Breakin' with Turbo

Breakin’ with Turbo

To get your Monday off on a positive “spin” (pun intended), I present to you two most radical dance scenes from 1984’s Breakin’ and its sequel, Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo. (Yes, both films were released in 1984.) Both of these dance sequences star Michael ‘Boogaloo Shrimp’ Chambers as “Turbo” and they will best demonstrate Breakin’ with Turbo.

First up, from the original Breakin’, is Turbo’s famous “broom dance”:

Although I don’t remember seeing them back in the day, on DVD — and yes, I own this film on DVD — you can clearly see the strings holding up the levitating broom. Although Turbo’s dance moves appear to defy gravity, it appears that brooms cannot (at least not without some Hollywood trickery).

This scene also introduced me to the band Kraftwerk. The song playing is called Tour de France. Probably the day after I saw Breakin’ for the first time I ran out and bought the soundtrack on vinyl, and I remember being pret-ty disappointed that this song did not appear on it.

Right before this clip begins, Ozone (Turbo’s dance partner) asks him, “Who are you anyway, Fred Astaire?” The reference is not incidental; Turbo’s dance scene was influenced by (and an homage to) Fred Astaire’s appearance in Royal Wedding, in which Astaire dances with a coat rack.

In the Breakin’ sequel, Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo, Turbo once again steals the show with yet another incredible dance sequence.

This scene, even more than the broom dancing scene, is a direct (but updated) reference to another Fred Astaire dance sequence in Royal Wedding in which Astaire also dances on the ceiling.

Since those two films were released, if you’ve seen a breakdancing robot in film or on television, there’s a pretty good chance Michael ‘Boogaloo Shrimp’ Chambers was inside it. Some of Chanbers’ roles have included the Urklebot from Family Matters and “Good Robot Bill” from Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey. As himself, Chambers has appeared in several music videos including Lionel Richie’s “All Night Long,” Chaka Khan’s “I Feel For You,” and Sugar Ray’s “Fly.” Chambers was even used as the animation model for MC Scan Cat, dancing opposite Paula Abdul in her video “Opposites Attract.”

Rumors are a script for Breakin’ 3 is being shopped around Hollywood, so let’s hope Chambers still has all his moves and we can soon all be Breakin’ with Turbo again. And hey, if you’re out there Mike … I can do a pretty mean moonwalk. Just sayin’ …

Amazon Link: Breakin / Breakin 2 Box Set

Rob O'Hara

I'm into old video games, old arcade games, old computer games, writing, photography, computer/network security, and of course, the 1980s!

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6 thoughts on “Breakin’ with Turbo

  1. Yes! I was a huge fan of these movies. I saw Breakin’ and Breakin’ 2 in the theater multiples times. My thirst for sweet moves that I could replicate poorly on the floor of my basement knew no limit.

  2. This is weird, because I just finished listening to your podcast about writing a book where you saw Commodork 2 will be subtitled Electric Boogaloo. Coincidence?

  3. I have the original mix of Tour De France in my 80s mp3 collection. It’s a bit more stark than the version in Breakin’, and more “80s futuristic” sounding to me. Funny thing is, I don’t remember the song being in the movie. I’ll have to dig it out and watch it again…

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