5 Jan 2007
Interview with Mr.Wiggles
Mr.WigglesLas Vegas, NV
Mr.Wiggles has been in the game since the late 70s and has been part of the funk/hiphop culture since. He has been recognized as one of the most respected and versatile dancer/artist in the world. Through the years of paying his dues, Wiggles has helped bring back the "forgotten" art form and has helped spread the knowledge of Popping across the globe. Traveling around the world, Wiggles has taught many students and performed with many artists and dancers in the main stream industry.
Products: Mr.Wiggles Videos
WestcoastpoppinWhen did you start Popping?
Mr.WigglesI was first exposed to Poppin from watching the Electric Boogaloos on Soul Train in 78/79, and we copied what we saw. Also the Young Turks video on tv as well as Xanadu. But i truly started my journey in the early 80’s After Suga Pop came to NYC and schooled us. And i really started gettin it after i hooked up with the EB's in the late 90’s.
WestcoastpoppinWhat got you into popping? At what age?
Mr.WigglesFor me it was because I was originally a BBOY in the Bronx, but Breakin started to play out in like 78/79(this is when Breakin was only in the BX and Manhattan), I was Breakin at a Jam (1978) in the BX and some girls started sayin “that’s played out!”. Haha. so i started seeing and hearing about a dance called the “BIONIC BOOGIE” and “ELECTRIC BOOGIE”. These were the names that were on the streets. And i heard of a dude called “Pistol Pete” (Poppin Pete), who was doing crazy moves, so I eventually went from Breakin to Poppin.
Age? Wow. I ain’t goin there. I been countin backwards for the last decade, I don’t even know how old i am today. LOL.
WestcoastpoppinHow did you get your name?
Mr.WigglesI got the name Mr Wiggles from a well known underground Graffiti Writer named SEEN TC5 (he was the younger Seen) who had a side name “Mr Wiggles”. So one day he saw me gettin down in school and just threw the name at me, and it stuck! (THANX MA BROTHA SEEN!!!)
Westcoastpoppin Were you in a crew? if so which?
Mr.WigglesThe Electric Company, CYA (Crazy Young Artists), P.A.R.T.Y. (public artist rockin the yards, people are rejecting the young), TCV (the Crazy Vandals), Rock Steady Crew, Zulu Nation, Magnificent Force, Rhythm Technicians, Ghettoriginals, 7 Grand Masters Tribal Click, Electric Boogaloos.
Westcoastpoppin Are you in a crew now? if so which?
Mr.WigglesRock Steady Crew, Electric Boogaloos, Zulu Nation, Tribal Click
Westcoastpoppin Where were you from? Where are you now?
Mr.WigglesSOUTH BOOGIE, BOOGIE DOWN BRONX, BX. Now in Las Vegas.
Westcoastpoppin What do you think is the major differences between todays scene and before?
Mr.WigglesWell in the 70’s Hip Hop was Raw, and more street, on some no where to run and no where to hide type sh&t. Early 80’s was fun, and exciting, but after 83 when the movies came out (Beat Street, Breakin) it became more Hollywood, and comercial, and to me it was a downfall. Believe it or not the dance scene was much bigger (every household had people dancin), but it was too comercial. Today it is smaller but more underground, and yes it has been suburbanized as well, But i prefer today‘s scene over the 80‘s scene, but the 70‘s scene was the best. There are things that young dancers get away with today that they would not have gotten away with back in the days, this especially goes out for the BBOY scene.
Westcoastpoppin Who were some known poppers back then? What made them known?
Mr.WigglesIn NYC it was Pop-A-Matics, Realizm, Lock-a-Trons, and eventually us Electric Company and Electric Force. From the mother land it was Electric Boogaloos, Jazzy J, Chain Reaction, Groovin Rubin, Taco, Shrimp, Blue City Strutters, ect.. What made them known were their skills and rumors of their skills traveled across the country, Jazzy J for example, I had heard of him years before i actually seen him, and I first saw him on a tv show called “EYE ON LA”, and he was ill.
WestcoastpoppinWhere were the hot spots to session/battle at? How often did these things go down?
