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Adolfo Quiñones, one of the first street dance stars, dies at 65

Adolfo “Shabba-Doo” Quiñones, who grew up dancing in a grim public housing project in Chicago and became a street dance pioneer in the 1980s and one of his first celebrities after appearing in the film hit “Breakin ‘,” died Dec. 29 at his Los Angeles home. He was 65 years old.

His manager, Robert Bryant, confirmed the death but said the cause had not yet been determined.

In 1984, street dancing was a form of urban art little known to many Americans, but the release of “Breakin ‘,” starring Mr. Quiñones as a Los Angeles break dancer named Ozone, helped change that.

Ozone, who wears red Chuck Taylor sneakers and a brimmed hat, spends her days doing flashy moves in Venice Beach with her partner, Turbo (Michael Chambers). A classically trained dancer named Kelly (Lucinda Dickey), captivated by their style, joins their troupe. Her stern (and practical) teacher disapproves of street dancing, so she flees her school. The three take part in a prestigious dance competition, and against all odds, they win (of course).

The film, produced for less than $ 2 million (the equivalent of around $ 5 million today), was a surprise hit, grossing over $ 35 million at the box office in 16 weeks. A sequel, “Breakin ‘2: Electric Boogaloo,” was released a few months later. Mr. Quiñones quickly became a star of street dancing.

“Ultimately people will realize that this is a valid art form, on the same level as jazz or ballet,” he told Newsweek in 1984. “And it’s a dance that Americans should be proud.

Throughout the 1980s, Mr. Quiñones’ dance appeared on the pop culture landscape. He starred in the video for “I Feel for You” by Chaka Khan, and he was the choreographer and lead dancer of “Who’s That Girl?” From Madonna. world tour in 1987. He also choreographed (and appeared in) the music video for “All Night Long” by Lionel Richie and advised Michael Jackson on the music video for “Bad”. Us Weekly called him the “Bob Fosse of the Streets”.

“Shabba-Doo was an absolute dance legend in Los Angeles,” rapper Ice-T, who appeared on “Breakin ‘” and its sequel, said in a statement to the New York Times. “We are throwing this word everywhere. But no one can say that he invented a whole style of dancing.

In the 1970s, even before Breakin ‘, Mr. Quiñones made his mark on the dance world.

He danced as a teenager on “Soul Train” with an influential ensemble called the Lockers. This group, which also included Don Campbell, Toni Basil and Fred Berry, rose to prominence for their development of the “lockdown” technique, characterized by rhythmic and icy dance moves. Together they appeared on “Saturday Night Live” and “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson”.

After leaving the group in 1976, Mr. Quiñones appeared on Broadway with Bette Midler in “Bette! Divine Madness ”and helped counsel dancers in the 1980 film“ Xanadu ”. In the 1980s, cultural interest in hip-hop dance was growing, in part thanks to films like “Wild Style” and “Beat Street”; when “Breakin ‘” came out in 1984, Mr. Quiñones rode the groundswell.

“We were real street dancers,” he told the Black Hollywood File blog in 2008, reflecting on the film’s success. “We weren’t something that was made by Hollywood.”

“Hip-hop may have a multicultural face, but let’s not be fooled because it comes from our people,” he added. “It came from blacks, Africans, Puerto Ricans and all that too. Just like blues and jazz. But now it’s the world.

Adolfo Gutierrez Quiñones was born on May 11, 1955 in Chicago and raised in Cabrini-Green social housing projects with four siblings. His father, Adolfo, was born in Puerto Rico and became a salesman and worker. His mother, Ruth (McDaniel) Quiñones, was an accountant whose family moved from Mississippi to Chicago during the Great Migration. The cityscape of his childhood was harsh and his older brother protected him from the gangs at the resort, but he found solace in dancing.

As a boy he would do jumps while his mother played Tito Puente records and cooked rice and beans. He loved watching musicals on television and was fascinated by the footwork of Fred Astaire, Cab Calloway and the Nicholas Brothers. At family gatherings, he tried his movements.

“My mom was throwing me in there like a fighting chicken,” he told the Chicago Tribune in 1987. “Go dance for mom,” she would say. And they gave me a little cup of wine to get me going. This is how it all started.

