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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.

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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: Paulo Genovesi (a.k.a. Hitman)

August 29, 2010 Leave a comment

For some reason, I keep coming back to Canada. I was just rounding up my contacts with the Canadian lockers when I happened to catch a video of the Canadian based group The Moon Runners. They are an amazing crew, and each individual member holds up in their own unique way. The group deserves a proper introduction (and I’ll give it to them soon), but let’s focus on one of its members: Paulo Genovesi, a.k.a. Hitman.

You can see from his above videos his incredible isolation control, his waves that creep through his body, and his ability to make his botting movements look unreal. I don’t think it’s wrong to compare his qualities to those of heavyweight botters like Madd Chadd and Tyson Eberly.

The following clip not only shows Hitman’s talent, but also the spot-on choreography by the entire group. They describe the type of music that they dance to as glitch hop. The music is defined by sound effects, and the group interprets these sounds with their unreal movements.

The following clip showcases Hitman’s command of speed changes. He alternates slow movements with quick bursts of explosive movement, which then come to a dead halt just as quickly as they started. I found this his most impressive solo.

There are many other videos of him and the crew Moon Runners, and I’d advise you to check them out. You won’t regret it. Also check out Hitman’s youtube account and facebook page. The youtube account of the crew Moon Runners can be found 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: The Road Less Travelled

July 24, 2010 2 comments

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

Exploring where others haven’t – In dancing I have found that particular areas are easier to be original in than others. I think that certain styles are less explored than others and this leaves more room for innovation. From the artistic perspective, the less traveled path is usually always the more rewarding one and the one I have tried to stay on.

David Elsewhere. source

Without leaving their own art, the ingenious leave the common path and take, even in professions grey with age, new steps towards eminence.

Baltasar Gracian. A Pocket Mirror for Heroes. Trans. by Christopher Maurer. In Robert Greene’s The 48 Laws of Power, p. 349.

Wonders never amaze the second time around. How many looked in awe when the first bboys started doing windmills? Remember when the audience gasped when Michael Jackson debuted the moonwalk at the 25th anniversary celebration of Motown? Now both of these moves are often seen as nostalgic throwbacks to the 80s.

Quickly losing amazement of the familiar represents one of the great tragedies of the human mind. Audiences quickly feel jaded by any spectacle. If you want to survive as a dancer in a certain field, you need to perform the moves better then the dancer before you. I’m new to the bboy world (just as an observer), and I’m in shock how well the foundations of today’s bboys are. You face a lot of competition as a bboy. There are thousands of others who practice the same moves you want to practice. They may be stronger, more talented, have more experience.

Creativity plays a very large part in streetdancing. We have the ability to throw off competition by dancing on our own terms, not the terms others put on us.

I haven’t seen any evidence that Elsewhere can boogaloo. I’ve not seen him perform most of the basic popping routines most poppers judge each other by. In all likelihood, he’d have to spend years learning these type of dance. And then he’d be an average boogaloo popper.

Elsewhere took a smarter route. Instead of competing in the same fields as the other poppers, he focused all his energy on developing his own moves and taking them further then other people would take them. Look at the first two dancers in the Kollaboration clip.

Although it’s hard to tell with only a few seconds of their performance, they have a solid foundation in their popping routine. But they look very bad in comparison with Elsewhere. He performed moves that nobody in the room had seen before. Perhaps some had seen strobing, but not the way Elsewhere strobed his hands crawling across his chest, his head twitching from side to side in rhythm. Liquid dancing and abstract waving was known to some degree (though it was a very underground movement). How many had seen a person melt into a puddle, though?

It was no contest. Elsewhere was fighting on his own terms, not the traditional popping battle field. I’ve watched the clip more often then I should have, but not once have any of the commenters said that the first two deserved to win.

Breaking away from the traditional path may frighten most dancers. You may feel left behind if you don’t train the same way other people do. How can you call yourself a bboy if you don’t train the same moves all the other bboys train? At some level, most of us want to be told what to do. If we follow these guidelines, we will develop the skills that we need, then we can call ourselves dancers, or bboys, or poppers. God knows that I have these thoughts many times, often severely.

The problem is, everybody else is doing the same routines you would if you followed this type of logic. You’ve spent a lot of time training for something that others do much better then you. It is easier to innovate in fields that other people neglect.

In a way this represents a god send for most streetdancers. Streetdancers often feel attracted to the bizarre, to the amazing, to the weird. Perhaps poppers in particular feel this way, because most movements are calculated to be “unreal” in some way. It seems natural that these dancers would start looking into the most obscure fields for inspiration. The more obscure the inspiration, the more bizarre the styles and moves, as logic dictates.

There are other benefits. Tutorials and workshops teach the most basic, well-known moves. The Youtube age has provided us with a lot more diversity and access, and you’d be amazed how easily you can find obscure footage. Sometimes you can only find one video clip, with only a few minutes (or a few seconds) of relevant footage, but that’s enough to get you on your way.

I spent a lot of time searching for strobing tutorials (forget about finding workshops teaching this stuff). The only helpful one I found was from Tyson Eberly. This represented perhaps five minutes of tutorial footage (Strobing tutorial begins at 11:45 of the clip below).

I took that and tried the best I could, but it represented an enormous amount of trial-and-error on my part to figure out what to do. I had to stay attentive to what I was doing and provide myself with constant feedback. My hands and fingers were not doing what they were supposed to do, and I had to figure out why by myself.

