Funk’s two greats will be in the city for an intensive two-day workshop and a dance battle
his weekend, the party is at a high-ceilinged warehouse with industrial interiors down OMR—thanks to the American dance greats, Popin’ Pete and Yoda Jones, who are here to teach styles like popping, locking and waacking. Funk-In India 2015 Dance Camp is a first-of-its-kind initiative put together by city-based dancer Nimbel Funk, in association with MissFit, the dance studio. “Pete is one of the originators of the popping style—he’s worked with Michael Jackson, Chris Brown, Justin Timberlake and others—and I’ve been following his team, The Electric Boogaloos, for years,” says Funk, who is also bringing down Jones, a trained Bharatnatyam and Old School dancer. Performers from around the country are expected and one of the highlights will be the dance-off judged by Pete and Jones.
Popping and boogaloo.
Popping and Boogaloo originated in the US’ west coast, so they are different from hip-hop. In popping, the technique is about flexing the muscles in your arms,chest and neck and then snapping the knees back—but doing all this together. Add in your ‘random’ movements and it becomes a rhythmic dance style. Boogaloo is smoother, more about a swinging movement with isolation of the hips and legs.
Dancing in India
The very first time I saw street dancing in India was in 2008, when Yoda and I watched Dance India Dance on YouTube, and she said ‘Pete you gotta go and teach there’. I really don’t know a lot of dancers from India and the ones I do, I can’t pronounce their names. But I do see some good dancers coming up, like Nimbel Funk, who wants to learn everything the original way.
Working with the legends
Michael Jackson was great to work with—he was a hard worker and a perfectionist. I remember once I asked him if he always gave his 100 per cent. He said, “Pete, I start at 100 per cent.” Most artistes I’ve worked with like Chris Brown and Justin Timberlake, are perfectionists, too.
Your biggest performance.
Being on Soul Train in 1979. It was a dance TV show I’d watched for eight years and you had to be the best to be on it. Our first time on it, we didn’t get paid, but it didn’t matter.
Artistes you’re working with. I am too busy being an artiste myself. I’m working on me.
At the workshop.
I will teach the styles that we (The Electric Boogaloos) do—from the moves to the groove. I will demostrate the original moves I learned when I first started off, and then I will break it down and teach how to do each move correctly. My classes are fun but HARD.
June 6-7. At The Funkyard, OMR. Rs 750 onwards. Details: in.bookmyshow.com
—Surya Praphulla Kumar