How Jennifer Beals helped launch ‘Crazy Legs’ Colón to break-dancing stardom

How Jennifer Beals helped launch ‘Crazy Legs’ Colón to break-dancing stardom

Richard “Loopy Legs” Colón busts a transfer earlier this week.Tamara Beckwith

It’s fairly arduous to acknowledge Bronx-born break-dancing god Richard “Loopy Legs” Colón — president of the legendary Rock Regular Crew — throughout one of many largest moments of his profession.

That’s as a result of he’s disguised as a back-spinning physique double for star Jennifer Beals within the climactic audition scene of the 1983 hit “Flashdance.” After Beals’ feminine dance doubles couldn’t grasp the transfer that he tried to educate them, then-16-year-old Loopy Legs stepped up. “Which meant me dressing in leotards, tights, Capezios, sporting a wig,” he tells The Publish.

“Probably the most devastating factor was they wished me to shave my peach fuzz that was first rising in, and I’m like, ‘Yo, you’re asking me to shave these hairs I used to be ready for!’”

However you gained’t have any bother making out Loopy Legs, now 52, when the Hispanic Heritage Awards ceremony airs on PBS on Friday. The Puerto Rican B-boy was honored on the occasion, held Sept. 12 on the Kennedy Middle in Washington, DC, with a Heritage Award for Tradition for his trailblazing strikes.

What a sense, certainly.

It’s been 41 years since Loopy Legs found what was identified merely as “breaking” within the nascent years of hip-hop, when he noticed his oldest brother, Robert Colón, doing it. “I didn’t perceive why my brother was throwing himself on the ground and embarrassing my household in entrance of our house,” says Loopy Legs, who was dwelling along with his mom and 4 different siblings in The Bronx.

However a yr later, he was altering his tune. “My cousin Lenny Len introduced me to a jam on 180th Road and Crotona Avenue, and it was the primary time I had witnessed what ultimately grew to become often known as hip-hop. I used to be blown away. I felt like I got here to life on that day.”

‘I didn’t perceive why my brother was throwing himself on the ground and embarrassing my household in entrance of our house.’

Loopy Legs started practising — and perfecting — breaking strikes such because the again spin, the swipe and the W, pushing them to new ranges of problem. He joined the then-2-year-old Rock Regular Crew in 1979, when he was solely 12. “The retirement age for a B-boy” — which, he explains, initially stood for “Bronx boy” — “was 16 to 17 years previous again then. This was a children’ factor.”

After shifting to Inwood along with his household, Loopy Legs earned his identify whereas attending JHS 52. “There was this woman who was captain of the cheerleaders,” he says. “After faculty, she’s taking a look at me follow doing my factor, and he or she goes, ‘Ooh, he bought some loopy legs!’ And the cheerleaders began calling me Loopy Legs.”

In the meantime, his fame on the streets was rising. “It bought to some extent the place folks would hear about me, or I’d hear about them, and I’d discover them to battle,” he says. “And I’d smoke them.”

The Rock Regular Crew — which Loopy Legs has been president of since 1981 — additionally gained extra notoriety, performing in New York sizzling spots comparable to Negril, Danceteria and the Roxy. Then got here appearances in films together with “Flashdance,” “Wild Fashion,” additionally from 1983, and 1984’s “Beat Road.”

They even went on to bust their strikes for the Queen of England. “We have been like these little rock stars,” Loopy Legs says.

Colón (in crimson sleeves) with the Rock Regular Crew in 1983 within the yard at Booker T. Washington center faculty.
Getty Pictures

However later within the ’80s, he says, “issues began really fizzling out. Now sure individuals are contemplating the dancing stuff passé. One second you’re being [let] by means of these velvet ropes and the subsequent factor you realize you’re being advised to hit the again of the road at a membership that you simply helped to make well-known.”

However after struggling for a couple of years, Loopy Legs determined to begin utilizing his expertise to assist children, by means of dance and hip-hop, on the Level Group Growth Company in The Bronx. Extra lately, he’s used his platform to profit Puerto Rico — the place he has a house — serving to with the aid effort after Hurricane Maria.

Whereas he retired from competitors two years in the past, Loopy Legs — who now lives in Hudson County, NJ, along with his girlfriend of 16 years and has a 21-year-old son who’s a senior at Cornell College — continues to educate break dancing world wide. “I’m nonetheless concerned with the artwork, man,” he says.

However so far as these legendary strikes go, he says, “I gotta hold it cute the place I [won’t] get damage.”

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