How Jennifer Beals helped launch ‘Crazy Legs’ Colón to break-dancing stardom

It’s pretty hard to recognize Bronx-born break-dancing god Richard “Crazy Legs” Colón — president of the legendary Rock Steady Crew — during one of the biggest moments of his career.

That’s because he’s disguised as a back-spinning body double for star Jennifer Beals in the climactic audition scene of the 1983 hit “Flashdance.” After Beals’ female dance doubles couldn’t master the move that he attempted to teach them, then-16-year-old Crazy Legs stepped up. “Which meant me dressing in leotards, tights, Capezios, wearing a wig,” he tells The Post.

“The most devastating thing was they wanted me to shave my peach fuzz that was first growing in, and I’m like, ‘Yo, you’re asking me to shave these hairs I was waiting for!’”

But you won’t have any trouble making out Crazy Legs, now 52, when the Hispanic Heritage Awards ceremony airs on PBS on Friday. The Puerto Rican B-boy was honored at the event, held Sept. 12 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, with a Heritage Award for Culture for his trailblazing moves.

What a feeling, indeed.

It’s been 41 years since Crazy Legs discovered what was known simply as “breaking” in the nascent years of hip-hop, when he saw his oldest brother, Robert Colón, doing it. “I didn’t understand why my brother was throwing himself on the floor and embarrassing my family in front of our home,” says Crazy Legs, who was living with his mother and four other siblings in The Bronx.

But a year later, he was changing his tune. “My cousin Lenny Len brought me to a jam on 180th Street and Crotona Avenue, and it was the first time I had witnessed what eventually became known as hip-hop. I was blown away. I felt like I came to life on that day.”

‘I didn’t understand why my brother was throwing himself on the floor and embarrassing my family in front of our home.’

Crazy Legs began practicing — and perfecting — breaking moves such as the back spin, the swipe and the W, pushing them to new levels of difficulty. He joined the then-2-year-old Rock Steady Crew in 1979, when he was only 12. “The retirement age for a B-boy” — which, he explains, originally stood for “Bronx boy” — “was 16 to 17 years old back then. This was a kids’ thing.”

After moving to Inwood with his family, Crazy Legs earned his name while attending JHS 52. “There was this girl who was captain of the cheerleaders,” he says. “After school, she’s looking at me practice doing my thing, and she goes, ‘Ooh, he got some crazy legs!’ And the cheerleaders started calling me Crazy Legs.”

Meanwhile, his reputation on the streets was growing. “It got to a point where people would hear about me, or I would hear about them, and I would find them to battle,” he says. “And I’d smoke them.”

The Rock Steady Crew — which Crazy Legs has been president of since 1981 — also gained more notoriety, performing in New York hot spots such as Negril, Danceteria and the Roxy. Then came appearances in movies including “Flashdance,” “Wild Style,” also from 1983, and 1984’s “Beat Street.”

They even went on to bust their moves for the Queen of England. “We were like these little rock stars,” Crazy Legs says.

But later in the ’80s, he says, “things started tapering off. Now certain people are considering the dancing stuff passé. One moment you’re being [let] through those velvet ropes and the next thing you know you’re being told to hit the back of the line at a club that you helped to make famous.”

But after struggling for a few years, Crazy Legs decided to start using his talent to help kids, through dance and hip-hop, at the Point Community Development Corporation in The Bronx. More recently, he’s used his platform to benefit Puerto Rico — where he has a home — helping with the relief effort after Hurricane Maria.

While he retired from competition two years ago, Crazy Legs — who now lives in Hudson County, NJ, with his girlfriend of 16 years and has a 21-year-old son who is a senior at Cornell University — continues to teach break dancing around the world. “I’m still involved with the art, man,” he says.

But as far as those legendary moves go, he says, “I gotta keep it cute where I [won’t] get hurt.”

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