Thursday, May 30, 2013

Hey Danis Kool by Howe

A mini doco about myself by Howe

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The term "Funkstyles"

I've been focusing on the OPS website so it has been a while since my last post. It was only after that particular announcement (keep reading to find out) which is about a few months old by now that I decided to write about it. This is just my history with the term and I'm pretty sure many people would of had similar dealings.


I first heard this term used around 2004-5, probably through one of the online popping forums. Like many people that picked the term up (even though they were already using 'Popping' and 'Locking'), used it as an umbrella term. It was intended to be used to differentiate the west coast (popping and locking) from the east coast dance styles (bboying, freestyle hip hop etc). It is known that Popping and Locking is a Westcoast dance style that originate from Funk Music hence the term was coined. I also vaguely remember reading on Wiggles' Forum (during the peak of the heated debates on the same forum) about how the term was first used as an 'event' name. I tried finding that forum post but with no luck.

Although I did use the term for sometime (even used it to rename groups on my msn messenger*) I always felt weird saying it. Those who didn’t use it say that there is no need for this new term because other ‘umbrella’ terms already exist and has been part of the culture for 30 years plus (ie Poplock, Popping, Strutting ect). As I phased out of my "Boog" phase I slowly stopped using the term (and renamed my funkstyle groupings to 'dance'). Eventually I reverted into using a more neutral term ie Popping. Not only did people get automatically clumped up into a certain group (ie EB follwers, clones etc), a lot of politics and negatively got associated with the term (ie cheating, bias/rigged judging at events etc).

On a side note I also remember (correct me if I'm wrong) at one staged Greg (or Don) Campbellock wanted Locking to be separated from Funkstyles. The term then became synonymous with the styles that the EBs pioneered (ie Boogaloo, Toyman, Puppet, Scarecrow etc).

Now let us bring it to the present (2013), there are still people who still use funkstyles, even though I don't use it,  I still get that same weird feeling whenever someone uses it especially when they refer it to me to it, eg "You have been around in the Sydney Funkstyle scene for years" "We teach funkstyles at this studio" etc. There are some people who are really pedantic about it but I normally let it slide as I know what they are referring to and to some extent it has become part of the culture just like 'Breakdance' (even though it may not be the correct terminology), unless they are new to the dance.

I'll end this post with the person who coined this term

from Popping Pete's Facebook:
A note to the dance world: I do not do a style of dance called FUNKSTYLER OR FUNKSTYLES why you ask? because FUNKSTYLES isn't a dance style at all! How do i know this? cause I made up the word back in 1999, an it wasn't made up cause of a NEW DANCE STYLE I/we were doing, its just a name heading for some of the FUNKY dance STYLES we do under Electric boogaloos brand, no more no less.. so if anyone out there are calling yourself funkstyler cause you think its a dance or trying to change it into some other new name for a dance, YOU ARE WRONG! SO STOP SAYING IT IS. SO AGAIN SO WE ARE ALL CLEAR.. FUNKSTYLER,FUNKSTYLES OR FUNKSTYLING ISN'T A DANCE STYLE!!! you have heard it from the horse month( in this case you have read it from the horses words.... so if anyone debates this, I WILL JUST SMH AND PRAY FOR YOU!!!!!! lol

*msn messenger has now merged with Skype. RIP MSN

"Words without meaning is like an empty shell, meaning without words is just thought."
Dai Lo Kool J

Friday, January 4, 2013

My Influences #1

My Influences: Phil Geia

After dancing for over a decade I feel it is time to attempt to look back and recall my influences. Originally I intended to write down everyone who has influenced/inspired me in one entry but this wasn't the case as I wrote about the first person.  

So I decided to make it a series of entries (not sure how long it will go for). Although everyone who I managed to have contact with will have influenced me in some way or another. Those who are mentioned in this series are people who I consciously know have played a part in my journey. Not only I will be mentioning individuals who has shown me specific moves, concepts and approaches there will be people who will be mentioned that will be unexpected, like what not to do in the dance etc.

This series also serves as a nostalgic journey for myself as a I delve into my achieved memories and try to extract and connect the dots with today's beliefs and understanding. I'll be trying to do this in chronological order.

Phil Geia

The year was 1991 and a Australian TV program on channel Ten called "Star Search", a sought of talent quest show where people showcases their skills to try to win their category. I remember watching the VHS recording of his two pieces with my brother over and over but I don't remember us trying to mimic him, but being kids I'm sure we tried (there is an old home video of my uncle filming us trying to do the robot but I can't seem to find it).
In 2000 when the whole 'breakdance' craze hit Australia, I have already dropped breaking and decided to op to do something that 'takes less effort but still looks good' ie Popping. I remembered that I still had the VHS tape somewhere at home and wanted to show my high school friend (ie Peter Tran) this tape. This time we watched the VHS over and over and did try to copy certain moves that he did. I still remember Peter had a crazy VHS player where you can turn a knob to do frame by frame (backwards and forwards).

One of my goals as a dancer is to meet him in person one day. Keanu mentioned a few years ago that he was at his school rapping and dancing.

'Phil Geia thingy'. 

The name doesn't really describe what it is but it is obvious where the move came from.
Phil Geia 

Danis Kool 
Today it has become part of my strobbing to really help change the pace and timing of the strobe.

The Mime Wall Thing

Phil Geia

Danis Kool 

The mime wall thing was part of what helped me build an understanding of the 'fixed point' concept (where a part of the body is stationary in that point in space while everything moves, hence creating the illusion). The fixed point concept I still used today and I try to incorporate it to every style I do.
If you noticed when I change levels with the wall it is very similar to Phil's as it is due to an old habit from all those early years copying him.

The Stiff/Tense Thing

Phil Geia

Trying to copy that section of his showcase really influenced the whole 'Stiff and Loose' concept that I like to teach in my classes. Although the concept didn't  come into existent until the whole Looze Control Competition (2008) where I was the Tinman, it allowed me to make movements look more stiff as the Tinman. Speaking of the Looze Control I still remember during training I did the stiff version of a section of the routine we then discussed whether we should do the routine/movement as if the characters were doing it to really emphasise each character, but we decided not to. 
Back in the days my arm movement was quite sloppy when I danced so what I did to make it look more clean was to tense my arms (with Peter constantly reminding me). It exhausted me quite quickly so I didn't use it too often back in the days.
Today it has become foundation of my dance especially when I'm doing the more Robotic-ish look.

Happy 2013 Everyone!
Danis Kool