the following essay was sent to me by original school bboy/aerosol artist and hip hop pioneer PHASE2
if you dont know about PHASE2, YOU NEED TO BE DOING YOUR HOMEWORK!!!!!!!
In the Hip Hop world when people hear the name PHASE 2 they usually asssociate it with being an innovator and primary mover shaker in Aerosol culture and maybe with being the one who gave Hip Hop a somewhat Hollywood image by flipping his original funky nous deco flyer styles, such as was emulated in the Tommy Boys History of Hip Hop and Dave Chappelle Block Party promotions. But to the ones who came up with him "on the block" and beyond know knew and have known him to do other things out of the ordinary. Dunking in your face from behind the back board and out of bounds two stepping on a 180 degree turn may be one...but dancing was definitely another.
It was his being an Original School dance head that prompted him to initiate the formation of and subsequently name one of B'Boydoms greatest groups ever the New York City Breakers.
By 1977 in what you'd call the main circuit "breaking" was phased out of the scene.
"I love dancing period. I had wanted to get some of my extended family together to form a group..but with that (breaking being phased out by the moral party majority) it never came to be. Being involved with and around the b'boys in the 80's propted me to want to do what I couldn't do in our scene by the late 70's. NYC Breakers happened because I saw an opportunity and I insisted to do it. Nobody was really feeling at first but me. With my perseverance and a gig I got with the Merv Griffin show, it all jump started and the rest is history"
We can say that for us music is life and for what it's worth dance is in our respective cultures. (Meaning people from "our" environments) We just continued a tradition that our moms, pops and forefamily did. You almost feel that you have to do it. And then there are those of us who feel like we are dying to not do it and do it well. It becomes your blood even more at that stage.
From the Lindy Hop and Jitterbug and so on to the Boogaloo and Afro Twist to Latin Hustle and freestyle, amongst the many doing it you always had those who were taking it all to a different level.
You can always go back ages to our connections from there and the beat of those drums. From slaveships to migration to the Carribean to South America...Cuba...Puerto Rico and so on, we are world wide nation wide and here in the Big Apple and we dance and that is basically what you still see today.
But there's always a vantage point that you have to link directly to the here and now. Basically it "starts" again (or shall I say continues) with the ones who rocked and as well built the foundations of what we are seeing now. (East and West as well) Here they are the primary ones who's older brothers and sisters rocked to Mother Popcorn and Karate Boogaloo at a sweet sixteen house party. They got to watch the sly slick and wicked cats in their alpaca sweaters and gators looking suave booging with the fly girls and then cooling out to a slow jam.
You wanted to be like them. From those off the record lessons we were nuturing our mental and physical for that day when we'd be in a house party doing the do. There were those of us who evidently realized the room inbetween the basics for some extra curricular activity. Flashing back to those one or two older cats who did it their way and how it clicked in your mind like second nature, once your day came there'd be no turning back. When you are on more so then the next one working a sweat, you can feel it and you start to notice that everyone else does too. That coming of age would go from house parties to the neighborhood rec room, and subsequently to the gyms and clubs.
Turnout time at the P.T.
When all these things (the extreme dancing of our era) were formulating back in the day we didn't call what we did breaking in the sense that it was a dance. It was just slang. One of the main terminologies was to "go off" or going off" and to "turn out". "Rocking" was just another terminology meaning "to get down". It wasn't a dance either. To "break" was a definition of most things normal in their extreme. If your moms was breaking on you she wouldn't be dancing shed be hollering above level and we didn't "break dance" either. That's someone elses terminology. We "broke" when it came time to flip the scrïpt on the floor beyond the norm or "broke" on someone on or off the floor.
"Breaking" preceeded the terminology b'boy, the b'boy and break beat culture. Breaking in it's initial hey day came out of dance basics and freestye dancing. One can say when more and more floor moves came into play the whole criteria changed and became more regimental. Technically at some point it went from Breaking to B'boying (which it was not always called) where as so many more elements have been added it's become something from the breaking foundation but of another respective chemistry.
Actually you can say people like The Nicolas Brothers or Jimmy Slide, broke but they just used different terminologies to define the next level. In their era they took dancing and the style they did...to another boundary.
When breaking blew up in the 80's I was trying to relay to breakers I knew, that the public hoopla shouldnt be allowed to effect their decisions to dance. That dancing was like breathing something that you just did until you couldn't do it any longer, but barely no one heard. that but no one heard. By the late 80's the next generation let the overexposure mentally play it all out. But in Europe they were still getting busier and in 91' one B'boy came here totally turned one night at the Island Clb on Canal St. and gave NYC a wake up call that seemed to rejuvenate the whole movement here.
There are certain things we created just out of the love of dancing and the nature of having to do "it" differently. Alot of what we do is underground and stayed among us for there was never really a need or demand for the technicals behind what we know is our history. No one ever really asked...so certain things were hinted but never told. Off the record we called ourselves Electrified Movement but on the record there were no organized crews back then. We'd go to parties and bug out and get noticed. And it was obvious that we had something that others didn't when a girl would comment. "I've never seen anyone dance like yawll".
Wether cats want to admit it or not we set all type of fires off From the Bronx and beyond. We had the whole room loads of folks around the way doing our moves and even the most well known cats were emulating it. And we know it spread out because we never stayed put. We really didn't pay much mind to what the basics were and anything out of the ordinary was par for the course. We used to do a dance called The Chicken Wing that the whole Bx and Harlem got from us.
Most of us knew how to do more than just go off. You couldn't be wilding out on the ladies unless they wanted to bring it to you. Back then you had to know how to finesse. Double up with a girl, slow it down and if you were really nice then you'd go out there and break.
