THE ART OF EXPRESSION "POPPING"

SAM SOLOMON

In the 1960’s during the music revolution with all the changes in the music business a dance called “The Robot” was created from dancers influenced from watching movies with Robots. This dance was made famous from a dancer named Bill “The Robot” Williams of the Lockers crew. It was a part of the dance called Locking at the time.

The name Boogaloo actually means dance and Sam heard his uncle one day saying “Yeah Boy! Do that Boogaloo!”

In the mid 70’s in Fresno California a young dancer named Sam Solomon created a dance called Electric Boogaloo. Today this dance is called Boug Style Popping and was perfected from him and his brother Pete (Later on known as Popping Pete) and later on moves were added from the rest of the members of Sam’s crew (The Electric Boogaloos). Sam thought that he had created a new style of Locking from watching the Lockers on a T.V show called Soul Train and inspired by Bill “The Robot”.  He even named his 1st crew “Electric Boogaloo Lockers”.

In 1977, Solomon, as “Boogaloo Sam,” formed the group the Electric Boogaloo Lockers along with cofounder Slide (Nate Johnson). They soon added Slim (Joe Thomas, a.k.a. Robot Joe), Tickin' (Will Green), and Twist-o-Flex (Darnell McDowel) as well as Toyman Skeet and Ant Man. In 1978, the Solomon family relocated to Long Beach, California, where Boogaloo Sam initiated a new group, the Electric Boogaloos, that would quickly rise to the top and remain as one of the leading funk-based group to promote this street dance style and later be adopted into Hip Hop.

Boogaloo is characterized by fluidity use of every part of the body, rolling the hips, knees and head. The style is a combination of “The Robot” and the smooth isolations of mime.

The dancers would come up with moves, practice them, then show them off at clubs or in dance battles. In addition to being a hobby, Popping dance gave dancers an escape, an identity, and a family.

Over time, the word “Popping” (which is also often referred to as “hitting,”) started being used to describe the collection of moves and techniques invented by the OG Poppers.

 

What is Popping ?

Popping is a street dance and one of the original funk styles that came from Fresno, California during the late 1960s–1970s. The dance is based on the technique of quickly contracting and relaxing muscles to cause a jerk in the dancer's body, referred to as a pop or a hit. This is done continuously to the rhythm of a song in combination with various movements and poses.

Closely related illusory dance styles and techniques are often integrated into popping to create a more varied performance. These dance styles include the robot, waving and tutting. However, popping is distinct from breaking and locking, with which it is often confused.

Popping was created by dancers wanting to look tough like gangsters in Los Angeles and Oakland when they danced. Popping is characterized by jerky movements resulting from flexing the muscles at parts of the body. When dancers Popped they would mutter “Pop, Pop” every time they flexed so it became known as Popping. Hitting is a term used when flexing the muscles harder and sudden as if trying to scare somebody. At the same time dancers watching the waves down at the beach and imitating them with there body movements were creating a dance called Waving.  Electro was an effect they gave to Waving when they moved the waves through the body as if they caught some electricity. Inspired by the game Tetris, the Tetris system was created having the arms and hand movement fall in places like the bricks in the game. Later on Tetris connected with the King Tut system that reminded Egyptian dancing like in the hieroglyphics and influenced by cartoons like Looney Toons forming the system called Tutting. Toy-man system of moves was inspired by play mobile figures and action figures that were out on the market having the body imitate the toy figure moves. Sliding and Gliding give the illusion that the dancer’s feet are floating on the surface and sometimes looks like ice skating. Scarecrow is a part of Popping that reminds exactly what its name implies dancing with the arms out like a scarecrow. Air Posing is an exaggeration of breathing in and out making shapes at the same time. Crazy Legs created by Popping Pete has the legs moving at a different direction from the body and finally look like they re-attach themselves to the direction that the body is going. Strutting has the body breaking one movement towards a spot to many smaller movements and with the Strobing effect it makes it look like there is a strobe light on the dancer at the time. Spiderman is a style imitating the movements of the legendary comic hero when he is going up a building attached on the wall like a spider. A popping dancer is commonly referred to as a popper.

Popin’ Pete is a first generation member of The Electric Boogaloos, joining the group in 1978, Pete began to learn the popping style. According to Pete, he learned to pop first because boogaloo was too difficult. Boogaloo Sam as a creator of the group taught basics to the members of The Electric Boogaloos. As all the members were very experienced and passionate dancers, the group soon became successful. During that time, Pete and the other members of The Electric Boogaloos appeared on many popular shows including: The Midnight Special, Kicks and Soul Train in the United States. (firstly in 1980).

In 1982, Michael Jackson, after seeing their Soul Train performance, approached members of The Electric Boogaloos to choreograph both the "Thriller" and "Beat It" videos. Their relationship with Jackson spanned almost two decades working in various roles — from numerous music videos (e.g. "Beat It", Captain EO & Michael Jackson's Ghosts) to multimedia movies, live performances, choreography, and lessons.

The original members of the first group from long beach California are as followed, Boogaloo Sam, Popin Pete, Robot Dane, Puppet Boozer, Creeping Sidney and Scarecrow Scalley. "Skeeter Rabbit" grew up in Los Angeles, and originally was only a locker until his cousins, Boogaloo Sam and Popin’ Pete introduced him to popping. Suga Pop was determined to become part of the Electric Boogaloos after he saw them perform on Soul Train. Later, he moved to Los Angeles where he met Popin’ Pete and Skeeter Rabbit and joined the Electric Boogaloos in 1997. He is currently a music producer. Mr. Wiggles is the most recent addition to the Electric Boogaloos, growing up from South Bronx, New York he is also a member of the Rock Steady Crew.

THE ELECTRIC BOOGALOO'S & CO

SAM SOLOMON

"BOOGALOO SAM"

STEVE DA SILVA

"SUGA POP"

CREPPY SIDNEY

"SID"

WILLIAM GREEN

"TICKIN WILL"

ANT MAN

TIMOTHY EARL SOLOMON

"POPPIN PETE"

STEFFAN CLEMENTE

"MR WIGGLES"

SCARECROW SALLEY

JOE THOMAS

"ROBOT JOE"

MICHEAL CHAMBERS

"BOOGALOO SHRIMP

JAMES HIGGINS

"TOYMAN SKEET"

PUPPET BOOZER

NATE JOHNSON

"SLIDE"

DARNEL MCDOWEL

"TWIST-O-FLEX"

BRUNO FALCON

"POPPIN"TACO

National Diversity Awards 2018 Nominee

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