Michael “Boogaloo Shrimp” Chambers is an American dancer and actor known for his role as “Turbo” in the 1984 film Breakin’ and the sequel Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo. In both movies he is credited as Boogaloo Shrimp, a name that remains linked to the Hollywood phase of popping, boogaloo, and robot dancing, as well as the freestyle art of b-boying. During the height of the popularity of those movies, Chambers, along with his Breakin’ co-star Adolfo “Shabba Doo” Quiñones and other dancers from the film, was prominently featured in the 1984 music video for Chaka Khan’s song “I Feel for You”.
Born in Wilmington, California, Chambers is the youngest of four. He grew up in a small town, but a community with a diverse mix of ethnic groups and cultures. Initially, he formulated his style of dance through his interest in fantasy and sci-fi television shows, including the work of Ray Harryhausen and other stop-motion experts. He credits his older brother with introducing him to the “moonwalk”, a move he would later perfect, and share with pop superstar Michael Jackson.
While still a teenager, Chambers’ older brother would take him to a local pier where he would perform his moves for money. He claims to have earned hundreds of dollars through his street performances. To solve the problem of anonymity, Chambers’ sister gave him a jacket that read “Mike aka Boogaloo Shrimp”, his street dancing name. Chambers’ dancing would increasingly draw the attention of promoters, and particularly Adolpho “Shabba Doo” Quinones, who was seeking to form a new dance troupe after the breakup of his previous group, The Lockers.
Chambers would also meet other popping/dance legends during this time, including Bruno “Poppin’ Taco” Falcon and Popin’ Pete. Falcon and Chambers would share ideas and styles, building upon their own individual foundations . Both would later be featured in videos and movies, including Breakin’.
Chambers got an early entrée into professional dancing through television commercials, followed by an appearance in the video for Lionel Richie’s All Night Long. In 1985, he co-starred in “Stop the Madness”, an anti-drug music video sponsored by the Reagan administration, featuring several famous musicians, actors and athletes. He also appeared in such films as Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult, Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey as a dancing robot, and in the 1999 film Dudley Do-Right. He also appeared as Urkel-Bot in two episodes, “Robo-Nerd” and Robo-Nerd II”, of Family Matters, and made a third appearance in the episode “Psycho Twins” as one half of a wrestling tag team.
Chambers was the announcer on the kid’s show Fun House from 1990 to 1991. In contrast to his style of dancing, he would dance while “rapping” the opening spiel at the start of the show. He appeared in Sugar Ray’s 1997 video of the song “Fly” and break danced in the video.