Recently (November 2012) Richard “Crazy Legs” Colón— internationally-known Puerto Rican break dancer and original member and current president of the Rock Steady Crew (founded in 1979)—took part in a panel entitled “The Roots of Hip Hop.” Organized by the curators of the Cornell Hip Hop Collection—now part of Kroch Library’s Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections and considered the largest such archive in the country—the panel was hosted by DJ Rich Medina with the participation of Afrika Bambaataa.
Born in the Bronx, New York, “Crazy Legs” Colón featured in the earliest newspapers articles on hip hop and break dancing. He was instrumental in bringing the dance form to Europe in the early 80s and has been featured in fiction films and documentaries, old and new. When he was 16 years old, “Crazy Legs” went on the New York City Rap Tour, along with hip hop artists Afrika Bambaataa, Grandmixer D.ST, Fab 5 Freddie, Futura 2000, and the World Champion Fantastic Four Double Dutch Girls.
He has always been involved in community outreach, dance instruction and dance theater productions. What I didn’t know about him is that 2012 was the 35th anniversary of his Rock Steady Crew. I was also thrilled to find out about Crazy Legs’ work with children in Uganda “using the unlikely tool of hip-hop with a focus on b-boy culture and breakdance.” His selfless work is prominent in the documentary film Bouncing Cats, directed by Nabil Elderkin.
For more on Crazy Legs (and photo above), see http://stepxstepdance.wordpress.com/2012/08/20/the-crazy-inspiring-life-of-richard-crazy-legs-colon/
For more on the panel, see http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/Nov12/BambaataaCover.html