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Krump Change

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The Los Angeles Times has finally discovered krumpin'. Jessica Hundley's story, "Cirque for the Soul," ran on August 21, 2004, several months after it was noticed by writers at The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly. What took the LA Times so long to notice something that was always in its own backyard? Oh, wait, that's right...this is The Lost Angeles Times we're talking about.

For those still in the dark, krumpin' is the latest street dance to emerge from South Central Los Angeles. It combines clown performance techniques, iconography and wardrobe with hip hop dance movements.

Inevitably, cool hunters like hip-hop choreographers Richard and Tone Taleugega discovered the underground dance movement and featured the new style in music videos, such as Christina Aguilera's "Dirty" video. David LaChapelle, the video's director, subsequently made a short documentary about the indigenous street style called "Krumped." The short screened at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival and has been expanded for a late fall release as a feature film.

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Who knows when, or even if, the inevitable krump explosion will
hit the pop mainstream. But we bet there's some film producer or agent out there ready to appropriate the craze.

We can just imagine the concepts Hollywood would invent for a krumpin' movie:

Nutty Professor III: The Krumps
Sherman Klump mentors a graduate student who moonlights as a children's entertainer. He's a hit with kids as a clown but strikes out with the ladies because he has no rhythm on the dance floor. Dr. Klump mixes together a potion to loosen up his student. Unfortunately, the student drinks Klump's concoction while performing in his clown suit and can't stop krumpin'. The mild mannered student develops a split personality and becomes a one-man insane clown posse, menacing his neighbors and the entire college community. Dr. Klump races to develop an antidote before his protege becomes the next John Wayne Gacy.

Just Plain Clownin'
A young African American man dreams of joining the famous Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus and enrolls in the troupe's famous "Clown University" in Florida. A street entertainer, the young man almost gets thrown out of clown school when he has trouble meshing his urban krumpin' style with the rigors of professional clown training.

Save the Last Krump For Me
All that street smart Jess wants is to win a spot at the prestigious dance academy in the big city. She earns money to achieve her dream by waitressing. She accepts the invitation of a young African American busboy to go dancing after work. He introduces her to the local legend Tommy the Clown, played by Ice T, and the underground world of krumpin' dance competitions. Our heroine is intrigued. Will her ambition get in the way of true love and self expression?

If the mainstream does seize upon krumpin' as the latest "new" thing, let's hope the movement's impoverished innovators get more out of their 15 minutes of fame than some chump change and a book of press clippings before the entertainment-industrial complex sucks 'em dry and spits their carcasses onto the bone pile of discarded "street" styles.