Faculty Spotlight: Alex M. Purugganan

ALEX M. PURUGGANAN

ENGLISH PROFESSOR

HUMANITIES AND SOCIAL STUDIES

ALEXANDRIA CAMPUS

Website PhotoIf I think deeply enough, I can still recall my b-boy crew’s congratulatory hands slapping my back, brushing the top of my head, and pulling my arms high into the air.  I can also still feel the heavy bass of the music seeping into my bones and hear the whooping and chanting from the crowd.  Above all else, I can distinctly remember the euphoric emotion and the sense of accomplishment after completing my best and most important windmill while battling against another more accomplished break-dance crew in Los Angeles, California.

I was nine years old when I first started pop-locking and popping.  I danced at local parks, swap meets, and neighborhood parties, generating laughter from amused adults who smoked cigarettes and played cards.  One of the more respected, older neighborhood b-boys, “Flyman,” had asked me to join his crew after an impromptu afternoon battle at a park.  I was the youngest member of Flyman’s dance crew, so he took me under his b-boy wing, teaching me breakdancing moves to replace my pop-locking routines and presenting me with a new nickname, “Kid Krazy Legs,” because of the way my legs convulsed and kicked as I spun doing windmills, a dance move where movement is generated from legs twirling in the shape of a V.  In one particular battle against a rival dance crew, Flyman and I completed simultaneous windmills as a climactic touch – the oldest and youngest members of our crew leaving a lasting, and ultimately victorious, impression for the judging crowd.

Mr. P with his son
Mr. P with his son

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