose something. I wouldn’t say you lose the dance, but you lose some aspect of it. It becomes too much of only robotic movements or something like that. So now I’m trying to mix those robotic movements with a free feeling, but still stay isolated and animated. I’m sure that it has been done before, but I haven’t seen too many people do that.

How long have you been popping?
Six years, seven in May next year.

We are standing in front of the building for the UK Bboy Championships. What role does competition and ego play in this dance?

I see these competitions like UK BBoy as something to put on my resumé. Like when you get a Master’s degree from the university. You could be the greatest popper, but if you don’t have it on paper that you won these battles, then people won’t easily recognise that.

If you could only give one piece of advice to beginners, what would it be?
If you have a goal, then stick to that goal. Don’t care what everybody else says. If you don’t have a goal, then find one. I think that just following a goal will make you a better dancer.

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Richie Rich: What is real streetdance?

July 24, 2011 Leave a comment

Some time ago, I saw a video of locker Richie Rich discussing how many people nowadays don’t dance “real” locking, but only incorporate some locking moves into their freesytle form. While I had no interest in criticising or insulting him, I did see this as an opportunity to express some thoughts of mine on originality, labels, and technique. Richie felt the same way and graciously replied to a series of statements I sent him over email. These exchanges happened more than a year ago, and I have reconsidered many of my points below, but I hope our exchange can clarify your own thoughts about what “real” streetdancing should be.

Liquid Metal: You can argue technique and form, but no one has the right to tell you what you should like in a dance. A person’s judgment is rarely perfect, but I believe one should always pursue the elements of a dance they feel an instant connection to. They should disregard everything else.

Richie Rich: I agree. That is how I was introduced and fell in love with locking. I went to a nightclub and saw a locking group perform. I was amazed at the things they did. Their routine was concise, tight and full of surprises. I instantly fell in love with the dance and the music they were dancing to. I liked certain aspects of the dance and not others, so I focused on the parts of the dance I liked!! I didn’t care what others opinions were. I learned my technique first, dance second and then the most important part the soul or emotion within the dance.

Liquid Metal: The previous statement does not give you the prerogative to disregard foundation. Many of the dance moves require you to learn basic exercises first before you attempt the actual moves.

Richie Rich: I again agree, but will add that you need to understand and learn the basic foundational moves, roots and the history of any dance. In turn, I think it is important to master these basic moves if you want to do the dance from a foundational standpoint. If you do not master them, I would recommend not entering contests that deal specifically with this dance style! I would also say that if you didn’t learn the basics and foundation, you really can’t call yourself that type of dancer (like a locker).

Liquid Metal: If you respect the dance and research everything about it, you are free to take it in any direction that you want, no matter what other people believe the dance should be.

Richie Rich: That is called innovation!!!! I think that this is a very important part of any dance and the evolution of that dance. The problem is that today people do not learn the basic moves, roots, history and foundation of these dances. They go to classes and learn choreography and not the elements mentioned in the previous statement. I will talk specifically about locking for the rest of this response. People think that because they learned some locking history and know a few basics about the dance that they can now innovate on this dance. It takes more then just basics to innovate on a dance. It takes passion, conviction, understanding, knowledge, soul and more then just basics to improve on this dance. Imagine if I learned some basic tap dancing moves and then tried to innovate on this style of dance. I would need more then a basic skill level to innovate a hundred of years of this evolving dance style. I believe this same premise applies to locking. Now if you do choose to innovate with just the basics, that is fine but I believe the dance will look like a more watered down version of locking. It will lose some of its street elements and authenticity. There are those rare cases that this may not apply and this person may just stumble onto something by accident. Actually, this is how locking was created. Don Campbell was attempting to do some soul dances and couldn’t seem to get it right. Then he started doing something else and people found it amusing and kept telling him to do it again and again. This was how the first moves of locking were created. So again I say it’s not impossible but unlikely. I will keep an open mind in that case!!

