Adolfo “Shabba-Doo” Quiñones, star of the 1984 hip-hop flick “Breakin’,” will make an appearance Saturday at the Olympia Film Festival.
After a screening of “Breakin’,” choreographer-dancer-director Quiñones — recently inducted into the Hip Hop Hall of Fame — will answer audience questions.
For those who lived through the early days of hip-hop, the event is bound to bring back memories of boom boxes and Kangol hats.
“ ‘Breakin’ is extremely cheesy and campy but in the most glorious, gaudy ’80s kind of way,” said film festival programmer Harry Reetz. “Big hair, ridiculous clothes, absurd dialogue, wild dance sequences. It’s a super fun movie.”
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For Quiñones, playing Ozone in “Breakin’ ” was just one highlight in his 45-year career. He’s done choreography for Madonna and opened for Frank Sinatra, and People magazine once dubbed him “The Bob Fosse of the Streets.”
While in the Northwest, Quiñones will speak and do a demo Monday at the University of Puget Sound and host a screening of “Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo” on Nov. 6 at Experience Music Project in Seattle. (For details, go to empmuseum.org.)
Quiñones, 61, has been dancing for more than a half century.
“I started dancing when I was 3 or 4 years old,” he said in a phone interview last week. “I was basically a shy kid, but somehow when I danced, I could be this other person, a superhero.”
He performed for relatives and at his mother’s workplace in Chicago. The family moved to Los Angeles in 1971.
He began rising to fame as a dancer when he was chosen to appear on “Soul Train” in 1971. It wasn’t a paying gig, he said. “We were only getting KFC and grape soda for lunch.”
He and some of the dancers he met on the show formed the legendary hip-hop dance troupe The Lockers, who popularized locking, an athletic dance style that involves briefly freezing in position mid-move.
“That group changed dance forever,” Quiñones said. “We became famous for that on ‘Soul Train.’ ”
Among the other Lockers were Don Campbell, who invented the dance style; choreographer and singer Toni Basil (“Mickey”); and Fred Berry, who went on to play Rerun on “What’s Happening.”
The Lockers appeared on “The Carol Burnett Show,” “The Tonight Show” and “Saturday Night Live” and on the Oscars and Grammy Awards broadcasts.
“Breakin’ ” was the next big development for Quiñones. He met with the film’s producers, Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, to talk about choreography for the film.
“I was sitting there dressed exactly like you see me in the movie,” he said. “I’m sitting there, Menahem is looking at me, and he says, ‘Hey, Shabba-Doo, can you act?’ I said, ‘Yeah, I’m from Chicago.’ ”
Sent to the casting department, Quiñones said, “I just basically went in there and played myself.”
He was shocked to be offered the lead. “I was about 30 years old playing an 18- or 19-year-old in the movie.”
The wardrobe he sports in the film — all, he said, his own clothing — includes feather earrings and midriff-baring shirts.
Although the film had a low budget and a cast of unknowns, it was the 18th-top-grossing film in 1984, Nathan Rabin wrote in a 2015 Esquire magazine article about “Breakin’ ” and “Breakin’ 2,” also released in 1984. (The cast of “Breakin’ 2,” incidentally, included not only Quiñones but also Ice-T.)
“For all its cheesiness and nonironic embrace of dance movie conventions, “Breakin’ ” is rooted in an actual scene and subculture,” Rabin wrote. “As silly as it might have been, and “Breakin’ ” is gloriously silly, the film could at least be said to have a foundation in reality.”
The movie had a lasting impact on hip-hop culture, Quiñones said.
‘Breakin’ ’ with Shabba-Doo
What: Dancer-choreographer-director Adolfo “Shabba-Doo” Quiñones will answer questions after a screening of the iconic 1984 hip-hop movie “Breakin’.” After the film, there’ll be a dance party with music by Jose “DJ Luvva J” Gutierrez.
When: 5 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Capitol Theater, 206 Fifth Ave. SE, Olympia.
Tickets: $15, $10 for Olympia Film Society members.
Olympia Film Festival
What: The 33rd annual festival continues with live performance as well as film screenings.
When: Through Nov. 13.
Where: Capitol Theater, 206 Fifth Ave. SE, Olympia.
Tickets for regular screenings: $10, $7 for Olympia Film Society members, $4 for children 12 and younger. Children are admitted free to Kids Club films.
Information: 360-754-6670, olympiafilmfestival.org.
Built to Spill: 8 p.m. Friday (Nov. 4). $15, $12 for members. This show is mostly sold out; call the box office for details.
Caspar Babypants: 2 p.m. Nov. 6. $10, $5 for kids 12 and younger.
“World’s Greatest Dad” with director Bobcat Goldthwait: 7 p.m. Nov. 12. $15, $10 for members.
All Freakin’ Night: Midnight Nov. 13 (doors open at 11 p.m. Nov. 12). $20, $15 for members.
Closing-night standup comedy with Emmett Montgomery: 8 p.m. Nov. 13. $12, $9 for members.
The King of Crenshaw
What: Dancer-choreographer-director Adolfo “Shabba-Doo” Quiñones will speak about his life and career and give a hip-hop demonstration.
When: 7:30 p.m. Monday.
Where: Rasmussen Rotunda, Wheelock Student Center, University of Puget Sound, N. 15th St. and N. Lawrence St., Tacoma.
Tickets: $8, free for University of Puget Sound students with ID.