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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

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A VIEW FROM MY WINDOW: The Amazing World Of Dance


Photo by Kareem Batiste

Dance is the backbone of most of our music and the core of our recreational joy. Everyone recognizes the dancers. They know their style and can even tell their era of influence by their moves. Most people do not recognize their faces and do not know their names. Dancers have “street names”. Sometimes people have heard a catchy name like Shabba-doo, Skeeter Rabbit, Fluky Luke, Poppin’ Pete, and Slim Robot, but they do not know the story. Sadly, most dancers do not know legal names or backstories. I will pull the curtain back and give a glimpse into dancers, styles, and colorful personalities. Dancers are athletes. They train, they practice, and they live a life apart from the crowd as they pursue those powerful adrenalin moments under the stage lights like any other athlete. It is time for everyone to see them in a new light.

Hip-hop, or Street Dance evolved from a rhythmic style of music that grew from urban culture. Hip-hop dance is a synthesis of many styles of dance based on music with heavy bass and a cadence in the verbiage. The music is compelling, bringing immediate response. Street Dance is a broad category that includes multiple styles that evolved as a part of the hip-hop culture. Various styles emerged in the 70’s, beginning as an extension of James Brown’s “Good Foot” dance, which debuted in 1972. Breaking was not floor oriented in its early stages but started as “toprock”. “Uprock”, created in Brooklyn was a strong influence. In 1973, DJ Kool Herc created the break beat. A break beat is a rhythmic combination looped over and over to extend the instrumental solo, providing a showcase for dancers who attended house parties. Martial arts and gymnastics synthesized with dance and hip-hop evolved into a floor-oriented style.

California styles and beats grew independently as “funk styles”. Referred to as “street dance”, styles known as locking, popping, robotting, bopping, bustin’, boogaloo, strutting and dime-stopping. Boogaloo is the oldest. It started in the 1960’s as a fad dance and became Boogaloo in Oakland, CA. A separate music genre called Latin boogaloo emerged at the same time. The Lockers and The Electric Boogaloo overtook other styles due to dance crews’ influence. The West Coast styles were created independent from breaking and were danced to funk, not hip-hop.

The West Coast had the weekly television show, Soul Train, films, Breakin’, Beat Street and Wild Style to give the style power and visibility introducing this genre to the public. The dance industry responded by creating studio versions of the moves. Artists brought choreographers and synchronized group moves to accentuate songs, giving birth to “jazz-funk”. Classically trained dancers learned the patterns, but even Michael Jackson fused “street dancers” into his sizzling music performances.

In the meantime, Hip-hop or street dancers continued to develop their styles. Dance battles took place at clubs, changing the sound of the club and attracting athletes who competed to win money. Bar populations evolved into athletic young people who demanded their style of music. Live bands and dance floors began to attract or repel dancers. The power of dance changed music and the way the public experiences music. Music and dance took on a new energy as dance contests owned the night. Hip-hop owned the night.



“A View From My Window” Blogger Sheryl Dolley

Sheryl Dolley, Writer, Producer 

Sheryl Dolley is a wordsmith with a gift for enchanting words and heart-felt emotion. Marketing is her passion. She handles marketing, contracts, and sponsorship. Sheryl writes PR for celebrities, real estate professionals, small businesses, non-profits, and ghosts works for celebrities. Sheryl’s guerilla marketing strategies create cash flow, community awareness, and inspire action. A true connoisseur of delicious words, she makes the reader feel, see, and hear, stamping an imprint, an emotion that cannot be ignored. Words foster action. Success is the result. Celebrity ghost- writer, video producer, marketing specialist and publicist, Sheryl Dolley brings organization, documentation, research, and technical skill. Currently involved in production of film, music videos and documentaries, Sheryl Dolley has the power to design sizzling strategy and innovative visual imagery for unforgettable results. She is currently working on film and television projects from “Stranded On Death Row” (Suge Knight biopic) and a Soul Train documentary.  CEO of Sheryl Dolley Public Relations and Vice President of Marketing for La Bella Diva PR Agency and Urban Lifestyle Television Network, and partner in Lydia Harris Entertainment, she brings panache and aggressive marketing to clients. Relationships with networks and studios bring insider information and opportunities. 

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