Liquid Metal: My main gripe with popping and locking is that they sacrifice expressive and dynamic movement in favor of specialized techniques. This attention to certain forms of technique escape the attention of most audiences (that aren’t familiar with the dance) and the dance looks limited.

Richie Rich: Finally, we can disagree on something!!! I find the major problem with locking today is the lack of the technique!! There are plenty of dynamic movements in locking and I feel people do too much of this and do not really lock or dance. They are doing flips, knee drops, dives, splits, butt drops, soul dances, etc… but they do not lock. Locking can incorporate many different moves if done within the locking framework of the dance.

Another issue is that most people, do not know the basic moves and foundations so instead add other dances into what they call locking. Basically, they are dancing doing locking moves and truly not locking. I would call that more of a freestyle dance. There is nothing wrong with that but call it freestyle not locking. I see this over and over again in LOCKING competitions.
The final issue is that of SOUL and FUNK! People think that acting funny or silly during there so called solos that this is soulful and funky. Soul and funk does not equal funny. When James Brown performed he was soulful and funky, there was a certain feeling about him and no one laughed while watching him dance or perform. I think it is great thing to have personality within the dance that makes you look more like an individual. Instead, because they really lack the soul and funk and ability to do the dance they act silly or fake the funk. Most lockers out there lack SOUL!!
Soul for me is defined as a person’s ability to take their own personal emotions and feelings and express them physically in their dance especially locking. “Our body is the instrument that plays the music.” If a dancer does not have soul, it waters down the true authentic style, essence, foundation and street element of any dance. I can write about this point forever but will stop here to let our debate begin and just touch on popping.

I am not an expert when it comes to popping but I will give my opinion. The boogaloo style has specific movements and techniques but popping has a lot more styles to choose from. That is why you have seen the rise and increased popularity of the G-style movement. They are saying that there is a lot more to popping then one style and that we should know them all and use them all. I again disagree with you when you say popping sacrifices self expression. I believe popping allows self expression and has dynamic movements and that is why popping is so popular. I’ve seen many poppers that are great at expressing themselves while doing dynamic movements. This does not just apply for the popping superstars but for poppers that have not reached that status yet!! I say again, this is not my area of expertise and just my opinion.

Liquid Metal: I believe that the reason for the downfall of mainstream interest in streetdances (starting in 1988) came from the audience being flooded by sub-par performances. They rarely experienced the great performers that took the dance seriously. Because of this, they quickly made their mind that streetdancing itself was a bad artform.

Liquid Metal: I have to disagree due to the fact that streetdancing is bigger then ever. Some of the biggest shows on TV are dance shows such as ABDC, movies and the events around the world are bigger such as the Juste DeBout. The skill level of dancers has improved and I even see a large number of kids dancing and their skill level is incredible for their ages (Baby boogaloo, lil Demon, Jalean, etc..) I think streetdancing continues to grow and so does respect for these dances as an artform.

Showcase: Brian “Footwork” Green

August 9, 2010 Leave a comment

This is my feature on House and freestyle dancer Brian Green where I showcase his dancing. For my interview with him, click here.

I saw House dance for the first time at the Munich Express your Style event. It seemed like a fun dance, and I later watched a few clips here and there out of interest on Youtube. But when I stumbled onto Brian Green, and I saw something quite different and unique. Like the best dancers, he fused different dance styles together without degenerating the integrity of the individual styles. Look at the following clip, and list the flow of different styles. I see not just House, but also tap dance, some snaking, and a little bit of boogaloo, all flowing into one.

Researching him, I found out that Brian Green started to dance at the young age of 8 in Salsa, tap dance, and African dance. His brother introduced him to poppin and boogaloo in the late 70s, while two friends (Damien and Spanky) introduced him to House and Freestyling. So it’s clear that he is well-versed in a large number of dances, which allowed him to develop his unique fusion of the dances.

