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Breakin’ in LA

BreakinThe year was 1983 and hip-hop was king. ‘Breakin’ and Enterin‘,’ a documentary about a Los Angeles hangout Radiotron, introduced the world to break dancing and a young rapper named Ice-T.

A year later, the doc was turned into ‘Breakin’,’ an updated version of ‘West Side Story,’ about a jazz dancer who falls in love with a b-boy named Ozone. with many of the same players, including Ice-T and Boogaloo Shrimp, the dancer who taught Michael Jackson the moonwalk. Today, you can still see many of the film’s locations, so put on your legwarmers and your old-school kicks and get ready to boogaloo, after the jump…









VeniceBeach_b-boysThe film opens with a dance scene at Venice Beach, one of the LA area’s best hang-out spots, and one of the best places for people watching in the world. (The opening sequence also includes a great cameo by a pre-fame Jean-Claude Van Damm. That’s him in the black leotard in dance class.) Grab a seat outside of Muscle Beach and watch the world go by as you soak up the sun. The real star of the movie, though, was Radiotron (originally Radio), a community center on the edge of MacArthur Park in downtown LA that was the scene of the most epic early b-boy battles. It was demolished in 1985, but a single wall remains for die-hard b-boys to pay their respects. 


Before you’re ready to battle, you’ve got to work on your moves. To do so, visit Debbie Reynolds (6514 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood; 818-985-3193), the same studio where the film’s dancers practiced. Once you’ve got your routine down, it’s time to show your stuff. Head to Avalon (formerly the Palace) at 1735 Vine St., where Kelly auditions in the film.


Thanks to the folks at New York magazine’s Vulture blog for putting this masterpiece of cult cinema back on our radar.


Venice Beach b-boys by Duncan Rawlinson

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