HipHop Area logo  
...Should I shoot his bitch, or make the nigga rich? Don't wanna commit murder, but damn they got me trapped...

Break Dance
Contact Us




Breakdance: Electric Boogie

Electric Boogie
The history of Boogie and Breakdancing goes back to about 1974. A very young Michael Jackson appeared on Television, doing the 'Robot'' to the Jackson Five's hit, 'Dancin' Machine'. In the Summer of 1977, another powerful influence came along - Shields and Yarnell, who were two very talented Mimes. They were first seen performing in San Francisco's Union Square, and went on to make a number of guest appearances on television, culminating in their own summer show in 1977. They did their own version of the Robot, moving only one part of their body at a time, and gliding across the floor like they were on wheels. Many people who were watching the show saw not only Mime, but Dance. Life was given to the new Robot dance style, and more and more people started doing it.

In 1977, four young Mimes saw Shields and Yarnell perform on television. They were very impressed with what they saw. They read as many books about Mime out of the New York library as they could, and videotaped all of their shows. They formed the first Electric Boogie dance group, called the Harlem Pop Lockers. They were originally discovered on their way home from a movie in Greenwich village. They weren't performing at that time, just messing around, but they were an immediate success, and went on to perform for Television, Dance Clubs, and even did a video for German MTV. By the time the Harlem Pop Lockers were formed, the Electric Boogie had added the 'Float' move. The Back Float or 'Moon Walk' was first made famous by James Brown, then Jeffrey Daniels of Shalimar in the early 80's, and most memorably by Michael Jackson. In truth, it was Jeffrey Daniels dancing on the television show 'Soul Train' that was most responsible for its success. He was such a good dancer that when he did it, everyone wanted to do it.

Other influences have been prevalent in the growth of the Electric Boogie. The late 70's and early 80's saw big advancements in the fields of Electronics and Computers, and as a result, the dance style being very futuristic, lent itself perfectly to the times. An Egyptian dance style called the 'King Tut' probably grew from the Comedian Steve Martin doing a dance on 'Saturday Night Live'. You may often see dancers stacked one behind the other, each with different arm positions to make it look as if the dancer in front has many arms, moving mechanically. The original dance style must go way back into the culture of the Far East, but since it was an unusual dance, it got added as a move within the Electric Boogie. The Lock came from a comical cartoon character called 'Rerun', who appeared on a TV show called, 'What's Happening'. He often did a comic dance that involved moving his arms and legs very fast, and in between each move he would give a brief pause, or Lock.

At the end of 1983 and early 1984, for reasons no one really knows, Breakdancing suddenly became a dance craze, and spread to every major city. Now it is very popular and can be seen in Films, Pop Videos, Commercials and Kids Dancing on street corners, and shopping precincts.

Electric boogaloo is a style of funk dance and street dance closely related to popping. It became the signature style of the dance group started in 1977 called the Electric Boogaloos, a group that popularized popping and many of its related styles.

According to the Electric Boogaloos, the electric boogaloo dance style combines a dance called boogaloo with popping. This boogaloo was supposedly created by Boogaloo Sam in 1975 and should not to be confused with the Latin American dance known as the boogaloo, which is a completely different style. Boogaloo Sam's boogaloo was a fluid leg-oriented style danced to funk music, utilizing rolls of the hips, knees and head, which was later combined with the popping technique to create the more versatile electric boogaloo.

Today, boogaloo is often used as a synonym for the electric boogaloo.

The Dance Moves

The Wave

This is a waving motion of your limbs. It gives the illusion that an invisible force is travelling through your body - Going from one place, say, your hand, through your arm, down your body and ending up at your feet. Waves are standard moves and are included in just about every dance routine. Unlike the other dance moves, it has a fluid, flowing motion, as opposed to being snappy or rhythmic. The Wave does take some of its style from the Pop, but rather the parts of you that Pop, follow a path around your body and are much more smooth.

The Mannequin or Robot (Robotics)

This is a mechanical dance style that goes back a long way - It imitates the movement that a showroom dummy might make if it could come to life. There are two separate parts to the Mannequin style. One style will give a Puppet or disjointed rolling movement, as if perhaps the dancer were connected by strings, or being moved by another person. You may have seen mimes do skits on the 'Thunderbirds' puppet TV show, using this technique. The classic puppet walk, is to move the same arm and leg forward as you step, rather than the opposite arm and leg, as would normally happen. The other style is that of a Robot - This involves moving your limbs at constant speed from one position to the other, ending up with a snap or Tick of the body, just as a mechanical device would. Usually only one part of your body moves at a time, which makes it look as if you are under the control of a program, and systematically doing the moves.

The King Tut

This move emulates the scenes as pictured on the walls of Egyptian pyramids and temples. It involves positioning your arms so that your shoulder and elbow are at 90 degrees, your forearms are either up or down and your hand, bent at the wrist, either facing away from, or to you. You would then rotate an arm at the elbow, up or down, or rotate one hand about your wrist. This is done with a Tick, as in the Robot style, and each movement is done seperately.

The Lean

This is another popular Mime trick. It gives the illusion that you are leaning against something that isn't there, like an invisible piano for example.

The Collapse

Often used in combination with the Mannequin, this move makes the dancer appear as though they are being deflated like a tyre, or they are a Puppet, and all their strings have just been cut.

The Heartbeat

This is a popular move where you stick your arm under your jacket or shirt, and push the material forward in time, so that it looks as if your heart is beating in your chest. Often, the dancer will move forward on each beat, to give the illusion that their heartbeat is pushing them forward.

The Bicycle

This leg movement gives the impression that you are riding a bicycle. It is another Mime trick, and is usually accompanied by the arms being put forward so that they look as if they are holding on to handlebars.

The Toe/Heel walk

This move is always done with the Mannequin dance style and is another great way of travelling around the dance floor. It involves moving sideways by spinning on the toes of one foot, and the heel of the other, and then transferring your weight onto the opposite heel and toe, and continuing. It is best done very smoothly, and makes it look like you are gliding sideways across the floor.

Cobra(King Cobra)

The dancer does an arm wave from one hand to the other, and sends it back, but only with the shoulders.(If you watch the movie "Breakin", in the first battle seen some guy comes out doing the move. You can't miss it, it's dope.


A technique where, as in the mannequin, the dancer creates the impression of unnatural body joints by moving and twisting various parts in sequence. Non-twisting parts should remain absolutely still. The effect resembles a Rubik's Cube moving, or somewhat a clay figure being modeled. It can be further refined by using hands to "push" or "pull" the body parts around.
Copyright © 2005-2008. All Rights Reserved.