I found the moniker “Footwork” attached to his name sometimes. You’ll see that it fits when you see his dancing in the following clip. It’s rare to see a dancer who varies his footwork and uses the entire space of the venue.

I found out that Brian Green judged the previous years Express your Style event. Too bad I missed out on his judge demo. Pay attention to his excellent upper body isolations that he executes independently from his footwork.

In the following clip, you can appreciate his sense of timing and pacing. I have to say that his movements are unreal in this clip, which fits the unreal quality of the music track that is playing (Theo Parrish – Orchestral Hall).

Green acted as a choreographer for a large number of recording artists and dances, such as MYA. He is also the cofounder of World Soul and House Dance Convention, and also served as staff for the Red Bull Teamriders event. For more information on these events, read my interview with Green.

I leave you with the most fun clip of Brian. Here he’s absolutely freaking the beat, which is very difficult to do when executing these type of complex movements.

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Featuring: Katie Lee (SOX)

July 31, 2010 Leave a comment

I have to confess that I didn’t particularly like locking when I first saw the dance. I looked at some of Campbell clips, and it seemed to belong to a different era. I didn’t like the pointing, the clothes, the stationary stance, or the overly comical attitude.

But I remember the second I changed my mind and fell in love with the dance.

I rewatched it over and over again, showing it to friends, angry if they didn’t share my enthusiasm. It was one of the moments where I didn’t properly understand why I loved what I was seeing. Why did this one clip affect me so deeply when most locking clips didn’t? I just knew in my gut that it looked amazing.

This led to me to take a closer look at Yoshi (Japanese dancer from Bebop Crew), and the locking clips of Michi Kasuga (I focused on his popping styles before). I now prefer the locking style over traditional boogaloo popping, despite my love for popping body effects. Let me show you why by showcasing Katie Lee’s locking (her dance name is SOX).

The above So You Think You Can Dance clip (Canadian version) shows a quality that SOX shares with Yoshi. You can call both of them lockers, but they incorporate a lot of different types of dance into their style (SOX actually practiced hip hop styles for five years before getting into locking). You can see SOX doing body rolls, some waacking (I think), plus some excellent isolation and hard stops that poppers would envy (that’s what people mean by saying her moves are “clean”).

Most importantly, she dances to the music. I didn’t properly understand this before I watched these locking clips. Look at her participation in the 2009 Funk for your feet competition. It’s very difficult to incorporate your entire body into the dance and keep your groove to the rhythm. SOX doesn’t stand stationary for very long in any position, incorporates a wide range of different types of movement, but she never loses her timing.

Another crucial quality is the ability to express a fun attitude to the audience. This often veers into purely comical gestures, but SOX manages to not resort to that. Watch the following battle (same competition) against the equally impressive Loose Canon. Look at how much fun and goodwill both of the dancers are able to express.


(The song is called “Why Leave Us Alone” by Five Special. Yes, I can’t stop listening to it either.)

See how well they play off of each other at 0:59. This turns the battle into a dynamic and interactive experience, which is very different from most of my battles (the below video skips directly to that part)

Some of this body gestures look so precise and on time, it borders on mime work. In the following clip, she does a guest appearance at Flowshow 2008 with fellow locker Mayumi.

At 0:24, Katie mimes being surprised by the sudden appearance of Mayumi, then expressing how impressed she’s with Mayumi’s dancing. It lasts only a split-second, but such details catch my attention immediately (again, below video skips directly to relevant part).

Now look at the quick changes of body poses and gestures (ditto). I don’t think I’ve seen something like this elsewhere.

I found something in Lee’s style of locking that I didn’t find in boogaloo. The need to listen to the music, express your fun attitude through your body gestures and poses, and to incorporate your whole body into a diverse set of movements instead of remaining stationary. I will always feel grateful for that.

