Breakin' Is Hard to Do—Unless You Follow the Footsteps of Shabba-Doo

updated 09/03/1984 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/03/1984 01:00AM

Growing up in Chicago in the '60s, Adolfo Quinones drew amused stares as he perfected a jerky, mechanical dance step called the robot. "People thought I was crazy," he recalls. Once he was even arrested for roboting in public—he had not gotten a license to perform publicly. "Arrested," muses Quinones, "just for dancing."

Today he'd be mobbed. Ten years after moving with his family to L.A., Quinones—who uses the nom de danse Shabba-Doo—has "floated," "waved," "baby-freezed" and "pimp-walked" his way to stardom in Break-in', the street-dance movie that's become the summer's hit(made for $1.2 million, it grossed $36 million in 16 weeks). Spurred by success, Shabba-Doo and his troupe, the Shabba-Doo Crew, which includes Boogaloo Shrimp, Lollipop (a girl), Pop and Taco (that's one person) and Little Coco (a 6-year-old boy), are now working on two videos for MGM and a screen sequel, Electric Boogaloo is Breakin' II.

Shabba-Doo, 29, a Soul Train regular for much of the past decade, waited a long time for his break. Indeed, he continued dancing in Breakin' even after fracturing his left wrist during a rehearsal. "I had been waiting so long, a wrist wasn't gonna stop me," he says.

On the following pages, Shabba-Doo demonstrates three basic—but not always easy—moves. Readers who are tempted to follow the bouncing break dancer are encouraged to proceed with caution, one step at a time.

King Tut
"This is like hieroglyphics. You can do just about anything with your arms, as long as you keep that Egyptian look. Curl your arms like a cobra, or angle your hands away from your body with a definite snap. Act like you're King Tut or Cleopatra."

Footwork
"This is real basic—the move that most breaking steps come out of. Rest your weight on your hands and feet, then spread your legs and kick out with your right leg. Then do a double step in place and swing your left leg around. Your legs are crossed and you kick out again, and then the whole sequence starts over."

Headstand and Bridge
"Set yourself in a headstand, feet up and brace with both hands. If you want, you can come out of this into a bridge by dropping your feet behind you. Another way to make a bridge is to lie on your back, throw your legs up in the air and then plant them when they come down. Then push off the ground with your hands, so that your body makes a bridge."

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