In the 1970s, his family moved to the Los Angeles area. He started dancing in clubs around Crenshaw Boulevard and in venues like Radiotron near MacArthur Park. The culture of break-dancing flourished in these establishments, and there he fought every night with rivals on the dance floor. He began to call himself Sir Lance-a-Lock, which later became Shabba-Dabba-Do-Bop, which was eventually abbreviated as Shabba-Doo.

The sequel to “Breakin ‘,” in which the original trio attempt to stop the demolition of a community center, was not as successful as the original, but it did little to diminish M’s rising star. Quiñones. He started to drive a Jaguar. He bought a house. Fans have been waiting in his driveway with boomboxes in hopes that he will emerge.

“They say, ‘Get out, Shabba-Doo,’ he told the Los Angeles Times in 1984. ‘And I go out and dance like I’m crazy. I’m over there with my socks on saying, ‘No, no, do it like this.’ “

In the 1990s he starred in the dance film “Lambada” and studied at the American Film Institute. He also lived briefly in Tokyo, where he ran a dance studio. In 2006, he appeared in the Three 6 Mafia performance of “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” on the Oscars telecast.

Mr. Quiñones is survived by his mother; one son, Vashawn Quiñones; one daughter, Cassini Quiñones; one sister, Fawn Quiñones; two half-brothers, Eric Vaughn Smith and Philip Smith; a half-sister, Giana Beaudry; and three grandchildren. His marriages with Gwendolyn Powell and actor Lela Rochon ended in divorce.

For the past decade, Mr. Quiñones has worked as a private dance teacher in Los Angeles, teaching techniques he developed with names such as “shway style” and “waackin ‘”. He became a Jehovah’s Witness, and in 2019 he finished writing a memoir, “The King of Crenshaw,” which chronicled his childhood in the Chicago projects and his rise to glory.

He also saw street dancing enter a modern era.

The “Step Up” film franchise, which debuted in 2006, grossed more than $ 600 million, and last year the International Olympic Committee announced that breaking would be introduced as a competitive sport in 2024.

Mr. Quiñones was happy to see a style he had helped create reach new heights, but he was critical of what he saw as the increasingly technical and athletic nature of modern hip-hop dance.

“Enough with dancing on Hummers and bungee cords from buildings and things like that!” he told pop culture website Icon Vs. Icon in 2014. “I think dancing is strong enough to hold its place and we don’t need all of this trickery.”

He called the “Step Up” movies “cotton candy versions” derived from “Breakin ‘,” adding, “I want a fair and accurate portrayal of the life of a street dancer.”

And while he was comforted by the news about the Olympics, he told Yahoo Life that he was concerned the roots of his art form were being forgotten.

“Street dancing is a personal journey for most of us,” he says. “How are you going to get these judges to judge this?”

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Dance six feet away? They would not prefer

BEN It’s kind of crazy that every twist has worked for both of us except the pandemic. Our first date was at the end of high school. We went to what quickly became our favorite restaurant, California Pizza Kitchen, saw a movie, and went to this beautiful Orange County vantage point. It was a starry night and kind of a quiet, secluded neighborhood – it was really romantic. I decided that if we ever get married or engaged it would be cute to propose there. So five years after we started dating, we came back to that point of view and I surprised him there – and it was really cute.

MATTHIEU It was an easy yes. It was April 2019 and we started planning the wedding almost within a month. We had planned for September 2020. After finding the venue, we started making a guest list and tried to find food and everything. Our ceremony was to take place on a grassy hill just above the ocean. Since we’re both from Southern California, this would’ve really caught us. We wanted it to be casual.

BEN Around March of this year, my medical school told us our term would end remotely and Matt learned he would be working from home. But at that time, it didn’t really seem imaginable that the pandemic could last for months, certainly not until marriage. So in March and a bit of April we were still planning, to the point that we had drafts of our invitations. We even held our wedding tasting and had to cancel it. Around April or May, it became pretty clear that it just wouldn’t be safe.

For us, marriage was really about celebrating with friends and families of all ages, and we wanted it to be really special. Dancing six feet apart didn’t seem like what we wanted.

MATTHIEU We were able to postpone it for a year, but given the evolution of this disease, the only thing that is certain is uncertainty. We may have to make a decision by May of next year, so hopefully by then we will have made a lot of progress in the fight against this disease.

