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Kicking off the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, party people from every background, color, and age descended upon the Motor City Tent on DC's National Mall on June 30th, for a fun-filled ride on “the hippest trip in America”, the Sooooooooul Train!, in celebration of its final destination stop: the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture.

Soul Train fans were treated to listen to a lively panel of celebrities who discussed how the show impacted their lives personally and musically, the importance of the show’s place in pop culture, and the excitement of how many more from the Soul Train generation and beyond, will be moved to smile, reminisce and pay homage when the memorabilia becomes available for exhibit in 2015. The panel, moderated by museum curator, Tuliza Fleming (who donned the appropriate large Afro wig for the occasion), included Kenard Gibbs - CEO of Soul Train Holdings, Tony Cornelius - President of Akabueze Productions and son of Soul Train founder, Don Cornelius; Nicholas "NickFRESH" Puzo - DJ, producer and founder of SoulTrainFans, Tyrone “The Bone” Proctor – choreographer and original Soul Train dancer, and Questlove – DJ, producer and drummer for the Grammy-award winning, Hip-Hop/Neo Soul group, The Roots, who also served as host of the Dance Party.

After the discussion wrapped, former Soul Train dancer, Tyrone Proctor – a youthful 61 years of age - who still has the looks and the smooth moves to match, called out to the bravest of party people to bring it down in front where it all mattered the most - to the dance floor! There, he gave basic instructions to some of the funkiest dance moves from the show, and encouraged the crowd to shake their rumps to the Funk and follow him as he demonstrated, The Breakdown, Funky Chicken, The Bump, Loose Booty and The Robot, while Questlove rocked the house with classic ‘70s and ‘80s Funk, Hip Hop and R&B. After that, Tyrone brought down the house, performing the dance moves he made famous on Soul Train, called Wacking. And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, or the screams couldn’t get any louder, he brought out an amazing troupe of young dancers called the Urban Artistry Dancers, who continued to set fire to the stage with their creative versions of Wacking and Pop Locking, made famous by Soul Train dancers, The Lockers.

But the highlight of the evening that will remained etched in every mind in attendance, was when he had the crowd form the classic Soul Train Line (probably the largest and most diverse, ever) and style a while to the O'Jay's hit, "Love Train" and Aretha Franklin’s, “Rock Steady”. As the Soul Train’s former conductor, Don Cornelius would say, “you can bet your last money it was a stone gas, honey!”

The Folklife Festival's celebration of R&B ran from July 7 through July 11.

About the Writer
Holly Fountain is a music and concert enthusiast and an avid collector of vinyl and CD’s from the 60’s and '70s. In her spare time, she enjoys writing concert reviews in her own entertaining and unconventional style.

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