I leave you with one interview that she gave before her 2008 Flowshow gig. She provides some information about herself and a quick explanation as to why she didn’t advance to the SYTCD finals. Dancers need to excel in a large number of choreography in these competitions instead of just one (Mr Fantastic and Pacman dropped out from the SYTYCD competition for similar reasons). I understand, but still think it’s a crime.

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Raw interview: Poppin John (part 2)

July 3, 2010 1 comment

5. Which dancers and teachers made the greatest impression on you at the beginning (and has this changed nowadays)?

So when I first started out poppin, I thought there were 5 poppers in the world (hahah). Salah, Mr.Wiggles, Poppin Pete, Bionic, and PopnTaco.

That soon changed when I started traveling and meeting poppers from nowhere and everywhere. I felt so small. I thought I was a beast and then realized that I was just a kid that had a few good waves. Salah was a big influence when I was beginning. I was amazed by his battle attitude and how he always had the crowd wrapped around his finger….I still feel the same about Salah, and after teaming up with him to battle in Juste Debout, I have so much respect and love for him. He definitely is super humble and very professional. A very good person all around and a good friend of mine now. It was a dream come true dancing with him…

Wigz was the first popper I ever know existed and I would say he was the biggest influence of mine…I watched a wigz tape over and over and over trying to learn moves and techniques. Now wigz is the person I go to for advice on my dance and business. He always has the time to answer me, and he was and always will be a huge influence of mine.

During the first 5 years of my dance, I decided I wanted to be a boogaloo popper…all the poppin jams were full of them and I really didn’t fit in with any of them. So that was a big focus of mine. I wanted to boog sooooo bad, so I bought a Poppin Pete tape and he broke down a lot of boog positions, and I started to boog in this period of my dance career. I was learning very slow. I really couldn’t find the feel of boog and the positions were foreign to me. But I stuck with it. A couple years went by and I had been to a few more big jams freestyle session. I saw J-Rock win freestyle session 8 and that’s what I wanted my dance to look like. But it wasn’t happening so I still kept pushing it…

I just couldn’t feel it one day, and I said “Fuck it, bro. I’m gonna do me.” I started looking in the mirror, seeing what I liked. I always loved it when I saw a popper get really “clean”… isolated, animated, clean waves. Popn Taco’s a beast in my book and always will be.

[Liquid Metal: I second that opinion on PopNTaco]

So Poppin Pete was an influence of mine when I really wanted to fit in with the boog world, but not so much now. I think he is amazing and a legend, but not really what I’m going for in my dance. Nowadays, I get influenced by everyday students of mine and my crew Soulbotics . But I try to influence myself and learn new things by myself. Its easy to watch videos on youtube now and really pick up that persons feel without knowing it, so I try to stay conscience of that and try to keep my own feel.

[Liquid Metal: This echoes my post Youtube is our friend and enemy]

6. What does your daily practice session consist of (including any supplementary conditioning and flexibility training)?

Daily practice consists of a studio solo session for 1 to 2 hours. Then I have choreo practice for 1 hour. I put a wall up for myself a few years ago and said I was not good a choreo. Now im trying to break that mental block, so I jam out with a crew in El Paso. I have been getting pretty good.

Then after that studio session I head home and change, go off to the club to really session. When I’m in the studio I “practice”, and when I go out I “session”. They are very different in my book. When I practice, I practice styles. When I session, I transition in and out of different styles, flip styles, and really connect with the music.

As far as warm up and flexibility goes, I really don’t focus too much on those. I just GET DOWN as hard as I can.

7. What is the most common mistake beginning poppers make, and what advice should all new poppers know?

I think a big mistake beginning poppers make is trying to cut corners. I feel there are no short cuts in this dance . You have to learn the techniques of poppin and the styles of poppin before you can execute “moves”. I see many beginners just jumping from move to move to move, but they don’t have the control or technique to execute them…but I can also say that’s not a mistake, its just how it is today. I feel that those dancers are doing all they can with the skill level they have. If they stick with it, they will eventually learn the techniques and control. So I would say the mistake is not knowing that there is a lot of technique to learn before you can make moves look good.

