by Issie Lloyd, Dance Development Worker
Cardiff was lucky enough to gain a rare visit from the Old School B-boy and member of the Electric Boogaloos, ‘Wiggles’. Seeing as it is such a rarity to learn from Wiggles I jumped at the chance when I found out he was flying over from America and delivering workshops in Cardiff. Three days were focused on Top Rock and two evenings on Popping. I loved learning the Social Dances related to top rock and the history behind them. Wiggles emphasised how important it was for men and women to dance with one another in the 70’s and 80’s and how the ‘dance’ element of B-boying nowadays is fading.
We spent one of the days learning a variety of Social Dances to slow jams, Spanish music and funk! We danced around the room, jamming as a group and in partners, men and women. It felt so good to feel the essence of how Top Rock was influenced and to feel the music as a group, simple but effective. Wiggles also taught us a variety of burns and gestures used throughout Top Rock, of which every single one had a purpose and was created for a reason. An example being the ’52 blocks’. When the B-boys and B-girls would battle in the Bronx they used the 52 blocks (52 different self defence blocks) within their Top Rock; not only did it add spice to their style but they used them as necessary protection when dancing, as dance battles would often lead into gang battles. This knowledge was priceless, as you see many B-boys and B-girls nowadays using all these gestures and burns, yet they are unaware of the meanings behind them and how they originated.
We also learnt the foundations and techniques related to Popping, including variations of the Walk Out and movements influenced by gestures such as ‘Block the Sun’,and ‘Peekaboo’. As always, I learnt a lot from this experience and will continue to learn from the pioneers and originators of the Street Dance culture. The knowledge absorbed was priceless, important information that I will pass on through my teaching. I met many amazing dancers from all over the UK and will continue to network with these talented individuals. I can’t wait until my next learning adventure…