Posted July 23rd, 2009 by otisfunkmeyer
I remember the night well. It was me, PopnTod, Madd Chadd, J Smooth, and Boppin Andre, all sitting in our living room at the Kester Hostel. It was 2003 and we were all just really starting to learn. Chadd and Andre drilled into all of us that night how fundamental the robot was to all styles of popping.
We watched footage of Boogaloo Sam. “Just a funky robot” said Andre. Footage of Flat Top. “Just the robot slowed down.” Footage of Poppin Pete. “Robot with a hit.” Sally Sly. “Isolated robot moves.” The more we watched, the more apparent it became. All of our favorite dancers had super strong robots.
Andre went on to explain that the robot is where everything starts because it teaches you isolation so well. In order to have a good robot illusion, everything must be isolated. It also teaches you how to STOP your movements cleanly, also called a dimestop. The ability to stop and to isolate are really what sets apart the amateurs from the pros.
How Does This Help You?
Simple. Just start paying a lot more attention to your robot. Don’t just look at it as another style that you might do sometimes. The robot is not just one dance style, like waving and boogaloo. It is the foundation of waving and boogaloo. If you can do a great robot, the odds of you being a great boogalooer or waver go up infinitely.
5 Tips on Robotting
Here are a few things to make sure you do when you’re practicing your robot
1. ONE THING AT A TIME
I don’t care if you are super dope and can move 8 things all coordinated all at once. This isn’t helping anything. Just move one thing at a time. Really move it with a hit and stop it with a stop. The reason for this is that it teaches you to get really precise with your movements and by only moving one thing at a time, your eyes have a chance to see if you are REALLY isolating well.
2. GO SLOWER THAN YOU THINK YOU SHOULD
Most of the dope robotters are moving REALLY slowly. Much more slowly than you think. You don’t notice it because you are too busy going HOLY CRAP THAT’S INCREDIBLE. When you try to mimic them, odds are that you’re moving twice as fast as they do. So SLOW DOWN. Go unnaturally slow. Really zone out. And don’t forget to keep moving only one thing at a time. Make it a game.
3. USE YOUR SHADOW
This is only for the hardcore gangstas out there. Forget a mirror, forget videotaping yourself. If you really wanna see if you’re dope or not, use your own shadow! Your shadow does not lie! If you move AT ALL, you will see it in your shadow. If you can trip yourself out by robotting with your shadow, which I’ve seen many times from Tyson, then you know your skills are on point.
4. NO MUSIC
Don’t use music for this one. It will make you think about dancing and getting down too much. You really just wanna get into this game of robotting and focusing on your technique and isolation. So save the music for a while and just robot to the sounds around you!
5. FEEL LIKE A ROBOT
When I talk to the undisputed-heavyweight-master-of-the-robot-world Madd Chadd about robotting, he always says the same thing. He FEELS like a robot. He doesn’t blink. He doesn’t think. He isn’t curious. He is just moving. There is a control switch in his head. Gears get pulled and his body moves. It’s simple. Do that!
So if you wanna really get into this robot game, I highly recommend the How To Do The Robot DVD starring Tyson, protege of Madd Chadd and all around gangsta robot teacher. Be sure to pick up a copy if you wanna take your skills to the next level.
We are all just dancing robots as Boppin Andre says. Don’t forget that. That’s what popping is. A dancing robot. So if you wanna be a dope popper, you better be a dope robotter. Keep it up, take your time, record yourself, get some critiques, and just keep working at it. It will pay dividends in every style you do.