Body popping: Once you pop…

Posted on 27 January 2011


Turbo-broom-danceMy brother taught me how to do a wave and then I learned to lock. As teenagers, most boys worry that too much masturbating might make them go blind; my Mum used to tell me that too much body popping would leave me with a twitch.

Along with my brother, I would practice popping in front of the full length mirror in my Mum’s room. I Feel For You by Chaka Khan was the tune; popping, locking and floating were the moves we tried to master. We weren’t exactly a couple of Billy Elliot child protégés, although my brother still maintains he was the best body popper in the South West. I was just happy to be popping moves and not the spots on my face.

Back in the eighties, when my friends and I were laying down the lino or practising in my mate’s garage, you were either a break dancer or a body popper. Along with my brother, I was a body popper.

“[Body] popping is a dance style and one of the original funk styles of dance that came out of Fresno, CA in the 1970s,” describes Wikipedia. “It 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, tick or a hit,”

And once I popped, I couldn’t stop. And no, I don’t twitch now. But I am really embarrassing at wedding discos.

Here are my top 3 body popping influences

1. The opening sequence from the seminal BBC Arena documentary, Beat This: A Hip Hop History (1984), which allowed me to glimpse the nascent hip hop culture of the Bronx:

2. Turbo’s broom dance from 1984’s Breakdance – The Movie:

3. Look Twice performing at Electro Rock, a Hip Hop event in London in 1985

Listen to:I Feel For You by Chaka Khan

Read this: Basil Pepperpot from Look Twice (see 3 above) describes his dance influences