The Author | Special Events

These are a few archived headlines at the beggining of the project.

Click on picture or text to read the articles.

Los Angeles Times - April 05, 1994:

WOODLAND HILLS : Dancers Behind Street Styles in the Spotlight
By VIVIEN LOU CHEN.  Click to read article

Creators of the body moves that spawned break-dancing and influenced such superstars as Michael Jackson gathered in Woodland Hills on Monday to film a documentary on the evolution of street dancing.

Legends of the 1970s underground dance scene--such as Don Campbell, who is credited by many with developing the move known as "locking"--sat in front of a video camera to talk about how they were hitting the dance floor with innovative steps long before the 1983 movie "Flashdance."

Thomas Guzman-Sanchez, a member of the recording group Rhythm Tribe and a dancer himself from Reseda, said he wrote the one-hour documentary "to fill in that missing puzzle piece in pop culture" between 1970 and 1985.

Guzman-Sanchez said he hopes that the film, titled "The Master Underground Dancers of the Forgotten Era: Documentary of a Hard-Core Lifestyle" will air on public television.

Timothy Solomon, whose dance moniker was Poppin' Pete, said during the taping session that he appeared in Michael Jackson's video "Beat It" and even taught the superstar a few steps.

The man at the beginning of street dancing's evolutionary chain, some say, is Campbell, a shy, 43-year-old former high school track athlete who started dancing just for fun, moving with his buddies to music from a jukebox at Los Angeles Trade Technical College.

In clumsy attempts to move to the "Funky Chicken" in the early 1970s, Campbell would point to people laughing at him, slip and pretend nothing happened, and freeze his arms into what became known as a "lock." Soon, he was dancing on the television program "Soul Train."

Guzman-Sanchez, 35, said he was inspired to imitate Campbell after seeing the older dancer on television. The teen-age Guzman-Sanchez and his friends followed Campbell's steps and expanded on them by freezing the arms into a "break" and moving the body in a constant flow.

New York kids added gymnastic steps and head spins to the dance moves, which later became known as break-dancing and was popularized in movies and videos during the 1980s.

That mainstreaming, Sanchez said, hurt street dancing more than it helped. "It reduced it to a novelty where every little kid had a Nike suit on and a piece of cardboard in the front lawn."

DAILY NEWS - LA LIFE - January 09, 1997:

POP GOES THE RETRO : Through Documentary, Brothers Strive to Set Record Straight on Dance Origins.
By ELIZABETH M. COSIN - Daily News Staff Writer.
  Click to read article

Thomas Guzman-Sanchez and his brother, Paul, grew up in sleepy Reseda in the 1970s, far removed from Los Angeles' urban clubs and street corners where young, wanna-be "Soul Train'' dancers were perfecting their moves.

Back then, young Thomas Young played classical guitar and was the master at acrobatics acrobatics on his backyard trampoline; Paul was the admiring younger brother. Dance was not one of their passions - yet.

Everything changed one Saturday night when then-16-year-old Thomas caught an eccentric new dance group on Saturday Night Live. He was hooked. He dashed into the bedroom that night, mimicking the moves in front of a mirror.

Those unpolished gyrations would be the beginning of the Guzman-Sanchez brothers' careers as cutting-edge dancers and urban dance historians - perhaps that dance form's most vocal and determined defenders.

Thomas' documentary (which he produced, wrote and directed), "Underground Dance Masters: History of a Forgotten Era'' will debut this weekend at Billboard Live, ending - and continuing - a long effort the brothers hope will put urban dance in its true place in American cultural history.

"It was revolutionary to me,'' says Guzman-Sanchez, now 38 and living in Northridge. "The crazy thing is that all the stuff they're doing on MTV now is exactly the same as we were doing back then. Nothing's new. We want that recognized.''

Ironically, the moves the brothers helped perfect and spread have become part of the dances now associated with hip-hop and rap and erroneously referred to as having their origins in New York-style break dancing or rocking.

The brothers' mission is to set this history straight. Locking and popping, they say emphatically, is a California creation. It is in fact, not break dancing. The only connection between the two forms is that so-called "breaking,'' an aggressive style where dancers spin on their heads, hands or bodies close to the ground, is actually rooted in locking and popping.

They feel so strongly about righting that record that Thomas Guzman-Sanchez invested five years of his time, $325,000 in cash (money he's earned since his teen years as a musician and entertainer), and nearly everything he owned to put the project together.

(There are more projects on the horizon, including a multipart CD collection of music from the period that will be available in February, with the release of O.G. Funk, Locking Volume 1.)

"What really annoys me is when I see this watered-down version of locking, and the people doing it have no idea where it came from or even what they are doing,'' says Thomas Guzman-Sanchez, who is trying to convince the american Heritage dictionary dictionary to add the terms "popping'' and "locking'' to its official vocabulary.