And that brings me to my advice. You have to practice as much as possible to get better. This dance is a life long dance, meaning it takes YEARS to learn many of the techniques that are in poppin. So my advice is to never take a break. Always practice and try to find motivation in every situation to train more. When I lose, I train. When I win, I train. When I feel that I’m not as good as this guy, I train. When I feel I have a high skill level than this guy, I train. I find that fire in every situation to practice more.

8. What are your thoughts on the competitive nature of popping, and how should one deal with the success of others?

Well, when I started dancing that’s what it was all about. In battling, I was sooo hungry and I wanted to prove myself in every circle. I learned so much about winning losing and using it all for motivation.

But there are a few things that I would like to say about the competitive nature of poppin. Be careful not to get too caught up in the drama of this dance. We can forget that it is a positive thing and we do it because we love the dance and the music. If you cant take losing very well then you should not battle. You are putting your dance in front of someone to judge it and critique it. If that is something that will hurt you don’t put your self in that position.

That being said, competing is a huge part of my life and I cant seem to get away from it. It is tough at times to take a loss and also to take a big win. You can’t let either of them get to your head too much. And about the success of others: the way I look at it, the better other poppers do, the better it is for the whole dance. I believe that we have the most talented people in this culture and we should all get exposure and the fruits of hard work. This dance is hard to learn, and when that much time is put into anything, I think there should be rewards greater than personal expression. But that just is my view. There are many people who view that subject differently… But to be successful in this industry you have to work hard and go get it you can’t just stand around and wait for the opportunities to knock at your door.

Click here for part 3 of the interview.

Raw interview: Poppin John (part 3)

July 3, 2010 3 comments

9. Can you remember instances where your creativity helped you through a troubling period?

To be honest, I cant really say there were instances, but I can say that every time I step on the dance floor all troubles all doubts worries just disappear and all I can feel is music. This fact has made this dance a addiction rather than a hobby. I use it for expression and the more I do it the more I need it. It gets to the point where I can’t go 2 days with out getting down for real.

10. You mentioned on your Myspace page that you believe in God. Can your remember an example where your spirituality strengthened your creativity? Can your remember an example where your creativity strengthened your spirituality?

Yes, I do believe in God and I would like to say I give God all the credit for the things I have, and that I have done. I see more and more of God in this dance and in the experiences I have with other dancers. It’s crazy, the people he has put in my life through this dance.

11. How did you join Soulbotics Crew?

SoulBotics was a joining of 2 crews. First there was me, RandmRok, and Sweet feet. We decided to team up and make a crew. We didn’t really have any names set, but then we swooped up Dnoi and it was us 4 for a few months. Then we met John Doe and his crew Diverse Souls out of Dallas (John Doe, 747, and Press Play). We had such a good click with them and their personalities that we just joined forces as a crew. We put down Breeze lee and PopNtod, so that makes 9 and we have been family ever since

12. How did you and Soulbotics Crew start producing your own tutorials?

Well, Learn2bust.com is my baby, so to speak. Me and my father came up with the idea for a website and planned it out. I went through a few web designers and finally got hooked up with a guy named Jason Daynger out of Albuquerque NM, and this gave life to our idea. I was teaching a lot of lessons alone for the first year and then I started asking members of SBK to help me with different styles for the site. I am planning on getting many other dancers the get down on Learn2bust in the near future.

13. What changes do you see in popping now then when you started?

The changes… Well, a big change for me was me deciding that I didn’t need to fit into the boogaloo world and that I could just do me and what I thought looked good. That was a big change and I feel that Gstyle has a lot to do with that fact. Aside from all the shit talk there are many great things that have come from that drama war….and another change for me is that poppin is much more serious for me. Its not a game anymore. I treat poppin like a sport. I stay in shape for it, I practice mentally. Before I was just having a good time with my friends.

14, What are your current projects and future plans?