Then there was a time I was hanging out in upper Manhattan. There were a few guys we had in our studio who rocked in clubs like the Footsteps and Cassablanca. They didn't dance anything like us. But when I saw what they were doing which you could say was the "new dance" but from the downtown scene I knew I had to pick up on it. All the moves were up top. Baby shuffles, paired up sequentials where you and your buddy would rock opposite moves. My man Stitch used to do the Dracula and he and his man Cat did a crazy dance off a Manu Dibango track "Senga"..I'm told the word means dance.
We had our own styles but to me outside of our styles the "uptown" basics would get mashed with this stuff. I picked up on it added my own flavor to it and our crew flipped it on the downtown scene with that added twist. Then along with our crazy reperitiore as always I was inspired to create totally different dances.
From little knee bends downtown I thought up to do a full abrupt squat, the same squat drops that are still on the scene today. From the partner sequences, I just came up with skiping by my partner and pushing him down to a squat. Sometimes swinging my leg over his head and doing another squat. We'd go back and forth with it off certain tracks where the drums were accentuated.
I had another idea that none of us had ever seen any dancers from anywhere else doing, which was a five to six step motion where we pretended to have knives in our hands (ala West Side Story) and swing in left to right motions like we were fighting. We'd then kick out bend down or squat drop, come back up and body nod or shake the head in an agressive like motion.
That was like a trademark dance of ours. I call it Battle Rocking but we never really bothered to name it. Then it was back to freestyling and doing the dance of the month. In our area it died with everything else because there was nothing subtle about it. When I saw kids still breaking years later it was one form they were calling Up Rocking. The first thing I thought and I've told people like Frosty Freeze and Sisco Kid this, that if any of our guys saw that, they'd automatically say of that particular dance "it's ours" no matter what added twist was put to it. If there was a dance movement in our time before what we did I can respect that by any name but stylewise it wasn't anything like that and I've been saying and even writing that for the longest.
That's one of our contributions to that movement.
JUST LIKE MOVES WE WERE DOING AROUND THE WAY...AND AROUND THE CITY PEOPLE PICKED UP ON (UP) BATTLE ROCKING AND RAN WITH IT. PERIOD END OF STORY. FORGET WHAT YOU HEARD.
Evidently all of what we b'boys of the beginning thought to have left way behind, regenerating our selves for The Hustle, Freak Spank, Patty Duke, more free style, rap and scratch, another generation took under their wings and continued it elaborating on topping, rocking, and and hitting the floor as did another generation after them merging it all together.
Alot of dances come out and we never know who started them, we just do them. But in this case we moved around town and were so addicted into rocking that we always knew what we brought to the table because it was that personal and we saw it disperse even amongst the most known dancers and b'boys who were getting shout outs doing some of our moves.
I've even said modestly from the very first time that I was interviewed that we started alot of s**t. Peep Steven Hagers book "Hip Hop" and it's there.
Alot of us never really considered ourselves as "b'boys" because basically that was a title reserved for Kool Hercs boys. He coined the phrase. But definitively speaking if B'boys are to be seen as the breakers of that primary era that's when or why we relate to ourselves as original b'boys because technically we were and our influences were all over. I acknowledge everyone who was noticed from all around the scene. Little Johnny, Sa sa, Clark Kent, El Dorado Mike, The Twins, Doris and Janis to name a select few.
We owe props to the undercover cats that definitely had significant influences even if there names were not on the D.J.s lips:
Scotty Bop, Timbo Rock, Russ Russ, Sweet Duke, Dice 198 (Electrified Movement) there's no question that when they were in a jam everyone knew it. You had cats like Sisco Kid and Robby Rob, Big Glen, Walter from the Plaza Tunnel in the very "beginning" who came out with the leg drop you see latter day b'boys go into foot work with. Brooklyn Brian with his shuffle spins and hat rock. Infinity D. Say what you may. If you don't know (even those of you who were somewhere but not everywhere) now you know. Being around next level cats and even the cats you love to hate because they are mad corny charters, bring out the best in you.
Breaking came to have alot more significance in the 80's and beyond then it did in it's primary stages and in it's main arenas. If anything partying was more about dancing than it was about breaking.
The 70'S first wave of brothas as well as sistas are what made it (that particular scene and breaking) all happen. There was a spirit and passion behind it that obviously survived through the years spread through out the nation and caught on even interglobally and has been taken to phenomenal levels beyond anyones imagination.
That same spirit is what Hip Hop emerged from and out of. The ones who do it different are the ones who are going to make a difference. You can't let anyone dictate what you feel. Most likely you are going to know if it's correct in time just by the way everyone esle feeds off of it. I've seen moves in the 90's that so called pros were not feeling that I knew were fly and they are now staples in the culture. Like the skater influenced freezes. I feel that when you love this and you are really clear headed not too egotistical and on top of your game you can feel what's hot thats what the elite the top notch and leaders of the pack are made of.
And so it seems that dance will always be with coming and going in some way, shape or form and that burning desire to boogie is only fueled by the sweat we generate as we get down to the rythms and grooves.
Thus what we as an ongoing generational collective have exhibited via the magnetism behind our creativity is that our presence and appeal is of such a magnitude that even ignored it booms like an ocean sized drum. Not to be denied....
The spirit, the heart, the soul, the need and existence of the get down.....extreme....
DANCE OR DIE....
BIG UP TO THE FIVE BOROUGHS AND ALL WHO LOVE AND REPERESENT HIP HOP 360*PEACE LOVE UNITY POSITIVITY. DEDICATED TO ALL THE DANCE FIENDS AND TRUE B'BOYS N GIRLS ON EARTH AND THE SOLAR SYSTEM. B BOY JUNIOR I SEE YUH!!! JAPAN AND KOREA! MILAN SEAN!! KMEL!! AIR UP THERE IN THE HOUSE!