Epic may be an overused word these days, but when it comes to describing one of Jaquency Ford's Old School vs New School Gangsta Walk events, it's just about the only word that fits.
Old School vs New School 4 has attracted Gangsta Walkers and enthusiasts from across the Southeast and from as far away as Oklahoma. It features five solo and five tag-team Gangsta Walk battles, in addition to musical performances and special dance showcases. It's a test to see if old school Walkers like Mike Mo and Cino can keep up with new school dancers like King Dre and Ocean. And to see if the new school dancers can measure up to the old school's exacting standards.
"It's all about respect," says Ford, who will also square off against Gangsta Curtee in the evening's main event. Ford's always happy to show off his moves, but he's even more excited to assemble so much Memphis dance history in one building.
"I finally got a chance to get all of the old school Gangsta Walkers in one building at the same time, and that hasn't happened in 15 or 20 years," he says. "It will be fun to see those guys out on the floor. Because to a lot of people, the old guys are like a myth. They've only been heard of. And maybe seen a clip or two."
Julius Ward aka Hurricane from the seminal dance crew G-Style is scheduled to perform in a solo showcase, as is Marcus Bowers, who's sometimes described as the man who created the Gangsta Walk. "He was before G-Style," Ford says. "He was before everybody's time, and we're honoring him."
The Gangsta Walk is the balletic, footwork-heavy style of urban dance that was born in Memphis and is the foundation for Memphis jookin'.