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A krumper dancing in Australia.

Krump is a street dance popularized in the United States, characterized by free, expressive, exaggerated, and highly energetic movement.[1] The youths who started Krump saw the dance as a way for them to escape gang life[2] and "to express raw emotions in a powerful but non-violent way."


The root word "Krump" came from the lyrics of a 1990 song.[3] It is sometimes spelled K.R.U.M.P., which is an acronym for Kingdom Radically Uplifted Mighty Praise,[4] presenting krumping as a faith-based artform.[5] Krump was created by two dancers: Ceasare "Tight Eyez" Willis, and Jo'Artis "Big Mijo" Ratti in South Central, Los Angeles during the early 2000s.[2][6][7] Clowning is the less aggressive predecessor to krump and was created in 1992 by Thomas "Tommy the Clown" Johnson in Compton, California.[1] In the 1990s, Johnson and his dancers, the Hip Hop Clowns, would paint their faces and perform clowning for children at birthday parties or for the general public at other functions as a form of entertainment.[8] In contrast, krump focuses on highly energetic battles and dramatic movements which Tommy describes as intense, fast-paced, and sharp.[8] CBS News has compared the intensity within krump to what rockers experience in a mosh pit.[9] "If movement were words, krump would be a poetry slam."[1] Krump was not directly created by Tommy the Clown; however, krump did grow out of clowning.[1][7][10] Ceasare Willis and Jo'Artis Ratti were both originally clown dancers for Johnson but their dancing was considered too "rugged" and "raw" for clowning so they eventually broke away and developed their own style.[2] This style is now known as Krump. Johnson eventually opened a clown dancing academy and started the Battle Zone competition at the Great Western Forum where krump crews and clown crews could come together and battle each other in front of an audience of their peers.[9]

Spread and influence[edit]

Expression is a must in krump because krump is expression. You have to let people feel what you're doing. You can't just come and get krump and your krump has no purpose.

—Robert "Phoolish" Jones;
Krump Kings[6]

David LaChapelle's documentary Rize explores the clowning and krump subculture in Los Angeles. He says of the movement: "What Nirvana was to rock-and-roll in the early '90s is what these kids are to hip-hop. It's the alternative to the bling-bling, tie-in-with-a-designer corporate hip-hop thing."[11] LaChapelle was first introduced to krump when he was directing Christina Aguilera's music video "Dirrty".[2] After deciding to make a documentary about the dance, he started by making a short film titled Krumped.[2] He screened this short at the 2004 Aspen Shortsfest and used the positive reaction from the film to gain more funding for a longer version.[2] In 2005, this longer version was released as Rize and screened at the Sundance Film Festival,[12] the Auckland International Film Festival,[13] and several other film festivals outside the United States.[14]

Aside from Rize, krump has appeared in several music videos including Madonna's "Hung Up", Missy Elliott's "I'm Really Hot", The Black Eyed Peas' "Hey Mama", and Chemical Brothers "Galvanize".[8] It is demonstrated in Skinny Puppy's "Pro-Test" video as well, which also displays several other aspects of krump- the plot thereof being based on the call-out and battle.

The dance has also appeared in the movies Bring It On: All or Nothing, Stomp the Yard and Climax, the television series Community, and the reality dance competitions So You Think You Can Dance, America's Best Dance Crew. Russell Ferguson, the winner of the sixth season of So You Think You Can Dance, is a krumper. Contestants on World of Dance B-Dash and Konkrete were krumpers (2018).The original web series The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers also featured a krump dance in season one during the fifth episode, "The Lettermakers". It has also spawned "Marge Krumping", a 2016 meme taken from The Simpsons episode "Little Orphan Millie", where the character Marge tries to cheer up Bart by krumping, albeit unsuccessfully..

Krump has since spread to many different countries around the world.


There are 4 basic moves in krump: stomps, jabs, chestpops, and armswings.[6] Krump is rarely choreographed; it is almost entirely freestyle (improvisational) and is danced most frequently in battles or sessions rather than on a stage. Krump is different stylistically from other hip-hop dance styles such as Breakdancing[8] and turfing. Krump is very aggressive and is danced upright to upbeat and fast-paced music. Despite the style, krump does not promote aggression or fighting - moves are meant to take up space and challenge other dancers to feed off and return the energy, whereas b-boying is more acrobatic and is danced on the floor to break beats. The Oakland dance style turfing is a fusion of popping and miming that incorporates storytelling and illusion. Krump is less precise than turfing and more freestyle. Thematically, all these dance styles share common ground including their street origins, their freestyle nature, and the use of battling. These commonalities bring them together under the umbrella of street dance.


[citation needed]

