Flashdance, of course, didn’t invent breakdancing, but it was one of the first movies to popularize the street style and bring it to Middle America’s shopping malls. (And where breakdancing became popular, the hip-hop music and culture that gave birth to it were sure to follow.) The movie contained a celebrated sequence where Jennifer Beals comes a cross a group of b-boys, played by Wayne “Frosty Freeze” Frost and the Rock Steady Crew, showing off their moves to the tune of Jimmy Castor’s “It’s Just Begun,” soon to be a breakdance anthem.
It wasn’t long before the art form got its own movies, notably, Beat Street (also featuring Frost), Breakin‘, and its wonderfully titled sequel, Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo. Pretty soon, oldtimer Don Ameche was winning an Oscar in 1985’s Cocoon for spinning around on his back on the dance floor (like Beals, with the aid of a dance double and a song by Michael Sembello). You’d think that would have killed the fad, but it persists to this day, practiced by street kids who’ve never heard of Frosty Freeze.