Mr.Wiggles In NYC it was the Roxy, Fun House, In Cali it was the Radiotron. It happend every week.
WestcoastpoppinWho was ur inspiration?
Mr.Wigglesoriginally the Electric Boogaloos set it off in every hood across the US on Soul Train. Then Suga Pop came to NYC and taught us allot. Then when Taco and Shrimp came to NYC I was learnin from Taco, if you see my early 80’s clips you can tell i was influenced by Bruno. Tangerine was also an influence for my front knee Bop Style. And then when i saw Pete it was over! Poppin Pete started doing what i called Poppin Power moves, i was strictly Pete’s moves.
Westcoastpoppin Did you train with a certain group/individual/teacher? If so who?
Mr.WigglesI got to learn from Suga Pop, and Taco, but Suga Pop had the biggest influence on allot of NYC dancers since like 81. Also Lock-A-Tron John, Skeet came to NYC during the mid 80’s and droped bombs.
Westcoastpoppin Can you still find inspiration from the new generation?
Mr.WigglesYes, most definitely.
Westcoastpoppin Please tell us about any memorable battles, beefs, sessions, moves, places, etc.
Mr.WigglesI guess back in the days it was exciting cause every cipher was a battle, point blank, people always walked away with there feelings hurt. I had some battles in LA when I was back and forth, I guess one dope one was me and a Mexican brotha, he just walked up to me in a club and said he wanted to battle me, so I was like coo. We opened up a huge circle, first round he Ticked and Popped, I Popped and did Ground moves, second round we both Tutted, i had just created the leg through Tut’s, so “it was all over for homeboy“, after that round you can see he was losing his heart and was like damn what did I get myself into. And then I just kept “smokin” him until this shadow appeared on the side of the circle, and was lookin at me like Wiggles? Haha, when I looked it was TACO!, me and Taco hugged and when homeboy saw that, he really didn't want no more. LOL, I had the pleasure of jammin with Taco that night and he through some of the most amazing moves I had seen next to Pete’s. The “CART WHEEL WAVE”, “HAND STAND WAVE”, “ANMIATED CHEST WAVES”, me and him had a similar wave that we both did that night “LEG KICK WAVE”, he went batty, and we had a good time, Toni Basil was there as well.
Westcoastpoppin What was the dominant styles back in the 70s? How about in the 80s?
Mr.WigglesIn the 70’s it was definitely more BOOGALOO and POPPIN. The 80’s was POPPIN, ANIMATION, WAVING, TICKIN.
Westcoastpoppin How were battles judged back then? Do you feel it is better judged now or before?
Mr.WigglesNo rules, and thecrowd decided, and there was always disputes that lead to rivalries and even more battles. I liked it before, it was more street, and you always had to stay on your toes, and there was no internet, so peeps would say sh&t to your face. Haha, LOL.
Westcoastpoppin Skill level compared to back then to now, what are the differences?
Mr.WigglesTo me the original EB’s were the most musical, they lived the era of the music we dance to today. But as far as the entire Poppin community, today is over all better. More people pop with better use of foundation than back in the days. IMO
Technique: Today we have more people Poppin correctly than back in the days, but when you look at Sam, Pete, Skeet, Taco, Dre, Tangy, Ron, ect.. there is no question they had the technique down back then.
Originality: IMO it was more original back then, more diverse skills, but today comes close.
Crowd control: Back in the days fasho, today we have Salah who can control a crowd and is a throw back to the way we performed. Back then everyone could control a crowd. We were much better performers back then cause of all the shows we were doing, and we influenced each other. But you gotta give it up to Japan and France. they put on great shows, and have skills in controling the crowd.
Character: Back in the days, character was a must, just look at Beat Street, Wild Style, Breakin, Breakin and Entering, and you will see what i mean.
POPPIN, BOOGALOO:the original EB’s were the best to me, but the over all skill level is way higher today. It had gotten to a point where everything was so comercial that people only responded to tricks and moves (that’s why I changed my style to strictly tricks during the 90’s so i can compete with BBOY power moves with the crowd).
ANIMATION:I saythe 80’s was better, everyone had there own characters by 83/84
WAVING: I still say the 80’s was better and more creative and watery. And allot of underground wavers that never got there props.