Learn2bust.com is one of my main projects, but I have also just signed with a manager out of LA, as well as an agent from Clear talent Group. I’m trying to get more into the mainstream industry to get more work. Music videos, commercials, things like that. So hopefully that will be in the near future…I am also planning some competitions in the next couple of years so just trying to stay busy and grind out as much as possible!

15. Finally, can you describe your most memorable battle or moment in dancing (doesn’t necessarily have to involve you).

That’s a hard one! Well, here is a big one for me. Freestyle session, I think 10, maybe 11, before HTWWW joined in to cater for the popper and lockers. Cross one had us set in the lobby for the poppin battles. It was a 2 day jam, and we made it to the second day. This was our first battle as a crew Soulbotics. So the night after the first day, we ended up staying in Englewood at some random hotel, and there was a walled in parking lot with 2 cars in it. We sessioned as a crew for like 4 hours, making up 2 and 3 man routines. The next day we have to battle MGF. Me and John Doe went first, with a dope routine. The battle was the best battle I have ever been apart of.

MGF went on the take it and unfortunately Cross One didn’t have a camera in the room for that battle (and of course they were not letting cameras in the door). So that one went down live, just like it used to be: no second look, nada…there were many people who told us we won that battle. Members of MGF and the judges told us we lost because we didn’t have a full crew routine and they did.

It was a great battle and it created a very strong bond for us as a crew. I feel that that was the real moment when we officially became SBK.

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Raw Interview: Otis Funkmeyer

April 19, 2010 Leave a comment

This is my interview with Otis Funkmeyer. For a quick introduction, read my feature on this scholar of popping.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Arundel, Maine, a small town of 2000 white people. The house I grew up in was built in 1690 and my closest neighbor was 1/2 mile away. We didn’t have cable television in my town until I was 13 years old. All true!

What got you into dancing, and why did you specialise in popping?

I got into dancing because of raves and I had a very intense experience with LSD at a rave that made me want to drop everything–I was a math major in college–and become a dancer. I chose to specialize in popping because it’s the best dance. Period. It is so funky and amazing and it is so illusional and amazing it is so trippy and amazing and the way that a popper can BECOME the music. I’ve never seen it anywhere else. I was hooked immediately. I saw an old clip (this is 5-7 years before Youtube) of Skeeter Rabbit of the Electric Boogaloos and I crapped in my pants and said “THIS IS WHAT I WANT TO DO.” Within 2 years, Skeet was my good friend and teacher.

What was the reaction of your parents and peers to your dancing passion?

People were VERY surprised and VERY skeptical. I kept it to myself in many ways for a long time. I think that it’s really important to nurture your creativity and if you notice that there is someone in your life who is not supportive of your passion and your dream, you must shield it from them. Creativity is like a tiny baby flower. It is very delicate and fragile at first. It needs love and encouragement. Too much negativity can kill it.

One of the biggest things that my journey to popping has taught me is that if you stick with your passions, you develop a sense of character that can not be taken away from you and it sticks with you in every endeavor you become involved with.

How did you come to the conclusion to pursue dancing full-time and travel to learn more about the dance?

I couldn’t help it man. I was obsessed. OBSESSED. It was all I could think about. For a long time, I had no interest in talking about ANYTHING except popping. My friends JRock and PopnTod and I used to spend HOURS on the telephone just talking about anything and everything related to popping… it’s deep man this popping thing!

What were your experiences living with poppers (like Madd Chadd) and making friends with a new network of poppers.

It was the best. The way that I have always felt is that I participated in one of the amazing renaissances of the world. Like the Harlem Renaissance or Paris in the 20’s. I mean, it was me, JRock, PopnTod, Madd Chadd, Tetris, Animatronix, Pandora, JSmooth, Kid Boogie, Preying Mantas… we would just hang out and go dancing all the time. We were all young dancers just trying to get better. Now, we are all winning contests all over the world and starring in movies and theatrical productions. It was a special time and the best part is that all of us were a part of it and so we have a special look of recognition when we see each other.

