Much like breakdancing was a benchmark of inner-city culture in the ’80s, a dance movement called krumping is creating its own subculture among teens in Los Angeles neighborhoods such as Compton, South Central, and Watts. Informed equally by hip-hop, African tribal rituals, pantomime and martial arts, krumping is a frenetic, hyper fast-paced dancing style. Dancers gather in school grounds, parking lots, and yards to perform and “battle dance” each other; participants are typically vocal opponents of violence, thus making the krumping scene an alternative to the gang wars that plague the areas where krumping is popular. Theatrical face paint is also worn by the dancers, which gives krumping its other moniker, “clowning.”
Krump is an acronym for Kingdom Radically Uplifted Mighty Praise. It is a dance form that was pioneered by Tight Eyez (a.k.a. Ceasare Willis) and Li’l C along with a group of others, namely Big Mijo, Slayer, and Hurricane. It is an aggressive and spiritual form of dance with Christian roots. Its movements include Chest Pops, Stomps, Armswings, Syncs, Puzzles, Bangs, and Kill-Offs. There are supposedly three levels to krumping: Krump, Buckness, and Ampness.
This work is inspired by krumping. Fast and fiery music is juxtaposed with free, hymn-like, ethereal slow sections, while instrumental groups and soloists in the ensemble get a chance to “Krump,” emulating the energy and passion of this dance.