At the end of my 7th grade year in 1994, one of my friends was doing a couple of moves in P.E. class which I thought looked dope. I had him teach me how to do them. Around 4 months later, I come to find out that they were the coffee grinder and Russian kicks–part of “breakdancing”.
I went to my first dance in 1995 and was pushed into the circle by my two older brothers. Equipped at 93 lbs. with my coffee grinder and Russian kicks, I took the circle and the crowd went crazy. I was hooked.
That same year, I rented Breakin’ 1 and later Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo and slow mo-ed the crap out of those videos to learn the moves. I remember going to my first ever Jr. high dance and breakin with all my Asain friends. I felt part of something. At school the week before, they told me that they were all gonna wear creme pants and a white shirt. So what’d I do? Beg my parents for creme pants and a white shirt and invited me to do the same. I don’t remember if I ever gottem, but I did have that belt that hung past my knees. I felt so fresh.
I practiced so much before that valentine’s dance. My goal was to get the windmill. Up near the DJ booth, we had our little circle. I took the circle and did some windmills! It took me about a year and a half to get them back. But for me, it helped me realize that I could do this junk.
I also went to the local community center every Friday night during 8th grade to an event called Free Fridays. I went there to dance with my crew of Asians and heard about some kid named John who could do 4 ’90s and windmills and flares. I met John at Free Fridays. He didn’t really teach me anything, but he did show me possibilities.
Let the Battles Begin
There were also a couple of black kids from the high school that would open up a dance room and DJ at Free Fridays. These two kids, DeMarcus and DeKwon, I would battle them every chance I could get. All I remember is that these two kids had crazy windmills. Can’t remember much of their footwork cause it all looked like 6-step to me back then. I had no idea what footwork was.
I started going to dances at a local church in the city next to mine. There were about 4 other kids that were breakin’. They were punks though. There was this one buster they called “Fish” and that dude just made fun of me and the others laughed cause I had that old school style–back then, I didn’t even know there was a ‘new school’. I would mob up with a couple of my other best friends who got into Bboying and we’d go, dance and get laughed at. That kid was wack.
There were two kids that were cool and super dope. One kid was named John and the other was Gordy (later known as Flexum). These kids had crazy power and could both pop so good. I can remember the whol scene like it was yesterday: a circle and these two dudes doing flares, walking towards each other, then back to the middle of the circle, then into other power. I don’t remember much of footwork. And back then footwork wasn’t the trend–power was where it was at. I’d never seen a flare or halo or 90s or anything like that up until that point.
Flexum was way cool. The conversation I can distinctly remember was when he came up to me as I was doing back handsprings. Gordy says, “That’s good dude. You should try to worm out of that.” So I did and he gave me mad props for it. It was interesting to see the difference between those other kids who were wack and Flexum. Flexum came and helped. The other kids hated and gave no help, even when I asked. At that point, I decided to be cool like Gordy and not wack like those other kids.
Me and my crew, Electric Surge, kept going to those dances to battle those wack kids. I don’t know if we ever won, cause all they’d ever do is laugh at us–the bouncing kneespin by my boy Rich Hydo was off the hook.
I remember staying up until 4am with my boy, Jason Watford, to catch and record BeatStreet. We’d never seen it, but heard about it. We were so hyped after seeing that show. We saw moves we’d never thought of or imagined possible. This fueled the fire.
To be Continued….