Monthly Archives: March 2012

March 21 Session

It was crowded by the time I got there around 12:15. It was the largest gathering I have seen in a long time. Not since last summer was the session this big. It seemed like more of a party atmosphere than usual. A group of young kids came over with two cases of beer. Frankie J. quickly told them that wasn’t OK. He said the police would shut down the circle. I also think there’s a different vibe when people drink, and the circle is not about that. Frankie is one of the enforcers of the circle’s unspoken rules. Every once in a while there is a different kind of energy circulating, and it was just one of those nights. The highlight of the session — I only stayed a little over an hour — was Worm. He’s a regular. He’s little, incredibly athletic and he throws himself to the asphalt with complete abandon. He goes all out — jumping high in the air, dropping to his knees, belly on the ground, springing up from a backbend. I also saw my eighth woman enter the circle. Her name is Ladia Yates, and she’s sort of well known in the dance community. She’s all over YouTube. She’s not a krumper though. I think Miss Prissy said she does Memphis jookin. I heard Storyboard came back this week and battled b-boy Kmel, but I missed it. Apparently, it got pretty heated.

March 14 Session

Good newz! There were a lot of people at the session tonight — and it was still early. The energy was especially good for two reasons as I would soon find out. First, J.Bad was back. He is a member of the Newz Family, “the first Hispanic crew to be out there like that,” Manny Fernandez, aka Lil Newz, once told me. J.Bad, aka Junior Newz, had been arrested for not being a U.S. citizen while being stopped for something else. The 818 had a fundraiser back in January to help pay for some of his legal fees. And here he was, back at the session, wanting — needing — to dance. I became very emotional seeing him there, even more so when he danced. He was back home.

I dedicate this post to the Newz Family. Bad Newz, the lead member, was there. He danced a few times. After J.Bad went away, he came to the circle two weeks in a row asking for donations. “What if they took this session away from you?” he asked, his voice cracking. “Something you loved to do … He’s like family.”

Lil Newz, aka Manny, danced. He always does — with a lot of heart. He was hit by a car in 2010, broke his leg and got a concussion. Three months later he was back at the session. In a wheelchair at first, then on crutches. People have told me he krumped with his arms while sitting, then with one leg and one arm while on crutches.

The second reason the energy was so good tonight is that Miss Prissy brought a friend from her New York trip back with her. His name is Storyboard, and I think he said his style is mutation. He was amazing. He seemed to lack a skeletal structure the way he swerved and bent, and his muscular control was impeccable as he tilted his upper half backward to the ground and slowly crept up again. Effortless. He told me that he was trying to get the vibe of krump and this circle. He had his own session in New York, but he wanted to branch out. At some point in the night, he told me he thought he was starting to understand the 818 — the emotion, the movement, the attitude. There were no rules. He just wanted to contribute.

March 7 Session

Photo by Francesco Belvedere

It was cold tonight. As I pulled into the Ralph’s parking lot, I didn’t see a single person in any of the usual spots. Then I saw a crowd in front of the Chase bank. I have often imagined what a powerful statement it would make if the dancers krumped in front of the Chase bank. And now it was happening.

The session began soon after we arrived. And then the iPod died. I’m not sure exactly what happened. Technical difficulties was all I heard the owner of the car whisper. There was silence for about 20-30 minutes. It was cold so every minute felt like eternity. Everybody was ancy to dance. One guy even pleaded with the small crowd if anyone had a car to volunteer for the krump cause.

Finally, someone drove up and had a CD player in their car. This was unusual because the routine is that someone just plugs their iPod into the car stereo. This was very low-tech, but nobody complained too much. People were happy there was music.

The session started up again. Big Mijo was there. The energy is always more amplified when he’s there. He is one of the founders of krump, and he gets much respect. After he danced Creez, a young krumper, looked at me, and asked, “Did you see Mijo dance?” Then he proclaimed him the best while making all sorts of pleased and excited facial expressions.

The kid in the picture above danced. He’s one of the wildest I’ve seen. His krump moves are often punctuated by yells of approval and awe from the crowd. I don’t know his name yet. And this picture was taken on a different night. He’s a regular.

Uni, one of the founders of the 818, danced. He always does. People love him. He got major love tonight, ooohhhs and ahhhs from the crowd. The reactions ranged from “Damn” to “What you saying?” to “Where you at, Uni?” All familiar krump calls.

Mijo danced again. Then Lil’ C arrived. He jumped in the session, and when he finished I heard him say, “That was just practice.”

Two kids from Spain were at the session. There usually are a few people from a foreign country each week. These guys weren’t first-timers. They had come last week too. You could tell they wanted to krump. They kept moving their bodies to the beat and air krumping, but they never entered the circle, at least not while I was there. Maybe next week.