101 Things Birmingham Gave The World. No 10. Breakdancing

The dying fly !

Okay, so James Brown got down and Afrika Bambaataa saw b-boy and the freak as a way to change the World with his Zulu Nation. But that was back in the seventies and was that really likely ever to cross-over?

Okay, yes, so the Rock Steady Crew were busting up the East Coast (not Lowestoft) in the eary 80’s but were they ever more than one-hit wonders?

No, what really made sure that street dance hit the mainstream and is still there thirty years later—battling with comic opera singers and amusing dogs on Saturday night telly—was the crew from Studio 3 of ATV on Broad Street. First introduced by Jasper Carrot, the b-boy stylings of lying on your back waving your arms and legs in the air was what really make breakdancing what it is today. So ingrained into British culture was ‘the dying fly’ that the dance at one point soared high in the RoSPA list of common causes of household injury.

Without Tiswas, no breakdancing. Without Birmingham, no Tiswas.

Author: Jon Bounds

14th Most Influential Person in the West Midlands 2008, subsequently not placed. His new book about visiting every seaside pier in England and Wales — Pier Review — has been described as “On the Road meets On the Buses”, it's out now. Jon wrote and directed the first ever piece of drama to be performed on Twitter and founded the famous blog Birmingham: It's Not Shit.