In seeing his film through, Thomas Guzman-Sanchez, who also has written a book on the dance form, was faced with many more obstacles than simply raising enough money.

For one, what bits of history that do exist about the movement is often blurred by the fact that it's a story told on street corners, in clubs and underground literature. For another, as an integral part of the revolution, he faced the challenge of telling an objective story. "The MTV generation still thinks it was invented in New York ,'' says Paul Guzman-Sanchez. "They think it's all new and it's hip-hop. We want to set the record straight.''

To do this, Thomas interviewed dozens of the people involved in the movement and culled examples of the dance's street origins from hours of television and home video footage.

He tried to tell the story in a linear fashion, beginning with locking creator Don Cambell and his group, the Lockers; then Thomas and his brother's dance group, Chain Reaction; followed by the Electric Boogaloo, who are credited with creating "popping.'' The film shows links between what they were doing at the time and the evolution into what you see on MTV today.

The moves Michael Jackson made famous, including the moonwalk, for example, were being executed by dancers years before Jackson began dancing his way to fame and fortune. (Paul Guzman-Sanchez actually appears in the "Thriller'' video and claims Jackson used videos of him and his brother to choreograph his moves.)

Even 20 years after the fact, the brothers' passion and enthusiasm for the dance has not diminished. Each still can swing their arms to demonstrate the moves they first learned as teen-agers, and they are just as likely to stop someone in a club or on the street to ``set them straight.''

What Thomas Guzman-Sanchez had seen that Saturday night was the seed of the revolution.Crenshaw High grad Cambell actually had come up with his dance by accident. It was named ``locking'' after the way he would hesitate in between moves when he was trying to learn new steps. He formed a six-member group called the Cambell Lockers (later, the Lockers), and it was their appearance on SNL that first inspired Thomas. "You have to understand, it was so fresh,'' he says. "It was like nothing anybody had ever seen before. It was so original, it was as if no one had even thought about it except Don. No one else could have come up with it.''

The Lockers - dressed almost like funky clowns, with baggy knickers, striped socks, wide suspenders, Apple hats (big, floppy hats with short brims) and Marshmallow shoes (like thick-soled saddle shoes ) - bounded around the stage with swagger and confidence. It was almost like practiced calisthetics . The dancers would jump high in the air and dive to the stage or land in half-splits, only to pop up again like springs. Keeping everything together and fluid was the jerky, swinging arm movements that Cambell had created.

The very innovation of the dance is captured with some poignancy in the documentary in a clip from Cambell's first appearance on "Soul Train,'' where he was one of the dancers in the crowd. Everyone around him seems to be standing still as Campbell gyrates and "locks'' through the room.

"It was very, very odd,'' says Paul Guzman-Sanchez, 32. "In its original form, locking is so revolutionary, so unique, some people have trouble with it.''

Based on the "SNL'' footage lodged in his memory - this was before home video, after all - Thomas Guzman-Sanchez not only learned how to lock, but he and his brother began to build and expand the form, adding their own take on a mechanical type of move that had come out of Fresno and was called "popping.''

They formed their own dance group, Chain Reaction, with two other dancers they'd met at clubs in Los Angeles, and the group blossomed, carrying the format to the next level. They appeared on national television and in the movie "Xanadu.'' Paul Guzman-Sanchez was featured in Rod Stewart's "Young Turks'' video, giving "popping and locking'' its MTV debut.

Now the urban dance landscape is filled with different aspects of "locking'' and "popping'' (so saturated is the style that NBA cheerleaders and MTV dancers style their entire routines around it). The Guzman-Sanchez brothers wonder if the origins are lost forever, and if, more importantly, they are fighting a losing battle.

So they continue to spread the gospel, stemming the rewriting of history as only eyewitnesses can. "What people don't realize about the dance is that it has a certain form, it has rules,'' says Thomas Guzman-Sanchez. "Just like jazz has a form and ballet has a form and tap has a form, so does locking... "Back then, if you did a move, I knew where you learned it from,'' he says. "I knew who you knew. That's the way it was.''

(Cover) THE snap and crackle of POPPING Brothers Thomas and Paul Guzman-Sanchez chronicle urban dance - with their own cutting-edge style
(2) Through the documentary, ``Underground Dance Masters: History of a Forgotten Era'' Paul, left, and Thomas Guzman-Sanchez hope to put urban dance in its true place in American cultural history. David Sprague/Daily News
(3) Robert ``Bosco'' Winters, left, a member of the dance group Chain Reaction, and Thomas Guzman-Sanchez perform a locking routine. Guzman-Sanchez is trying to convince the American Heritage dictionary to add the terms ``popping'' and ``locking'' to its official vocabulary.
(4) Ironically, the moves Paul, left, and Thomas Guzman-Sanchez helped perfect and spread have become part of the dances now associated with hip-hop and rap.

