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Adolfo 'Shabba-Doo' Quiñones, star of 'Breakin'' and street dance pioneer, dies at 65

Quiñones broke into show business as a member of TV's "Soul Train" Gang before starring in dance films "Breakin'" and "Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo."
Image: Adolfo Quinones
Adolfo 'Shabba-Doo' Quiñones at the American Music Awards Celebrity Connect Gifting Suite at the W. Hotel in Hollywood on Nov 22, 2014.JMA / Star Max/IPx via Getty Images file
/ Source: Reuters

Adolfo "Shabba-Doo" Quiñones, the dancer-actor who rose to fame starring in "Breakin'" and its sequel "Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo," died Wednesday, his longtime collaborator announced. He was 65.

No cause of death has been announced. Just a day before he was discovered unconscious, Quiñones had posted a photo of himself smiling and giving the peace sign in bed, writing, "Good news y'all! I'm feeling all better, just a wee bit sluggish from my cold, but the good news is I'm Covid 19 negative! Woo hoo!"

Besides appearing in the "Breakin'" films, both in 1984, he had a featured role on the big screen in "Lambada" in 1990. Prior to taking to the movies, Quiñones was already a part of pop culture history for choreographing and appearing in Lionel Richie's "All Night Long" video.

Quiñones was a member of the Lockers crew that helped popularize the locking style of street dance. Co-founder Toni Basil posted: "It is with extreme sadness The Lockers family announces the unexpected passing of our beloved Adolfo Shabba-doo Quinones. In this difficult time we are requesting privacy."

Sheila E. recalled touring with Richie in her tweet calling Shabba Doo "my brother."

A message posted earlier on his web site said Quiñones was in development on "a film based on his memoirs, 'The Godfather of Street Dance: The Dance Forefather of Hip Hop,' which will detail and his life and reveal the true origin of street-dance."

Image: Popular dancer Adolfo Quinones aka Shabba Doo boogies down the Soul Train Line.
Popular dancer Adolfo Quiñones, aka Shabba-Doo, boogies down the "Soul Train" line circa 1973-1976.Soul Train via Getty Images file

Born in Chicago to a Black father and Puerto Rican mother, who raised him by herself from when he was 3, Quiñones broke into show business as a member of TV's "Soul Train" Gang.

In a 1984 interview with the Sarasota Sun-Herald, he recalled moving to California with his mother when he was 16, and how he would hitchhike from their home in Anaheim to Hollywood for 14-hour filming sessions of "Soul Train." "They couldn't keep me out of there," he said. "I'd get there at 7 in the morning and not leave till almost 10 at night."

Besides working for Richie, his choreography credits included Madonna's 1987 "Who's That Girl?" tour and TV work on MTV's "Blowin' Up." He made television appearances as a dancer as far back as 1976, on "What's Happening!!"