Underground Dance Masters
February 6, 2013

Underground Dance Masters: Final History of a Forgotten Era

By Thomas Guzman-Sanchez

Praeger, 2012

169 pages, $48

From the soul and funk boogaloos, to rocking, popping and power moves, Underground Dance Masters explores the evolving styles and movements that dance crews across the United States performed in the mid-1960s through the 1980s. It’s written by Thomas Guzman-Sanchez, a member of the West Coast dance group Chain Reaction, who’s made it his mission to accurately report the moves, styles and dancers that make up what people know as “hip-hop dance.” (According to Guzman-Sanchez, the term “hip hop” was coined by a DJ in 1979, and the media jumped on it. “Original Generation” b-boys and street dancers do not accept the label.)

The book is structured by geographic region and style of dance, and personal interviews and photographs show the origins of the moves echoed in today’s hip-hop dance scene. Guzman-Sanchez first produced Underground Dance Masters in documentary form, featured at the 2008 Dance on Camera Festival. The new print material is an equally compelling account of the dances and dancers.

Note for teachers: Some minor drug and alcohol use is mentioned.

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