One of the most popular and fondly-remembered fads of the early 1980s was breakdancing.
It was a style of dancing popularised in urban areas where dancers would do acrobatic and colourful dance moves in time with the propulsive rhythms of hip-hop and dance music.
Soon enough, kids all over the world were spinning, popping, locking and doing the up-rock to the sounds of Newcleus and Afrika Bambaataa.
As the trend caught on like wildfire, it led to hit songs like Breakdance by Irene Cara and began to appear in hit films like Flashdance. Therefore, it was inevitable that such a popular trend would get its own movie.
It soon arrived in the form of Breakdance: The Movie (also known as Breakin’).
The film’s story revolves around Kelly (Lucinda Dickey), a young lady who aspires to be a dancer and is working her way through dance school to make it happen. However, she soon becomes tired of the stuffy, boring styles of dancing taught at the school.
When her friend Adam (Phineas Newborn III) introduces her to the local breakdancing scene, she realises she has found her calling as a dancer.
Kelly befriends Ozone (Adolfo ‘Shabba-Doo’ Quinones) and Turbo (Michael ‘Boogaloo Shrimp’ Chambers), two of the best street-dancers on the scene, and is renamed “Special K”. Together, the trio takes on the established dance world by using a big-time dance competition as a chance to show the dance school teachers that their self-taught moves are just as graceful and vital to the dance world as anything the school could teach.
Breakdance: The Movie was made by the Cannon Group, a company better known for action flicks like American Ninja and Invasion USA. However, they rose to the task admirably and produced a film that combined the charm of old-fashioned musicals with up-to-date dancing and a killer dance music soundtrack.
The fact that the three leads all happened to be professional dancers gave their dance sequences an energy and credibility that the average actor couldn’t have brought to these scenes. The genuine joy they took in performing shined through and made the frequent dance routines great fun for the viewer.
The film was a smash hit, grossing over $35 million at the box office. The soundtrack also produced a major pop-chart hit with the joyous Breakin’ – There’s No Stopping Us by Ollie and Jerry. Of course, the film’s success inspired a host of imitators like Fast Forward and Krush Groove.
There was even a genuine sequel, Electric Boogaloo (a.k.a Breakdance 2), which has become a cult classic amongst fans of 1980’s movies.
Cannon Group would also later try to revive their Breakdance: The Movie success with urban-themed and music-oriented films like Delivery Boys and Rappin’.
However, no imitator can replace Breakdance: The Movie. This groundbreaking film remains a favourite today thanks to its classic tunes and its unforgettably cool dance scenes.
Adolfo ‘Shabba-Doo’ Quinones
Michael ‘Boogaloo Shrimp’ Chambers
Phineas Newborn III
Electro Rock 1
Bruno ‘Pop N’ Taco’ Falcon
Electro Rock 2
Timothy ‘Poppin’ Pete’ Solomon
Electro Rock 3
Ana ‘Lollipop’ Sanchez