Living Dance Legends: Shabba-Doo & Toni Basil
Written by ZenKC on December 12, 2019
Story by Chuck Tackett
Living Dance Legends: Shabba-Doo & Toni Basil
“We can dance. We can dance. Everybody is out of control. We can dance. We can dance. We’re doing it from wall to wall.”
“Safety Dance – Men Without Hats
Customarily, when I carry out my daily dance aerobic workouts, I habitually switch my TV to the Stingray Music Channel (Disco and Funk) But for a change of pace, I decided to switch to Stingray’s Music Channel (Remembering the 80’s.) Believe it or not, I am musically eclectic regardless of what some folks have chosen to decide about me.
While I was doing my workout, one of my favorite music/videos came on: “Safety Dance” by Men Without Hats. I always cracked up about the lyrics regarding if you don’t dance then you’re no friend of mine. But of course, I didn’t take it literally. (laughing)
Music/dancing has always been a source of escape for me when dealing with the pressures of society.”American Bandstand” and “Soul Train” were staples in my life. My friends always poked fun saying that I was born at the right time because of the Disco era.
In the 1980s, when I was in my late 20s and even in my 30s, as much as I adored dancing and going out to the clubs, I also enjoyed being a labor union activist. I was elected Executive Vice President for two terms of the Communication Workers of America (CWA) Local 6321 representing long-distance telephone operators in Mission Kansas, Directory Assistance operators in Independence, Missouri and various clerks in both Kansas City, Kansas/Kansas City, Missouri that were employed by both Southwestern Bell Telephone Company and AT&T. Because of that responsibility, I couldn’t keep up with all the dancing styles and songs as I have in the past. First and foremost was representing my fellow Union members.
The next song that played while I was doing my aerobic workout was “There’s No Stopping Us” by Ollie and Jerry. Splattered on the screen was a photo of breakdancer Shabba-Doo. It had me wondering while I was exercising what is he up to now.
Born Adolfo Quinones on May 11th, 1955 in Chicago Illinois, the man known as Shabba-Doo is an actor, dancer, and choreographer best known for his role as “Ozone” in the 1984 breakdancing movie and its sequel “Breaking” and “Breaking 2, Electric Boogaloo”
Unknown to me or I probably have forgotten, Shabba-Doo and his sister Fawn Quinones were original dancers on “Soul Train”. I also forgot Shabba-Doo was a member of the Soul Train dance troupe “The Lockers” who introduced breakdancing to the masses in the early days of “Soul Train”. The one I had fondly remembered was the late Fred Berry known as “Rerun”. He became an actor and was most known for the old school TV series “What’s Happening”.
After “Soul Train”, Shabba-Doo’s career soared and has starred in various movies, TV shows, and music videos. Through the decades, he has done choreography work for Lionel Ritchie, Madonna, and the late Luther Vandross. Currently, he still does acting/dancing work in films and television. He is 64 years old. For more information on Shabba-Doo, go to his website: shabba-doo.com
While researching hip hop legendary dancer Shabba-Doo, I was pleasantly surprised to find out his relationship to legendary dancer Toni Basil of “Hey Mickey” fame.
Born Antonia Christina Basilotta, Toni Basil was born into a family of performers. Her mom Jacqueline was a vaudevillian acrobatic comic in her family act “Billy Wells and The Four Fays.” Toni’s father Louis was an orchestra leader in Chicago, Las Vegas, and other locations. Toni was a high school varsity cheerleader in Las Vegas who graduated in 1961. She incorporated her cheerleading experiences with her dance moves.
Basil’s acting/dancing career took off after she graduated from high school. She started out as a go-go dancer in the old TV music variety show “Shindig” Her acting career took off starring in movies “Viva Las Vegas”, “Easy Rider” and “Sweet Charity” to name a few. Her movie career has continued on for decades.
Her choreography career includes Bette Midler, Tina Turner, David Bowie, The Monkees, and The Talking Heads in their famous dance moves in the video, “Once In A Lifetime.” She had the distinction of being a member of the Soul Train dance troupe “The Lockers” thus her continued long-lasting friendship with fellow member Shabba-Doo.
Toni though is best known for her 1981 mega-hit “Hey Mickey” which is still widely known and popular today. Toni along with her friend Shabba-Doo continues to be active today and both are living dance legends.
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