From "the jerk" to the "stanky legg" to "the Dougie," hip-hop signature dances have come and gone quicker than the lyrics that accompany them. Pop culture scholars can easily differentiate between a fad and a movement. Those that routinely jump in "The 818 Session," a weekly performance circle that occurs in a North Hollywood grocery store parking lot every Wednesday at midnight, will identify with the ladder. The krump movement is solid and this year marks the tenth anniversary of the free-form street dance.
Molded from youth in the creatively charged and resource stripped area of South Los Angeles in 2002, krump derives its roots from hip-hop, African dance and directly influenced by "clowning" as spearheaded in the early 90's by Thomas "Tommy the Clown" Johnson in Compton, California. Dipped in the Hollywood stew with the release of David LaChapelle's 2005 documentary, Rize, today the krumping subculture is not only kept alive by performers at The 818 session, but also by the efforts of it's pioneers-namely Miss Prissy, Lil' C and Mijo. Fueled with the passion to bring "the streets to the stage" Marquisa "Miss Prissy" Gardner (who has toured as a dancer with Madonna amongst other mainstream artists) directed and choreographed The Underground-From the Streets to the Stage. The explosive theatrical performance was presented to a mostly academic audience, filled to capacity at the University of Southern California's Bovard Auditorium on September 5th. Joined by krump co-founder/ So You Think You Can Dance judge Christopher "Lil' C" Toler, their mission is to spark an "Underground" national tour, marketing krump as a recognizable art form while showcasing their crew of multi-talented street dance artists.
The buzz of the show and the dynamism of its dancers has already ignited the attention of the industry. Some of the "Underground" performers have been courted and booked by mainstream artists and media franchises. Storyboard Basquiat, a 22-year old street dancer from Brooklyn, New York who blends ballet, hip-hop and contortion to create his own unique krump infused expression, is one of them. Step into the krump world as he describes his process during one of the "Underground" practice sessions.