Creating a character called Tommy the Clown, Johnson developed an act that combined hip-hop-flavored comedy and dancing with an anti-gang and anti-violence message. Johnson’s performances became wildly popular in South Central — so much so that at one point, 50 different groups inspired by Johnson’s example were performing in the area. In time, Johnson’s loose-limbed dance style inspired a new wave of hip-hop street dancing called “krumping,” a wildly athletic style in which arms, legs, and bodies fly with a frenzied abandon that moves at almost inhuman speeds.
<em>Rize</em> follows the birth of clown dancing and krumping in South Central, and records how many young people have adopted the dance as a style of competition, offering a safer and healthier alternative to the gang culture that has long dominated Los Angeles. <em>Rize</em>premiered at the 2005.