Which poppers and teachers made the greatest impression on you during this time?

My main teacher without question was Skeeter Rabbit. He taught me as much about life and art as anyone I’ve known. Skeet and I were SOOOOOO different from such different walks of life that it just worked. He was the one who made me feel comfortable around people different from me. My first teacher who really got me going was Poppin Pete. And my VERY first teacher who showed me the ropes was Gorgeous Fon the Dapper Don, who has basically created one of the biggest and best popping scenes in the world now in Montreal. I have also learned a LOT from Jazzy J, Buddha Stretch, Boppin Andre, and Brian Green. Those guys all put together are my main teachers. And also JRock, PopnTod, and MaddChadd. We all lived together so were always showing each other new things.

How did you become involved with Elastic Illusion, and how did the company break up?

I got super disillusioned with the popping scene. As I started growing up and maturing and developing spiritually, I saw how lame the whole thing was. A bunch of teenage boys basically–always beefing, always talking about drama… it was actually more like teenage GIRLS to be honest. I just lost interest.

The culminating incident was when Suga Pop punched out my friend PopnTod for no reason. Basically, because Suga Pop’s whole mentality is based on dominating people. If they stand up to his intimidation, all he can do is fight. He is a sad man–at least he was when I knew him. And I’d say that to his face. It’s the truth.

After that, I thought, this is STUPID. I want to be involved in sharing the FUN of dance with people. I don’t want to tell you how to dance. I just want to show you HOW and let you make up your own mind.

And me and Ace and Tyson are some weird guys. So we thought. Let’s just go for it all the way. And we did.

The breakup was a sort of “you reap what you sow” thing and we all learned a lot from it. It just happened… People change.

How did you start producing your own tutorials?

I was always really scared of being in front of the camera so it took me a long time to start producing my own tutorials. After the Elastic Illusion experience, I realized what I actually cared about was people who wanted to learn REAL POPPING. I mean, just read my resume above. I’ve studied extensively with pretty much ALL of the OGs. I didn’t even mention how much I studied with Taco and Wiggles and Suga Pop, but I did. They just weren’t that huge an influence on me.

And people were always calling us “fags” in Elastic Illusion. I figured, I’ll show you what real dancing is, and then you see what you call me.

To put it another way, the goal with Elastic Illusion was to show millions of people how to dance. Our videos have about 23 millions views as of May 2010 so it’s like, we succeeded.

My goal with my tutorials is to create 10,000 HARD ASS, RAW, FUCK YOU UP IN THE CIRCLE, EAT YOU UP IN A BATTLE, HARD HITTING POPPERS. So it’s a different goal and it requires a different approach.

What does your daily practice session consist of, including any supplementary conditioning- and flexibility training?

I eat really healthy. I have spent about 10 years learning the ins and outs of nutrition and now have a diet I am very happy with. A lot of raw food, mostly (but not strictly) vegan. It works for me.

I have discovered, even though I know this might be too hard to believe, that you just have to practice when you feel like it. Look at dance as a life long journey. Some weeks or months or years you want to get down 24/7. Sometimes you don’t. Just flow with it. TRUST THE PROCESS. Don’t worry about getting rusty.

Popping, the way I teach it, is a BIIIIIGGGGGGGG dance. There are a LOT of concepts, a LOT of styles, a LOT of feels to learn. You have to take your time. Be patient.

I see a lot of people in a hurry to be the next Pacman, the next Mr. Fantastic, the next Elsewhere. Those are not the students I’m interested in. Those people come and go (not Pac/Fan/Else, but they’re wannabes). i am wanting to teach people who are in it for the long haul. I don’t get caught up in HOW MANY of those people there are.

So, basically, I just dance when I feel like it. is it good? I dunno. Is it bad? I dunno. But I do know that it works for me.

