As far as it seems from the outside, the rise of the breakdancer seems to have all to do with a couple of guys in New York who were inspired by a guy from the UK named Tony Kaye, who had a show at the London Forum, where dance music had been made popular in the 1980s. Kaye had a number of very young female students that could do very well in competition with men. So some of his students started to try and do their own things.
What did you learn from him?
Before I started using breaking, I used to do other, more formal forms of dance. I didn’t understand the power of breakdancing, but I knew how hard it was to perform. A lot of my students were more in my level than anything else. The whole process was just so much fun, and it took such long to perform and get the right groove, the right pace.
So when Tony Kaye said, “I’ll show you how hard it’s going to be” when it was first on TV — he was doing it at the UK Forum — they were just like, “That’s ridiculous. We’ll see later.” It was a little more relaxed on the dance floor. It was like a little different form of dancing, but it was amazing how far it was taken, and just how much they embraced it. It was like something out of a music video. I mean, literally the first thing people were asking me to do was a breakdancing dance.
How did the show evolve?
When Tony Kaye got into the New York dance scene, he realized that he could get a lot more girls to listen because they were watching on television, or playing their iPod. There was just so much interest in break dancing in general, and with the show — and they knew that people were going to watch it on television or whatever — but it was never marketed specifically for that audience. That’s why the show was just so successful as it went on. The whole point of it was just that it was so amazing to watch it in action and in the studio, and not just with what it really was — when it was live in the studio. It was just really cool to see how people reacted to it. That was the biggest thing that happened to it.
I remember, for example, going to a dance camp, and there was supposed to be a scene with some women who were performing a bit with the girls — you
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