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The City Journals

The HERC will serve you

Dec 02, 2016 01:52PM ● By Orlando Rodriguez

The space will serve for multiple events and open practices. (Orlando Rodriguez/City Journals)

By Orlando Rodriguez | [email protected])

The B-boy Federation’s recently opened HERC (Hip-Hop Education and Resource Center) at 2505 S. State St. hopes to become a pillar for hip-hop arts in the community. The center takes its name from DJ Kool Herc, considered to be the father of hip-hop music, and was the brainchild of the B-boy Federation owners and longtime B-boys themselves Josh Perkins and James Karren. 

The HERC enjoyed a large turnout for their open house on Nov. 3, but their long-term plans call for a larger grand opening in early 2017. Not only that, but they plan to solidify the programs they will offer. Apart from the usual dance practices for dancers to hone their skills, they will also have art and djing classes, as well as will teach young dancers the history and language of hip-hop.  They hope that young dancers have the incentive to put in the work in both dancing and educating themselves to create pathways to personal success.

“In the hip-hop community, anyone is welcome, but you have to pull your weight,” said Josh Perkins, “if you don’t, the community will weed you out. There’s respect for hard workers.”

Perkins’s experience as a professional dancer serves as a base for the ideals they want to instill in younger dancers. He got his start as a dancer in late 1999, and he witnessed pro-am breakdancing competitors who blew him away with their ability, and gave him the drive to practice every day and hone his craft. 

In 2004, he and Karren formed a B-boy group, called the “Angels of Death.” They would go to competitions out-of-state and struggled to begin with, but then found their stride. The group disbanded in late 2007 and “Pyro” and “Text,” what Karren and Perkins call themselves respectively, stayed in Utah, and founded the B-boy Federation shortly after.

“The dance scene in Utah was pretty dead around 2008,” said Perkins. “Not many people were breaking, and we wanted to create more of that hunger for it.” 

In coalition with the Utah Arts Alliance and the Murray Boys & Girls Club, they hosted many B-boy events that exponentially enjoyed great turnouts. They modeled their events after a dance league in Arizona that contacted them to create a partnership. HERC2.JPG “We wanted to partner with the dance league in Arizona but their rates were too expensive for us, but we took the concept of the league and figured out how to better suit it to our community,” said Perkins.

Regardless, they continued to struggle. Then in late 2011, they were approached by Teri Munn, parent of a fellow dancer, who started them on the path to become a nonprofit organization. And, in 2013, the B-boy Federation was molded.

As the Federation moves into a larger space, their long-term plans for the HERC continue to be set. They’ve partnered with the UDO (Urban Dance Organization) who will work at the HERC as well. Apart from the usual open practices, breakdancing battles, art shows and workshops, they will continue to find new ways to throw unique events. 

Their perennial stage production, “They Reminisce,” usually performed at the Rose Wagner Theatre in downtown Salt Lake City, will look to bring the show to different cities in Utah and in other states. The production grants opportunities for local dancers to gain experience, and their aim is to make it as authentic as they can to the history of hip-hop. They also hope it can serve as educational for viewers who may not know the origins of the dance moves B-boys are known for, by looking at its history throughout decades. Along that vein, they hope it can reach a different demographic.

The B-boy Federation will continue to increase its efforts to make the community more aware of the hip-hop scene in Utah. The scene, however, is one that Perkins admittedly says cannot be too underground or too mainstream. “If you look for it, you can find it,” he said. 

More information can be found on their website and on their Facebook at