Oakland's 'turfin' dance style goes viral

July 15, 2010 7:30:23 PM PDT
In the Bay Area's toughest neighborhoods, it is no surprise to see young men hanging out. But if you see that at 90th and MacArthur in Oakland, stop and look closely. That corner has become the stage for a performance that has gone global -- the dance phenomenon known as "turfin."

The dancers are self taught; the style originated in Oakland. It incorporates moves from hip hop, ballet, reggae and contemporary.

"Creativity, confidence and like you got to find a way for you to do it," turf dancer Garion Morgan said.

Their video was shot by Yo Savion, director of multi-media productions at the Youth Uprising organization in Oakland. He added music and put it on the web.

The rainy day performance was in honor of Darrell Armstead's brother, who was killed in a traffic accident on the corner.

"That day I was, I was just heartbroken," Armstead said.

Dance has become his life.

"Dancing can still lift your spirits and get you away from trouble," Armstead said.

And the video has gone viral in the past two weeks with thousands of views worldwide.

"I was on there looking at comments, reading stuff in languages I can't even understand," turf dancer Byron Sanders said.

The dancers have been special for some time on the streets of Oakland.

"They chose to do something positive which is really cool," Oakland resident Lincoln Finley said.

So if you see these guys hanging on the streets, they aren't loitering, they're turfin.

It is a skill that has taken them to competitions nationwide. And now with the Internet, they are influencing the global dance culture.

"When you are able to break it down and show the raw creative expressions, that's when the truth comes out and I think that's what people are responding too," Savion said.

The dance crew known as Turf Feinz hopes the notoriety takes them and their moves to a whole new level.


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