No Such Thing As Breakdance - 1996:

Published on DanceMaster.com
By Thomas Guzman-Sanchez.
    Click to read article


A missing piece in the big puzzle of American Urban Pop history has been discovered and brought to the forefront. This has caused a generation to re-think American Urban Dance history. An eight year study led by Urban Dance historians Thomas and Paul Guzman-Sanchez, reveal that a person is either Locking, Popping , Up-Rocking or B'Boying but not "break dancing". The brothers have focused on the history of Urban Dance from 1970 to 1985. The current meaning of the word "Break dancing" (American Heritage dictionary) is: A style of dancing in which agility, and often spectacular gymnastics skills, are combined with pantomime and performed especially to the rhythm of rap music. The "spectacular gymnastic skills" would be in reference to the Power Moves and tricks that are a main part of Rocking or B'Boying. The "pantomime" would refer to Popping. The "agility" could refer to Locking. And of course "the rhythm of rap music" is the O.G. (original generation) Funk. What could have caused such a misconception by society?

In 1982 the movie Flash Dance was released. The back spinning antics in this film caused the national media to focus on it because it was amazing to watch. This allowed the young back spinners in the film to manipulate the world press in regards to the trend that would become known as "Break dancing". The term "Break" or "to break" is originally a street term used as an alternative to describe "the act of dancing".

There has never been and is no actual dance style or dance form called "breaking" or "Break dancing". The word "break" was created by the O.G. Dance Group Chain Reaction in 1974 to describe a move in the dance form called "Locking". This move is where the arms are bent sharply at the elbows or a "Break" at the elbows. It then evolved to describe the act of dancing or to initiate a challenge, as in ,"Can you break?", or "Break!".

The 80's press grabbed this word "Break", creating an out of control monster and fed it to a naive America. A sad side effect was any prior history of these Urban Dance art forms were completely wiped out and stamped with the generic term of "Break dancing". Because so many people in the world today have embraced and adapted the Hip Hop trend as their so called "Culture", the propaganda that was initiated in 1983 is the only information that our society has as to build a foundation upon. But ignorance to history is no excuse. Just because a group says something is a certain way, doesn't make it so.

Now with the true history of Locking, Popping, Up-Rocking and B'Boying is known, society can now see the actual origin of what has become known as "hip hop dance" and that there really is no such thing as "Break dance".

VIBE MAGAZINE Arts Section Cover: September 1998:

Letter to the Editor by Thomas Guzman-Sanchez in response to
Lock, Pop and Quarrel article
by R.J. Smith       Click to read article


Dear VIBE MAGAZINE Editor,
In regards to the article that appeared in the Anniversary issue,
"Lock, Pop and Quarrel". The writer RJ Smith for some reason chose to negate a seven year study and a two hour documentary on the origin of Locking and Popping, when he decided to convolute the facts and make that article into an opinion poll. This study was done to establish the true history of these American art forms, that until now have been a part of street history. Street history is orally passed down from generation to generation creating myths, lies and legends. This study which has become a book, a sound track (called O.G. Funk - Locking Vol. 1&2 and Popping Vol. 1&2, which is now available nationally) and a feature documentary has destroyed all the myths, lies and brought to light the real legends of a forgotten era between 1970 and 1985. I have traced the absolute beginning of a dance called the "Campbellock", created by Don Campbell in 1970 who happened to live in Los Angeles California. It shows the further development of "Locking" and the creation of the term "Break" in 1974 by the dance group Chain Reaction, who were from Reseda California. It covers the innovation of "Popping" in 1977 by a dance group from Fresno California called the "Electronic Boogaloo Lockers". All of this has nothing to do with east coast verses west coast.

The film is made up of archival footage with legitimate air dates. This has created an unshakable time line that establishes for the first time a piece of American pop history that has never before been recorded. I have always said, "Don't believe me, just look at the air dates". You can't fake 1971 Soul Train or 1973 Johnny Carson. This has upset many people who were led to believe in certain myths. This has also excited many others who are truly interested in finding the truth about this part of history. A strange result of this study was discovering that this is also the origin of what has become known as Hip Hop dance today.

The fact that RJ Smith asked people their opinion in regards to the validity of my study is one thing. But to ask individuals who are clearly "new guys" by their own admission about something that happened ten to twelve years before them is absolutely ridiculous and not good journalism.

In the 1600's the world was believed to be flat. This opinion was common knowledge supported by both society and the Pope. It was not until Galileo came along and proved the world was round. Because of this he almost lost his life through torture until he renounced his statement. Just because society believes that something is common knowledge does not make it true. Only a fool would site common knowledge as a basis of validating a statement.

Sincerely,

Thomas Guzman-Sanchez
Producer/Director/Urban Dance Historian






©2013 Thomas Guzman-Sanchez and A Clockman Vision. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. UDM Book is Published by ABC-Clio