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Tyrone Proctor, 'Soul Train' Waacking Dance Pioneer, Has Died

Tyrone Proctor

The dancer gained fame as one of the originals on Don Cornelius’s classic Soul Train.

Tyrone "The Bone" Proctor, one of the last of the Waacking dance pioneers, passed away in his sleep on Saturday at his home in New York. Proctor rose to fame as one of the original dancers on the television classic Don Cornelius's Soul Train. Proctor was 66.

Proctor was a familiar face on Saturday mornings on Soul Train. It was on the show where he introduced the rest of the country to Waacking, a dancing style which had evolved in the gay Black and Latino underground club scene -- the performer has in fact been credited with coining the term "waacking" as the style had been previously called "punking" by some. He was personally chosen by Don Cornelius to perform in the 1973 when the show went on a stadium tour. Proctor and dance partner Sharon Hill later competed together in 1975 on American Band Stand where the pair won the dance competition. Proctor can be seen below in a later video teaching Waacking.

After moving to New York in the early 1980s, Proctor helped form the music group Breed of Motion which was produced by Strafe and house music icon Marshall Jefferson. Some refer to Proctor as the "Grandmother of Voguing" as he maintained a close working relationship with Willi Ninja (Willi was a member of Breed of Motion) and went on to train Archie Ninja, currently the Grandfather of that ballroom house, as well as others. He also trained Kumari Suraj, who is a much respected choreographer and dancer in the waacking genre.

In 1987 he appeared in and choreographed Jody Watley's music video for her song "Still a Thrill," in Paris. Many point to this as the first video that featured voguing, when in fact it was the waacking style. In 1988 he choreographed the first video to incoroprate voguing with Taylor Dane's "Tell It To My Heart."

He has been awarded life time achievement awards and been recognized as a "New York Legend of Hip Hop."

Proctor is remembered as a visionary dancer, demanding taskmaster, and warm and loyal friend.

Brandy Sanders remembers Proctor with "a heavy heart" and that "whenever I was sad or not feeling well, he would always call to check on me."

Jeffrey Daniel, the dancer, choreographer, and singer-songwriter best known as a founding member of the R&B group Shalamar, recalled how Proctor "touched so may people around the world with his talent and crazy sense of humor."

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