The history of the "Breakin'
" movies and breakdancing goes back to about 1974. A very young Michael Jackson appeared on television doing a dance he invented called "The Robot" to the Jackson 5 hit "Dancing Machine".
In the summer of 1977, another powerful influence came along, Shields and Yarnell, who were two very talented mimes. They were first seen performing in San Francisco's Union Square, and went on to make a number of guest appearances on television, culminating in their own summer show in 1977. They did their own version of The Robot, moving only one part of their body at a time, and gliding across the floor like they were on wheels. Many people who were watching the show saw not only Mime, but Dance. Life was given to the new Robot dance style, and more and more people started doing it.
In 1977, four young Mimes saw Shields and Yarnell perform on television. They were very impressed with what they saw. They read as many books about Mime out of the New York library as they could, and videotaped all of their shows.They formed the first Electric Boogie dance group called The Harlem Pop Lockers. They were originally discovered on their way home from a movie in Greenwich village. They weren't performing at that time, just messing around, but they were an immediate success, and went on to perform on television, dance clubs, and even did a video for German MTV.
By the time the Harlem Pop Lockers were formed the Electric Boogie had added the "Float" move. The Back Float or "Moonwalk" was first made famous by James Brown, then Jeffrey Daniels of Shalamar in the early 80's, and most memorably by Michael Jackson.
In truth, it was Jeffrey Daniels dancing on the television show "Soul Train" that was most responsible for it's success. He was such a good dancer that when he did it, everyone wanted to do it.
Other influences have been prevelant in the growth of the Electric Boogie and the big Californian influence was Boogaloo Sam and Poppin Pete (who appreared in the first Breakin'
In 1977, the Solomon brothers came to Long Beach from Fresno and danced at the Noah's Ark club and Hutch Youth Club downtown. Soon, they had started the west coast poppin sensation.
The late 70's and early 80's also saw big advancements in the fields of electronics and computers, and as a result, the dance style being very futuristic, lent itself perfectly to the times. An Egytian dance style called "The King Tut" probably grew from the comedian Steve Martin doing a dance on Saturday Night Live. The Lock came from "Rerun" on the show "What's Happening?".
By the end of 1984, thanks in part to the "Breakin'" films, Breakdancing suddenly became a dance craze and spread to every major city. Now it can be seen in films, music videos and commercials.