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Posts Tagged ‘streetdance’

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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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.