One of these days it will happen. We will have a vaccine, we can take our lives back, I’m sure. If I’ve learned anything from this pandemic, it’s to take stock of what you have and be grateful, because so many people have gone through it much worse.

BEN I remember the beginning of September, with the date coming up and I realized that it was the day we were to get married. This week has been really hard for me and for us, but it’s also been a new excitement as it’s a whole other year to reflect on how lucky we are to have each other, a whole different year to celebrate our love. I hope other couples can find comfort there.

It is completely normal to have feelings of disappointment, sadness and loss. You are wasting a great time. Your friends and family were supposed to come together and shower you with love – literally. But in the grand scheme of things, you have to take a step back and realize that a marriage is just a marriage. It’s the union between two people that really matters, and you don’t have to have a marriage to have that.

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Jacob’s Pillow Theater, site of the dance festival, destroyed by fire

A theater in Jacob’s Pillow, a destination for dance performances in Massachusetts, was destroyed in an early morning fire Tuesday, local media reported.

The fire started before 7 a.m. at the Doris Duke Theater in Becket, Massachusetts, according to The Berkshire Eagle. Videos From the scene showed a collapsed building engulfed in smoke with firefighters throwing water at piles of charred wood. The Eagle reported that the damage was limited to the theater only and that the fire was extinguished around 8:45 a.m.

The performance space is one of two indoor theaters for the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, an annual summer event that attracts some of the world’s biggest companies. The festival was canceled this year due to the pandemic.

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Video: Protesters dance outside the Philadelphia counting site

Large groups of protesters gathered outside the Pennsylvania Convention Center on Friday night as Democratic presidential candidate Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s lead increased in the state of the battlefield. By Emily Rhyne.

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Pray, dance, wait: Americans are waiting for the end of the elections

PITTSBURGH – At 8:50 a.m. on Friday morning, the City of Philadelphia updated its vote count, pushing Joseph R. Biden Jr. past Donald J. Trump in the state of Pennsylvania. The question in everyone’s mind for several endless days immediately changed: not “if” but “when”. The election – this tense, angry, virus-infested and exhausting election – would soon be over.

“We are celebrating everyone’s right to vote,” said Bernadette Golarz, 36, amid the impromptu street party that erupted outside the Pennsylvania Convention Center on Friday, where the ballots were still being counted at the interior. “And the fact that we all showed up to kick him out.”

The country waited three trying days for news of a final result. All the while, the nation’s fate has been cast, but not yet fully known, as local election offices scattered across a handful of states counted the crucial remaining votes. Voters from both parties stayed up late and woke up early, praying, hoping, refreshing streams and watching TV cards that never seemed to change.

“What’s happening now is what I thought was going to happen,” said Rosemary Gabriel, 51, who moved from Nigeria 19 years ago to suburban Atlanta where she lives and working now, “because I still have faith in the American people.” “

Despite all that confidence in the outcome, however, she had been glued to the TV all week. “I slept four hours,” she says.

As the count went on in a tedious fashion, the president falsely declared victory and raged over the plot, one of his sons urged “all-out war” in the election, his lawyers The campaign filed a flurry of lawsuits and crowds of supporters took to the streets to ask election officials to stop counting or keep counting depending on where they were.

“I feel like things are being pulled from under me,” said Joel Medina, 44, a businessman from Rowlett, Texas, who voted for Mr. Trump on Tuesday for the first time in his career. life. He had not ruled out that Mr. Trump would eventually win.

Yet even some of those who had deep suspicions about the election had resigned themselves to a victory for Biden. It was proof, as they saw, that ultimately the swamp always wins.

“I’ll never forget it, they were so shocked when he was elected,” recalls Kim Anzelmi, 55, of Scranton, Pa., Who assumed the policy was irreparably rigged until nightfall. where Mr. Trump won in November 2016. That election had changed my mind about the system and what was possible – briefly. Now she’s more cynical than ever. “Politics have been twisted since the Romans,” she says.

But Dolores Selico, who voted for Mr Biden on Tuesday at a high school in South Los Angeles, was convinced that whatever happened would be “the will of God.”