  • Battle: A direct dance competition often featuring concepts, materials, combos, and get-offs.
  • Biter: Someone who attends sessions or watches battles in order to feed on others' styles and originality, so that they can mimic those moves later at another battle and pass them off as their own inventions, i.e. plagiarism.
  • Session: When a group of Krumpers form a semi-circle, or cypher in hip-hop context, and, one by one, go into the middle and freestyle.
  • Buck: An adjective used to describe someone who excels in Krump, as well as high-quality adherence to the tenets of the Krump ethos.
  • Live: An adjective used to describe someone raising the energy in the session or battle.
  • Call-out: A Krumper's initiation or request for battle with another Krumper by calling them out.
  • Lab: Deliberate experimentation by Krumpers, either by themselves or with other Krumpers, to create new concepts and/or advance their style.
  • Get-off: A set of movements that determines that a Krumper's round is over, usually a pattern consisting solely of foundations, bang-outs, or arm-swings.
  • Kill-off: A set of movements that excites the crowd to the point where the battle is over and the crowd surrounds the Krumper; the opponent is "killed off", hence the name.[15]
  • Krumper: A dancer who specializes in the art of Krump.
  • Krumpography: Krump used as a choreography.
  • Concept: An abstract movement that helps Krumpers tell a story.
  • Material: A material movement Krumpers use to show a random item to further storytelling, e.g. pouring water on the ground and slipping.
  • Jab: A short, sharp, staccato movement of the arms. The Krumper extends them from the chest outwards, and with the same energy, pulls it back.
  • Stomp: Rhythmically driving the foot into and up from the ground in a way that the Krumpers appear to get their energy from the ground itself.
  • Chest pop: An upward motion of the chest in the same manner as breathing into the lungs; Krumpers usually do chest pops to inhale while in a session or in a round.
  • Arm swing: Moving an arm in a sweeping motion aided by gravity. There are two types of arm swings, small arm swings and big arm swings; small arm swings are similar to the motions involved in pitching a baseball, while big arm swings are analogous to using the whole arm as a baseball bat.
  • Praise Krump: The art of Krumping set to religious songs.[16]
  • Storyline: A set of combos performed by Krumpers to build up the hype and push the spazz meter to an appropriate moment for getting off or killing off their opponents.
  • Hype: The intense feeling of being swept away; for example, if a Krumper does buckness (see next section), carries out a unique dance move, or kills the music, the crowd is hyped up, thus leading to a kill-off. A common Krump audience perception is that the hype comes from the Krumpers' moves, but Krumpers also get their hype and boost their spazz meter from the crowd.
  • Spazz meter: A term used to determine the level or extent of the hype.
  • Buck talk: The act of trash talking while in a Krump battle.

Round storyline terminology[edit]

  • Atmosphere: Feeling the vibe of the environment and having the environment feel your presence.
  • Intro: Starting one's rounds; usually with small movements, sometimes used to introduce a Krumper's character or concept.
  • Rounds: A set of combos, materials, concepts, and foundations taken together.
  • Buckness: The part of the storyline where Krumpers are already hyped up with their rounds, showing a series of heavy and/or fast movements; usually done with a stance of the knees slightly bent, while the arms and feet are moved far out in front of the lower extremities of the body.
  • Krump: The part of the storyline where the Krumper is doing a series of foundations, concepts, and materials while standing upright, while the arms and feet are moving in front of the upper extremities of the body.
  • Liveness: The part of the storyline where the Krumper is doing a series of foundations, concepts, and materials, th the body bent upward, while the arms and feet are moving outside of the body, either upwards or to the sides.
  • Get-off: The part of the storyline where the Krumper is expressing feelings most intensely, letting out by rapidly showing repetitive movements such as bang-outs, jabs, redundancy, and the like.


  1. ^ a b c d paggett, taisha (July 2004). "Getting krumped: the changing race of hip hop". Dance Magazine. Retrieved July 30, 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Jones, Jen (September 1, 2005). "Behind the Scenes of David LaChapelle's Documentary "Rize"". Dance Spirit. Archived from the original on May 11, 2010. Retrieved September 24, 2009.
  3. ^ NPR. June 27, 2005 Archived from the original on November 22, 2010. Retrieved October 12, 2010. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ Mandalit Del Barco (June 27, 2005). "'Rize': Dancing Above L.A.'s Mean Streets". NPR. Archived from the original on November 22, 2010. Retrieved October 12, 2010.
  5. ^ William Booth (June 25, 2005). "The Exuberant Warrior Kings of 'Krumping'". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on November 12, 2012. Retrieved October 12, 2010.
  6. ^ a b c Shiri Nassim (producer) (2005). The Heart of Krump (DVD). Los Angeles: Ardustry Home Entertainment, Krump Kings Inc.
  7. ^ a b Voynar, Kim (July 12, 2005). "News Releases: Rize". Archived from the original on December 25, 2005. Retrieved August 27, 2009.
  8. ^ a b c d Reld, Shaheem; Bella, Mark (April 23, 2004). "Krumping: If You Look Like Bozo Having Spasms, You're Doing It Right". Archived from the original on July 15, 2010. Retrieved July 30, 2009.
  9. ^ a b Menzie, Nicola (June 30, 2005). "'Krump' Dances Into Mainstream". CBS News. Archived from the original on January 31, 2011. Retrieved August 14, 2011.
  10. ^ Thompson, Luke (June 22, 2005). "Dance, Dance, Revolution". East Bay Express. Retrieved August 25, 2009.
  11. ^ Swart, Sharon (January 13, 2004). "David LaChapelle: Sundance short take". Variety. Archived from the original on October 16, 2007. Retrieved October 7, 2007.
  12. ^ Jones, Jen (September 1, 2005). "Behind the Scenes of David LaChapelle's Documentary "Rize"". Dance Spirit. Archived from the original on May 11, 2010. Retrieved September 24, 2009.
  13. ^ Baillie, Russell (June 11, 2005). "Back in the reel world". New Zealand Herald. Archived from the original on July 27, 2013. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
  14. ^ "Release dates for Rize". Archived from the original on June 22, 2011. Retrieved August 14, 2009.
  15. ^ "Krumping - LA Street Dance". Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  16. ^ (King James Version) Psalms 150:4 "Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs."

    2 Samuel 6:14 "And David danced before the LORD with all his might. And David was wearing a linen ephod."

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