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Posts Tagged ‘popping’

Practice tip: Always practice moves from both of your sides

January 7, 2012 Leave a comment

The most elementary mistake beginners make. For example, don’t just practice your armwave from the right arm to the left arm, but also from left to right. When you work on a basic choreo, also try to mirror (as in switching direction) the entire routine from the other side. It seems natural that you can transfer a move or a routine to its mirror image once you learn it one way, but this is not how muscle memory works.

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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.




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.

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.

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.

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.

Looking Elsewhere – Practicing alone

October 23, 2010 1 comment

This is an entry in the David Elsewhere series where I analyse his training methods and philosophy. The quotes are derived from his myspace post. In this entry, I discuss the following quote.

Practicing Alone I have found that it is more productive to practice alone than with people. This is partly because I feel like I am performing more than practicing when I have eyes looking at me. Practicing with people doesn’t give me the full opportunity to experiment because I become too self-conscious.

This may be the most controversial one on the list. I could list a number of benefits there are to practicing with others. Other people can fire you on and keep you motivated during practice, or at least keep you company. But when you’re around friends, endless distractions keep you from focusing. The stories from yesterday, the drama and beef between friends, plans for tomorrow. Many have iphones and ipads. How much more fun is it to watch the newest battle clips then to practice the basics yourself?  Shooting the wind will take up most of your time.

More importantly,  to be able to practice every day and devote the time it takes to learn a complicated style, it is necessary to learn how to practice alone. You can’t always rely on others to practice with you, or that they’ll be interested in practicing what you want to practice.

But Elsewhere touches on insecurity. Elsewhere states that he feels self-conscious when practicing with others. I know that feeling inside and out. I’ve quit many dance classes in my teens because of this feeling of being judged, of not being on par with the other trainees. It can be very demotivating to see others progress faster than you in a move. I rarely believe that I progress fast enough, and training with others only reinforces this pressure on me. This throws me off my course. I began to forget what I’m training for and only saw failure everywhere.

When I started practicing some moves alone in my room, I started to feel comfortable and realised that I could actually follow through on my objectives. I was surprised by the time and frequency I spent practicing. Not once a week, not for a few minutes; but every day and for hours sometimes. I realised that I could rely on myself and practice what I wanted to practice, at my own pace.

We can’t stay in our cellars forever. I gradually confronted my self-consciousness by first showing my dance to friends, then doing it at clubs. The idea to go to workshops and perform in front of experienced dancers was an even greater obstacle, and it required some gentle nudging by Michi Kasuga (we exchanged thoughts on the subject over many emails).  Validation is important for any dancer, and that can only come through sharing your dance. Without that, we feel like we are kidding ourselves by hiding our dance from critical eyes. Dancing helps overcome our fears, shyness, and inhibitions. It should be your goal to share your dance with others and prove your worth.

But even after you have reached that level, you still benefit from taking time to practice on your own, on your own terms, allowing you to experiment with greater focus. The more you expose yourself with your dance, the more it is necessary to retreat and recollect your thoughts and energies. All you need is a room, some music, a mirror, and time.

For many impatient and insecure beginners, practicing alone may be the only option to build up a small level of confidence and patience. Without that confidence, your mind is constantly clouded by self-doubt and frustration. No one can be more critical of our dance then ourselves, and we always fall short of our initial expectations. These frustrations can really inhibit your progress, and this may force you to quit for no reason. Considering the time it takes to create and master a style, this can throw you off course even if you don’t quit completely.

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