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Krumping (also clown dancing or clowning) is a style of dance that originated in the African-American community of South Central Los Angeles, California. It involves elaborate face-painting and freestyle dance moves usually performed in competition with other crews.

The first clown dancer was Thomas Johnson aka Tommy the Clown, a former spokesperson for Gray Davis. He began in 1992 by using the dance to enhance birthday party clown acts. Soon he had a crew of followers gathered around him, who called themselves the Hip Hop Clowns. The underground movement soon spread beyond its point of origin, South-Central L.A. and Compton, to the rest of California and beyond. Currently there are around 50 clown dancing groups. It has entered mainstream hip hop culture by the performance of krumping in various music videos.

Krumping is intended as an outlet for anger and as a nonviolent alternative to the street violence widespread in many of the areas where it is performed. Consequently, its dancing style is fast and aggressive. It usually involves physical contact between dancers, which can often look like a fight to outsiders. However, the participants understand this to be part of the dance. In this respect, there is a certain parallel with the mosh pit in rock music (at least the good natured pits that don't get violent). While reminiscent of sped-up breakdancing, it transcends that genre, bringing in influences from diverse sources, the predominant one being African dance. A competition structure has developed as dancers vie for championship belts at contests like the original Tommy the Clown's Battle Zone. The dancers are organized into cliques (or tribes) that engage in face-painting. The cultural significance of this painting has moved beyond the clown image to symbolize ceremonial African war or dance paint.
Filmmaker David LaChapelle's short film Rize, which offers an intimate portrayal of the clown dancing subculture, was featured at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival. He says of the movement: "What Nirvana was to rock-and-roll in 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."
by Gabo Guerra July 26, 2005
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A positive outlet for anger, a way of spiritual dancing and praise,a popular and fast growing style of hip-hop dance. It originated in the African-American community of South Central Los Angeles, California. It is free, expressive, and highly energetic, and is the newest form of the "Urban" Black dance movement
Rize shows how the homies are krumping and getting buck
by Lady Active December 30, 2005
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See krump. A new stlye of dancing in which tommy the clown began. It is best described as raw, natual and expressive freedom of body. It gave people an alternative to violence and kepts kids off the streets.
Did you see those kids krumping last night? Man they were getting buck!
by caroline June 27, 2005
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Krumping is a form of dancing that originated in the African-American community of South Central Los Angeles, California and is a relatively new form of the "Urban" Black dance movement. It is free, expressive and highly energetic. Most people paint their faces in different designs.
When you are krumping you need to let out all of your anger and just go with the flow.
by Flatliner_me May 25, 2007
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Throughout the frigid winters of a time when Jim Crow laws were still in action, black people were not invited into warm restaurants, houses, hotels, and public buildings. They suffered a horrible life of cold, sickness, and boredom UNTIL ONE DAY they devised a way to eliminate these three problems that plagued their dark skinned lives.

These AfroAmericans soon realized jittering around near each other as if in a state of epileptic seizure solved all three of these issues. It not only provided warmth through rapid movement and shared body heat within a tight communal circle, but most importantly would attract the attention of moral, medical personnel to take them into the nearest hospital emergency rooms and allow them free healthcare. Soon enough, the young found great entertainment in painting their faces and escalating the game to receive free psychiatric evaluation.

This was before black people discovered fire.
Black guy sees an ambulance.
Black guy: Fuck it's cold! I DUN WANNA DIE!
*Starts krumping*
by Professor of AfroAmerica July 13, 2009
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A dancing style not dissimilar to how a mountain goat might react whilst undergoing extensive knee surgery. The 'krumper' experiences no pain however, unless they are skilled in the art of clowning, the audience may feel like they have just been munged.
I feel no hesitation in crowning him king of the goats, for his krumping efforts are truely supreme.
by Nathaniel88 November 13, 2007
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