I felt frustration many times over, but at the same time, I felt great satisfaction. I was achieving results by relying on my own wits and ingenuity instead of practising the same drills without thought. It felt more like a creative process, and this translated into further passion, into more practice, and better dancing. I try to take this attitude now whenever I try something new. I will attempt to emulate the anti-gravity moonwalk (not the Michael Jackson moonwalk) that I once saw a dancer from Street Scape perform. It’s less than three seconds of footage from the 80s, but that’s enough to get me going on my way.


(I advise you to watch the entire clip. You’ll thank me for it.)

Yes, this approach requires you to trust your passion and judgement, practice on your own, and endure people resenting you for taking a new path. I believe it is worth the effort many times over.

We forget how free we can define our streetdance. We have work shops, judged battles, and dancers who consider themselves authorities on what popping, bboying, locking, or liquid “is”. But essentially, we can take the dance in any direction that we want, and how far we want. Nobody has the power to tell you where your passion should take you.

It is an uncommon skill to find a new path of excellence, a modern route to celebrity. There are many roads to singularity, not all of them well-travelled. The newest ones can be ardous, but they are often short-cuts to greatness.

Balthasar Gracian. In Robert Greene’s The 48 Laws of Power, p. 356

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Tyson Eberly

April 19, 2010 2 comments

Tyson Eberly is the one who got me into popping.  It was his online tutorial series How to do the robot that made me start practicing, and his tutorials continue to be the most helpful and detailed tutorials I have encountered. There aren’t many poppers who are great dancers as well as teachers, but Tyson is exceptional. Versatile in his styles, Tyson is skilled in popping, roboting, waving, tutting, and miming.

I feel grateful that I could interview him over email and present him on my blog. His story shows how popping came back as a popular dance style after more then a decade of neglect. it also shows how dancing can help one person struggling through difficult times.

Tyson was born in Austin, Texas, and practiced popping as early as age 7. “[T]he 3 primary influences I remember are the movies Beat Street and Breaking. And the last would be the late MJ of course.”

However, back in 1983, popping remained an underground dance practiced mostly in poorer urban regions, and “unless you lived in the hood, nobody was doing it.” He stopped popping and moved on to other party dance styles  such as the Running man and the Hammer. He continued dancing in his teenage years, but became more focused on parties, drinking “and chasing girls”.

This spread into his twenties and began to take an enormous toll on his health. He developed the Epistine-Barr immune deficiency and became “a sick 25 year old alcoholic going on 50.”

A friend invited him to move out to LA, and shortly after arriving he decided to start abstaining from alcohol for six months, “which was a scary thought but deep down [I] knew it had to be done as my health had only gotten worse.” It was in these troubled times that he reconnected with popping. He saw a 2003 Mitsubishi Eclipse commercial where female dancer Dusty Paik popped and waved inside a car to the Dirty Vegas track Days gone by.

(Some of you may remember Dave Chappelle’s parody).

The commercial was based on the music video to Days gone by. The music video featured Byron McIntyre and Garland Spencer breaking, popping,  locking, and popping.

Shortly thereafter, he encountered another female dancer who was “killing it” in a club. He asked her from where she learned those moves, and she mentioned  Mr Wiggles, one of the earliest and most prominent poppers (and the most business savvy, selling his instructional tapes over http://www.mrwiggles.biz).

Tyson purchased two instructional tapes on tutting and footwork. He also bought a basic popping tutorial by Popin Pete, a member of the groundbreaking dance crew The Electric Boogaloos.

By now, Tyson became fully immersed in the dance. He opened up a dance studio in the garage of his San Fernando house and trained at hip hop dance school Mellimium. He associated with and befriended a number of poppers, such as Madd Chadd, Pandora, J-Rock, Poppin Todd, and Otis Funkmeyer. He became particularly close with Madd Chadd, and Tyson maintains that Madd Chadd is his biggest influence. I can believe this, because Madd Chadd is one of the best botters out there. He is currently featured in Jon M. Chu’s dance group Legion of Extraordinary Dancers (LXD), and can be seen in Chu’s films Step Up 2 and Step Up 3d

The more he immersed himself in popping (or robopoppin, as he calls it), the more frustrated he became by the lack of mainstream attention. This led him to establish the dancing company Elastic Illusion with Otis Funkmeyer and Josh “Ace Ventura” and they produced the How to do the robot series.  It represented a great financial risk for Tyson, but it became a success. Many of the videos received millions of views, and it spawned a second tutorial (Breakdance DVD, taught by Ace Ventura).

Despite the success, it was a short-lived venture. Ace Ventura left the group to produce further tutorials independently, and Tyson broke of business relations with Otis Funkmeyer after a dispute over revenue shares.Tyson moved back to Austin and started hosting his television program Tyson TV on Channel 16 Austin Public Access. I have seen the program, and his dancing tutorials are even more in depth and original. I can only recommend the program.

Tyson also teaches weekly classes, produces a weekly radio program (the new paradigm). He was a involved on the Bruce Willis film Surrogates (motion capturing for the film’s robots).

He is satisfied that popping is receiving greater mainstream attention through programs like So You Think You Can Dance and America’s Best Dance Crew. And LXD, of course. As towards his plans for the future, he concludes: “I will continue to dance on a daily basis well into my 50’s I feel because this dance can be! It’s not hard on the body, it’s good for the body!”

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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