House Music and Shabba-Doo

 

Hoimage7use music was born in Chicago from the disco scene and that’s the era that Shabba-Doo has his roots. A native Chicagoan, Shabba-Doo spoke about the dance scene, “In  the late 60’s and early 70’s soul music was big in Chicago.” 

“House music influenced a style of dance called the waacking dance. Waaking Dance is a derivative of a dance style called punking,” said Shabba-Doo. In the 1970s like many of straight djs in Chicago, Shabba-Doo went into the gay night clubs in Los Angeles and created a hybrid form of dancing.  “I created the first bi-sexual street dance form,” said Shabba-Doo.

People often ask where does he get his creative dance moves, he replies, “I put the Puerto Rican in it!” Latinos have a major influence on American culture and Shabba-Doo has been at the forefront since the 1970s.

Shabba-Doo gave me an education, a history lesson.  He introduced me to Tom Moulton. Moulton was the original remixer on the national level. According to wikipedia, Moulton “was responsible for the first continuous-mix album side, on Gloria Gaynor‘s disco album, Never Can Say Goodbye, earning him the title the ‘father of the disco mix’.”

“House music was the heartbeat, the pulse,” said Shabba-Doo. The bass and tribal beats of house music gets to the very soul of a dancer. 

When working on a dance routine, he feels the music, like a heart beat, using his body to interpret the music, creating a personal music score. 

Today, Shabba-Doo is still dancing. He teaches all over the world. Often giving back to the community. He recently joined the Hip Hop Hall of Fame Museum Development Team. In the Fall of 2014 he is scheduled to release an autobiographical book. He is also working on a film, ” A Breakin’ Uprising: The Movie”.  

One of my favorite Shabba Doo quotes…

“Knowledge is the new swagger, intelligence is the new cool and the new dope. God gave us all potential but education helps to unlock that potential. Without an education, without knowledge, you are like a baseball player that only has talent but doesn’t know how to use it. Talent will get you at bat but education gets you home.” 

Background of this blog: A few months ago, I was scrolling through Facebook and Shabba-Doo was in my news feed. I thought about the movie “Breakin'”  how much I loved it, watching it over and over again in the 1980s and all the great music. I recently discovered that Shabba-Doo is from Chicago. So I wanted to know if and how House music influenced his style of dance. He graciously agreed to an interview.

 

DJ Hall of Fame-1st meet and greet!

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August 26, 2913— We arrived at the Alhambra Palace, on W Randolph St in Chicago. The restaurant looked like a palace with high ceilings, velvet curtains, mosaic tiles and beautiful artwork. The waitress led us to a long, curvy stair case and said, “the djs are in the room at the top of the stairs to the right.” When we arrived to the top of the stairs we opened one of the heavy double doors and walked into history.

The large room was filled with excitement and laughter. Old friends catching up. Rocky Jones, the founder and owner of DJ international records and Martin “the Boogieman” Luna were on the stage discussing the order of the night’s events. We saw some of our friends, said some quick hellos but quickly grabbed our seats, as Luna announced to clear the dance floor.

As people cleared the dance floor, I looked around the room and saw Chicago house music artists like Curtis McClain, Harry Dennis, Keith Nunnally; djs like Martin “the Boogieman” Luna, Tim Spinnin’ Schommer, CZR just to name a few and producers like Rocky Jones, Sal Amato and Benji Espinoza.

Luna introduced Rocky Jones to a roar of applause and accolades. Jones got right down to business. There was a 3 point agenda for the DJ Hall of Fame: in the works was an official non-profit organization with a 501c3 in progress, an awards show for djs and a House Music museum to be located in Chicago.  Jones emphasized that all of the work would be done with excellence, dedication and ethics.

It was clear to everyone in the room we were a part of history in the making. Following Jones’ announcements he called upon Keith Nunnally. Nunnally reminded the group of Chicago’s place in the history of house music. He encouraged the group to stay focused on the bigger picture.

Following  the announcements, people began to mingle, take pictures and exchange information. It was truly an honor to witness the beginning stages of what will be the most unified House Nation ever!