Sometime around 1984, Hip Hop became a way of life for a local group of Princeton dancers when they latched on to an innovative dance form that began in the Bronx NY called breaking. Their influences came from famous breakdance crews out of New York called The Rock Steady Crew and NYC Breakers.
Inspired by cultural influences – movies like Wild Style, Beat Street, and Flash Dance, and shows like Yo MTV Raps and Video Music Box – the crew, made up of members Scotty (Bink) Fisher, Shawn (Ace) Slaughter and Jimmy (Shabu) Craig, John (Legs) Thompson, Darius (Kid Flash) Young, Barry (B) Phox, Tom (Sicko) Claudio, Balfour (B) Merrill, and Anthony (Wiper) White formed the group Top Rockers.
After honing their skills at the Arts Council of Princeton, formerly known as the Princeton Youth Center and the Princeton YMCA, the group took on local dance crews in Mercer County with great success. Their claim to fame was first place finish in a dance competition at Kendall Park Skating Rink which ended in a head-to-head battle and victory over a dance crew from Bronx, NY in front of a sold out crowd.
The crew became legit and was put on the map in that moment! On October 20, the old crew will bring their cultural influences in dance, music, and movie to the Arts Council Princeton in a dance party fundraising celebration of Hip Hop’s 50th anniversary.
Proceeds go towards our After School Art Club which has provided over 90 afternoons of hands-on art making, homework help, and healthy snacks to middle schoolers in our community. Many of our students face a myriad of daily challenges, among them are food and housing insecurity. While the After School Art Club program can’t solve these problems, it does offer a safe and nurturing space for students to explore new and productive forms of self-expression alongside their peers. It also provides parents with some breathing room during the week to work and catch up, secure in the knowledge that their child is well cared for. The ACP has become a place of comfort and support for these students. As we continue to adapt and improve this program, we look for ways to provide this same embrace to our smART Kid parents and family members. This program plays an increasingly important role in our work to build community through the arts.