Know Your L.A. Hip-Hop Dances

Know Your L.A. Hip-Hop Dances: The Evolution Of Krumping

Comments (0)


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 at 11:38 AM
click to enlarge Dave LaChapelle's "Rize"
  • Dave LaChapelle's "Rize"

Editor's Note: Writer Jessica A. Koslow is a USC master's student writing her thesis on krumping. Know Your L.A. Hip-Hop Dances explores some of the most popular street dances in our city.


Background: Krumper Lil' C holds court on So You Think You Can Dance, and krumping can be seen in music videos by Missy Elliott and Madonna. Developed in South Central in the early 2000s, it is a style of street dance characterized by emotive, often grand, spontaneous movements of the whole body.

Dave LaChapelle's 2005 documentary Rize brought krumping to the mainstream. Known for his slick videos for stars like Jennifer Lopez and Christina Aguilera, LaChapelle's work screened at Sundance, and largely focused on a character called Tommy the Clown. In the late '90s, Tommy pioneered a dance called clowning, performing with his clown crew at kids' birthday parties.

But some of his associates broke off to pursue their own style: krumping. Sans makeup and costumes, krumping is more aggressive and rugged. Combining elements like popping and breaking, it relies on inspired impromptu freestyles.

The Originators: When the clown act got old, several dancers bounced, including Miss Prissy, Lil' C, Tight Eyez, and Big Mijo. According to Tight Eyez, it's not clear who started krumping.

Life After Rize: So You Think You Can Dance has fully embraced krumping. Since 2006, Lil' C has been a judge and choreographer, while Massachusetts native Russell Ferguson won the 2009 season, when he was only 19. The show has been kind to krumping, even if the judges can be cruel.

Related Content

Now Trending

  • Cannibal Corpse's Frontman Talks About His Nightmares

    The seventh annual Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival goes down Saturday at San Manuel Amphitheater, featuring Avenged Sevenfold, Korn, Asking Alexandria, and others of the extreme music persuasion. None, however, are as extreme as death metal horrorists Cannibal Corpse, who will also be appearing. Vocalist George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher spoke to us...
  • Henry Rollins: Diving Off the Jersey Shore

    A few days ago I was at the Jersey Shore. It was evening, and I had a few hours for sleep before my 0430 wake-up call, for a dive class that would allow me to go deeper than I was certified for. I had just finished a long day of location...
  • The Best Concerts to See in L.A. This Weekend

    Be sure to check out our constantly updated concert calendar! Friday, July 11 Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds SHRINE AUDITORIUM Nick Cave has numerous ways of delivering his fire-and-brimstone sermons from atop various pulpits and stages. He’s written novels and appeared in films, and these days Cave has at...
Los Angeles Concert Tickets

Around The Web