Thursday, 26 March 2009

My Breakdance? 25 Years Old? Never!


“Out in the streets/you won’t survive by being weak/this is our time/walls were made for us to climb. All 80’s kiddies out there should be familiar with the lyrics of this popular chart topping street-soul ditty. Entitled ‘There’s No Stoppin Us’, the track was performed by Ollie & Jerry (Who? I hear you under 30's cry) and was the theme track to the wonderful, remarkable, super dupa cinematic classic - Breakdance. Oh how I love that film. I can recall the first time I set eyes on it clear as yesterday. It’s Catford, South London, 1984. Me, my bro and my cousin all head down to the local cinema to check out this new flick called Breakdance. It’s a scorching summer’s day. You know, one of those gorgeous, sweltering types that we used to get back in the day. So we purchase our tickets, popcorn and drinks and head towards our seats. For 90 minutes I am awestruck. I’m inspired. Heck, I think I’m in love. The film was designed to showcase and celebrate street dance, specifically breakdancing and body-popping. The storyline was typical Hollywood triumph over adversity fodder. Main protagonist Kelly or Special K as she was later christened, is an aspiring jazz dancer who befriends a couple of street dancers named Ozone and Turbo. Together they form a dance trio and aim to enter a prestigious dance competition but are vetoed by their elitist dance rivals. Okay so the storyline is as simplistic as it gets, but along the way you have many a golden screen moment. The electrifying dance sequences, the awesome soundtrack which includes the stellar soul classic Ain‘t Nobody by Rufus and Chaka Khan, and just the general tongue in cheek humour, really appealed to my pre teen self.  Oh, and did I mention that I fell in love? The supremely talented dance sensation that was Turbo (played by Michael Chambers) absolutely blew me away, and was probaly one of my first crushes (altogether now, awwww). What I also remember about that day was how hyped everyone was after the film finished and the credits rolled. Guys were rushing to the front of the cinema to show off their locking and popping skills. It was just general pandemonium but in a fun and harmless way. The film was hugely popular in the UK and was really the first time mainstream audiences were exposed to the phenomenon of breakdancing and body-popping. Although there were other films that were deemed as more authentic to the art of street dance such as Beat Street and Wildstyle, Breakdance, or Breakin’ as it was known in the States, was by far the most accessible. 

So why am I bringing it up? Well B-Dance celebrates it’s 25th anniversary next month and will be commemorated by a special edition DVD. Oh yeah, there was also a sequel Electric Boogaloo, but I wouldn’t waste my time checking it out if I were you. It’s about as watchable as Grease 2, in other words, really really bad. So what happened to the cast members? Hmmm, well let’s just say they failed to set Hollywood alight. Lucinda Dickey (Special K) has had bit parts in TV shows like Perry Mason and films like Ninja III. Similarly, Michael Chambers AKA Turbo AKA My First Crush has had parts in films like Bill & Ted’s Great Adventure and Naked Gun - woo hoo. And not to be outdone Adolfo Quinones (Ozone) has also absconded to bit part heaven. Oh well, in my eyes you will always be superstars guys. Happy quarter century. 

Now check out the B-Boy Battle

7 comments:

Kwana said...

I am feeling so old now. I was all over this movie and loved it. Though Beat Street was my fave. A real tearjearker. Ha! Thanks so much!

Ondo Lady said...

OMG!!! This really takes me back. I used to LOVE LOVE and LOVE this film when it came out. I went to see it in Elephant and Castle in a cinema that no longer exists. I loved the scene where Turbo was dancing with the broom - classic. I even think I have it on VHS somewhere. LOL. I also liked Beat Street as well.

MsQuiche said...

@ Kwana, I loved Beat Street too but think the gritty realism was too much for young idealistic self to bear. Didn't someone die in the end? It's been so long that I can barely remember.

@ Ondo Lady, OMG I remember Elephant & Castle cinema. In fact, the first film I saw at the cinema was at Elephant, The Last Snow of Spring I believe. Can you believe there used to be 2 cinemas there, 2 in Lewisham and 1 in Catford? I'm always boring my teen nephew with local history, lol.

gemma weekes said...

Grew up on Beat Street, man! Siiiighhh... Memories don't live like people do, bwoy. My older brother was a break dancer, him and his crew used to practise in the front room of our house in Leyton. They'd do windmills even, narrowly missing the TV and ornaments. Made me wanna be a grown up, or at least teenaged, but then when I grew up, everything had gone crap! Happy birthday BREAKDANCE! (and thanks for the lovely book review, lady! ;-) ) Gem xx

Adenike said...

I loved that movie too! And I had a crush on Turbo, even though he was mute in the movie. lol! He was so cute? Can't believe it is 25 years though! Wow, I feel old. I've got the Jerry and Ollie song on my ipod and listen to it most days!!!! Always wished I could move like that!!! They don't make them like this anymore! I wanna go back to the 80s!!

MsQuiche said...

@ Adenike, glad I wasn't the only one who fancied Turbo. You know the majority of girls loved O-Zone because he had that ole El Debarge thing going on that was all the rage in the 80's, lol. There's No Stopping Us is still a big tune. My three year old loves it. Mummy has taught him well.

@ Gemma, thanks for dropping by. Loved loved loved your book, so beautifully written, almost brought a tear to this hardened south Londoner's eye, lol. And you know I've now got Gloria Etefan's 'Can't Stay Away From You' on repeat on my You Tube playlist. Keep us posted about your next book.

VIJAY said...

I'm glad I found this site.I just found this blog and have high hopes for it to continue It helped me a lot. Keep up the great work.
BEST BREAKDANCE EVER

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I am a thirty-something African Caribbean female from South East London. My blog will shine a light on Black British culture offering the best in entertainment, fashion, beauty, community, film & music, with the occasional personal musing thrown in from yours truly. Thank you for taking out the time to peek into the pages of my diary. Now grab a cup of cocoa, relax and enjoy.