BOPPIN:while there are decent Boppers today, the skill level was higher then, and back then the dance seem to fit the era much better, and the Boppers were even more effective then.
TUTTIN: back in the days it was less technical and more funky, but today it is way more technical with the angles and concepts, and cats is gettin funky with it too now, but I will say today for sure.
Westcoastpoppin Who did you want to battle back then? What about now??
Mr.Wiggles I was cocky when I started gettin good and I wanted to battle everyone. Right now i’m battling myself, and I have a secret hit list of cats..lol, I’ll keep that to myself.
Westcoastpoppin what do you feel about the internet becoming a big part of networkin in poppin community?
Mr.WigglesGOOD in a sense that we can communicate more, and drop history, and also sell products to support our art forms and us as parents who are still dancing past 60 (just kiddin) BAD because while the communication is better, people do tend to copy and imitate without fear of gettin caught and yes it hurts the originality of a person cause of this, also the street credabilty is losing it’s importance cause people can get fame by talkin sh&t on the net, and posting clips on the internet instead of bouncing from hood to hood, spittin at your adversaries face to face, creating a real legacy. I missed that aspect, and allot of Poppers are taking the easy rout. Trust me, have the sh&t talkin on the net would be eliminated if these people had to face the people they are talking about.
I think it’s all coo for videos and clips, but people have to remember to look at these clips for inspiration not for biting and copying verbatim. Peeps need to take from what they watch and twist it to there own sh^t. or if they are beginners, bite a lil until you are able to understand the dance better, and then change what you have bittin to your own sh&t.
Westcoastpoppin When did you get back into the scene? why?
Mr.Wiggles I never left the scene, i have always remained a dancer, danced my whole life, and have not held a regular job down since 80. I never stopped, maybe that’s why i’m feeling the wear and tear now, but I never quit, and I will continue till they put me in a wheelchair, and yall will still see me “POPPIN” WHEELIES.
If it wasn’t gonna be dance it was gonna be Graffiti. if it wasn’t gonna be Graffiti, it was gonna MCin, if not that it would have been Producing Beats, ect. No matter what I was gonna live Hip Hop. Hip Hop was literally the only thing i knew, and the only thing did well. I was never gonna abandon that, Hip Hop is a major part of who i am in this world. And it is also the reason why I am still alive today.
Westcoastpoppin what was the down time of the scene like (late 80s early 90s) how did ppl react to poppin?
Mr.WigglesIt was wack, people looked at us the same way that Americans looked at Mimes. It was not good, But we (RSC) didn’t care, we would hit clubs sportin adidas laced with the phat cotton thick joints, and we was either Kangol down, or sportin the latest gears mixed with olds school sh&t and we would get into fights every weekend and the whole nine. Be we never gave a f&ck.
Westcoastpoppin what do you think brought poppin back? Who is responsible?
Mr.Wiggles The Electric Boogaloos. Peeps, might give peeps like me credit for keepin the buz alive, but the EB’s brought the dance back in it’s original form after almost 20 years of being extinct.
Westcoastpoppin What legacy would you like to leave for the scene?
Mr.WigglesOf course I want people to respect my skills, and my growth, but above all I want peeps to remember that I truly love the dance, and did what I could to help spread the art form the best way I can. and told the truth as I truly believed it.
WestcoastpoppinWhat advice would you give to anyone who is interested in getting into this dance?
Mr.WigglesStudy foundations, get as close to the root of the style you want to learn. respect all other styles and dancers even if you ain’t feelin them, or there style, let your dancin do the talkin for you, you can’t win a battle or argument debating on the internet, only believe what you can see with your own eyes, and not someone else’s typing/opinions.
WestcoastpoppinAnything you would like the readers to know about you? Any other comments?
Mr.WigglesMr Wiggles is a proud Puerto Rican, who married a Beautiful Dominican BGIRL and that had beutiful PuertDominican...na wait....Dominirican...uhuh....DomRicans...lol...naa...DominiRicans yea that sounds right DominiRican children (and one PuertItaliana Love ya Alex)
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