Thursday, October 11, 2012

New October Release from Praeger: Underground Dance Masters

From Michael Jackson's unforgettable moonwalk to the dance moves of today's pop stars like Usher and Justin Timberlake, all aspects of modern pop dance—and consequently pop culture—are derived from the inspired, unsung heroes of an underground urban dance movement that dates back to 1967.

Underground Dance Masters: Final History of a Forgotten Era is a comprehensive history of urban street dance and its influence on dance, fashion, and pop culture. It is the first—as well as the definitive—history of urban dance. The book features famed director/choreographer Kenny Ortega and the collective of legendary dance masters of urban dance. The renowned groups Chain Reaction, Electric Boogaloo, Lockers, Rock Steady Crew, Starchild La Rock, and Granny & Robotroid are recognized for their historical contributions.

Urban street dance—which is now mistakenly referred to across the globe as "break dance" or "hip-hop dance"—was born 15 years prior to the word hip hop ever existed. Unfortunately today, the dance innovators from "back in the day" have been mostly forgotten, except when choreographic echoes of their groundbreaking dance forms are repeatedly recycled in today's media. Those moves were honed by urban dancers from the late 1960s to the 90s on the streets of Reseda, South Central Los Angeles, Oakland, San Francisco, Fresno, and the Bronx.

In Underground Dance Masters, Thomas Guzman-Sanchez, a legendary urban street dancer who was not only witness but a key part of the scene since the early 1970s, sets the record straight, blowing the lid off this uniquely American dance style and culture. This text redefines what is referred to as "hip hop dance" and the origins of a worldwide dance phenomenon. It exposes for the first time the origins of the classic urban dance forms of Funk Boogaloo, Locking, Crossover Locking, Popping, Roboting, Zig-zag, Punking, Posing, Krumping and B-boying—the most important developments in dance history that directly affect today's pop culture worldwide.

• Includes coverage of all of the creators, pioneers and innovators in urban street dance
• Places current dance phenomena in a historical context that stretches half a century
• Includes interviews and photos to further bring the rich history of urban dance to life

To watch a short video on this topic and the forthcoming documentary, visit:

Thomas Guzman-Sanchez, a Southern California native raised in Reseda, is an OG (original generation) dance master and a cofounding member of the legendary dance group Chain Reaction. Since 1973, he has been an originator and pioneer of the dance forms of Crossover Locking, Zig-Zag, Popping, and Funk Boogaloo, which have influenced millions worldwide in Hip-hop dance. He has choreographed and performed in countless TV shows, videos, commercials, and feature films. This includes choreographing James Brown in the Heroes of Rock’n Roll and a featured dance performance with Gene Kelly in Olivia Newton John’s 1980s classic Xanadu. In 1984, he formed the United Street Force and became the only urban street dance company to have ever performed at the White House. His study, which began in 1993 has been adopted by numerous universities as the accepted authority on Urban Dance Studies in the late 20th century, and he is also a proud member of the advisory board for the American Heritage Dictionary Fifth Edition, responsible for 23 new words and definitions in the new American vernacular. He has taught outside studies for UCLA, Cal Tech and is the 2008 recipient of the Christena L. Schlundt Lecture Award in Dance Studies at U.C. Riverside. He continues touring the world teaching and inspiring young dancers. 

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