When Ms Selico voted, she was wearing a T-shirt bearing the face of John Lewis, the late civil rights pioneer. It was a way of honoring “what our ancestors went through so that we could vote,” said Ms. Selico, an 80-year-old black woman.

Shanna Davidson, a social worker from Louisville, Ky., Who also supported Mr Biden, had seen enough to feel relief.

“Today is a good day,” she said. Still, she admitted that tens of millions of Americans voted differently from her, and would be as dejected as she was now invigorated. The election came so close when she woke up Wednesday morning, she said, that “I almost had a nervous breakdown”.

It was the thing, however. In the weird and lingering limbo of an unnamed election, there was still a lot of anxiety to do. For every Biden voter like Susan Macovsky, buying bottles of prosecco at a Pennsylvania liquor store to celebrate – though perhaps a little prematurely, she admitted – there was another, like Rachael Lindemann, relieved but still nervous.

“I’m not going to count my chickens until they hatch,” she said.

There had been plenty of evidence in his life that things could change suddenly and inexplicably. Her husband, a struggling dairy farmer in Albany, Wisconsin, had backed Mr Trump in 2016, when she voted for Hillary Clinton. But Mr. Trump’s trade war with China devastated their finances and they eventually had to sell their farm and cows. Mr. Lindemann has accepted a job in construction. This year he voted for Mr. Biden.

For now, Mrs. Lindemann was not partying. “I know he’s going to give a 5 year old a tantrum and he’s going to turn all the tables he can,” she said of Mr. Trump. “We don’t have a president yet.”

There are many, like Mrs Lindemann, whose vote was personal, a first chance to respond to the president for what he has brought or taken away from them.

Nephtalie Hyacinthe, 42, a Haitian immigrant in Miramar, Florida, took her citizenship test the day after Mr. Trump was elected in 2016. She saw her first term as a four-year lesson in citizenship that would help her. to shape her political views and prepare herself for the 2020 election.

She studied the president, listening as he took a hard line on immigrants and hearing reports of derogatory things he called his homeland. And so on, on the last day of October, Ms. Hyacinthe stepped in, casting her first vote in America for Mr. Biden in a library. As she learned this week, she had chosen the likely winner.

“For an immigrant, voting is the white fence,” she said, her voice shaking with excitement. “It means that I am an American citizen and helped choose our next leader.”

Just as Ms. Hyacinthe was discovering in her adopted country, many people who have lived here since birth had learned – this week and over the past four years – that it might not be the country they thought it was. know.

“My stomach hurts a bit,” said Sam Diana, a 55-year-old Scranton antiques dealer – and lifelong Democrat – who voted for Mr. Trump. He had been lying on the couch watching the returns for days, learning Friday morning on a trip to Sam’s Club that his condition had likely returned to Mr. Biden. “I really, definitely, definitely believe it was settled.”

Behind all of this, however, lie deep and unresolved questions about what is happening in the country and in the minds of its fellow citizens.

“Something is happening in America – something scary,” Mr. Diana said. “It makes a lump in your throat when you think, is this really America? Are we all partners? Why did they hate this man so much?

Across Erie state that same morning, Karen Moski, 67, was leaving home to work when she learned that Mr. Biden was now leading in Pennsylvania. Among friends, the night before, she had discovered that her home county, a reliable Democratic stronghold that shockingly sent most of its votes to Mr. Trump four years ago, had also turned blue again.

“We are getting rid of Donald Trump and it has been my goal for years,” she said, laughing as she realized that an outspoken supporting colleague of Trump would be entering the office later today. Erie’s overthrow was perhaps a sign that the county had “probably made a mistake” in 2016.

But there was no turning back completely. Ms Moski had learned about her town over the past four years, she said, the opinions friends had about race and politics that surprised her. Biden or not, Erie – and the country – would never be the same.

“It was a wake-up call,” she says. “We have work to do.”

Campbell Robertson reported from Pittsburgh, Audra DS Burch Hollywood, Florida, and Sabrina Tavernise of Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. The report was contributed by Jack healy in Denver, Jon hurdle from Philadelphia, Tim arango from Los Angeles, Elizabeth dias from Washington, Will wright from Louisville, Ky., Ruth graham from Warner, NH and J. David Goodman from Houston.