What is the most common mistake beginning poppers make, and what advice should all new poppers know?

Going too fast. On all levels. Trying to run before you walk. Trying to freak beats before you can ride beats. Trying to boogaloo before you can pop. Ignoring the robot.

The biggest advice is SLOW DOWN. Practice air posing. Work on your slow, subtle dimestops. Be patient. Don’t try to get “GOOD” so fast. Be OK being BAD! You’ll get GOOD! Everyone gets good eventually. Just be patient. ENJOY where you’re at.

This was the advice that I was given that I didn’t take! And now I wish I had.

The other advice is listening to other people TOO MUCH. At some point, you have to decide how YOU want to dance. Skeeter Rabbit did it for me but maybe he doesn’t do it for you! That’s cool. TRUST YOUR GUT. Don’t trust mine! That took me a long time to learn and when you learn that, you will have a confidence when you dance.

What are your thoughts on the competitive nature of popping, and how should one deal with the success of others?

Man, you gotta keep GRIIINDIN. Just keep putting in work. The competitive nature is what makes the dance dope. A heated battle is like nothing else. Fuck the contests; a circle battle is where it really goes down. No politics, just show and prove. It’s primal. It’s real.

You know, I’ve been in the game 10 years now. I’ve burned some bridges that I’ve had to rebuild and I’ve discovered that even when you think someone has disappeared, they haven’t. Work on CONGRATULATING and APPRECIATING other people’s success. Think about how special it is that you knew that person way back when. And realize that if you are around them, then maybe it’s because you’re well on your way toward success as well.

I mean, I got STOOOORIES man. I remember when JSmooth had no confidence, when JRock had no car, when MaddChadd had no home, when PopnTod had no job, when Pandora had no musicality, when Kid Boogie had no skills. I mean… that’s special you know.

I discovered I had to make my own path. As Eminem said, “I came to the fork in the road and went straight.” That’s wassup.

What changes do you see in popping now then the time where you started?

You know what. I just saw JRock for the first time in a minute last night and we were talking about this. The youngsters don’t understand the importance of foundation. I always thought Youtube was gonna make an army of dope dancers and on one level it has, but on another level, there is so much eye candy to try to bite on Youtube that a lot of people are not historians. Trust me. Victory is achieved by the patient.

Our generation had to be DETECTIVES man. I’m talking PRE-DVD era. We were mailing each other VHS cassettes back and forth across the country. Trying to find ANY SCRAP of footage we could possibly find. I always thought this sucked for us. But actually, it made us HUNGRY. We were forced to always be looking, always be grinding, always be searching.

And I think for that reason our dance has more SOLIDNESS. The architecture of our dance has more of a foundation. There’s a basement and good scaffolding. You can’t BS that stuff.

The way I think about it is like–what’s the longest-lasting building on the planet? The Pyramids in Egypt.

Now I actually think that there was extraterrestrial assistance in their construction, but ignoring that for a moment…

What’s the first thing you notice. IT’S NOT EASY TO BUILD THAT SHIT MAN. You got THOUSANDS of MASSIVE stones. So you do that hard work for 500 years and the shit lasts for like 10,000 years. That’s how it goes.

You wanna be a dancer who LASTS. Who not only gets on the TV-show-of-the-moment but who is still going strong, getting more and more respect at age 50, 60 and beyond, you gotta do the HARD WORK. There are no shortcuts to foundation. That’s plain and simple truth.

What are your future plans?

My goal is to create the ultimate popping teaching resource and game that the world has ever scene. I spend so much time thinking, analyzing, brainstorming the best way to teach this dance. You know when you go into a ballet or jazz dance class. They got a SYSTEM man. You learn in a very specific way. I want to create the Funkmeyer method of learning popping. I want to produce well-rounded, super hard, very unique and creative dancers by the thousands.

My other goal is to be the star of a holographic video game popping instructional. Something like rock band/guitar hero for popping. The technology is not there yet but we get closer everyday.

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