East Coast v. West Coast

New York City is credited with being the birth place of hip hop dance. Around the 1980s media started to pick up on a form that was classified as Break dancing. It consisted of b-boying/ girling. They say DJ Afrika Bambaata was the first to name the movement, although MCs had been using the word to rhyme. The term “breaking” was originally an insult and it also happens to be the part in which the percussion instruments in the song were the most forceful. Dancers used these breaks and coordinated their dance moves with them. Kool DJ Herc is the one who figured out how to extend the beat with two turntables, a mixer and two of the same records. This gave the breakers a longer opportunity to take advantage of the breaks and show their style and best tricks. A dance called Brooklyn uprocking also came from New York and involved two rivals that faced each other and ensued in a battle of dance moves. This dance was performed with partners. Crews even begun facing off at the same time all lined up in a line. This was called Apache Lines.

Over on the west side in the streets of Los Angeles, California locking was being born thanks to Don Campbell. When trying to do the “funky chicken” Don Campbell added some new techniques to the dance (locking of the joints) and developed locking. Lockingis movement that pieces together a mix of steps and movement with something like a stop or pause. The dancers added different arm extensions and points to along with splits and knee drops and various other moves that would bring them to the ground and then they’d spring back up.

Over in Fresno, California in 1976 The Elecctronic Boogaloo Lockers formed a group and took locking to a whole new level by adding everyday moves and moves from other performers. With this combination they created something new, Boogaloo. Boogaloo consists isolated sharp angles, hip rotations, and utilizing the rest of the body.

Michael Jackson a.k.a the King of Pop started off as the lead singer of The Jackson 5 and took up his own solo singing career at the age of 13. His music is known to go hand in hand with his amazing and unique dance moves and music videos. Many artists use various techniques from Michael all the way from the dance moves to the timing of their lighting and silhouettes during performances. He’s noted for the moonwalk, intense spins, and even the crotch grab. “He had a fabulous spin, but all dancers can spin now. Nobody could spin like Michael,” said Juditih Jamison of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video has been incorporated in so many different movies and TV shows that it is now world renown. It made the Guinness Book of World Records for most successful music video.

His dancing impacted Hip-Hop and R&B and it still emanates  through the dancers of today. “They say the reason that Jackson’s dancing will live on is because he truly brought the “street” to the stage, something no artist had done before him. And that may be why we truly get joy from this type of dancing.”

(beat it)





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