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Breakdancing duo from NYC returns to Festival of Fools

Published: Jul. 25, 2021 at 10:17 AM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - If you’ve been to New York City, you may have seen breakdancing duo Tyheem and Kareem Barnes, who are known on the streets of the Big Apple as “Tic and Tac.”

Tyheem is “Tic,” which stands for “Talented, Impressive and Creative” and Kareem is “Tac,” an acronym for “Top Audience Controller.”

For 30 years, they’ve been entertaining crowds on the streets and on some pretty big stages. And on Friday, they’re bringing their act to Burlington for the return of the Festival of Fools.

Tyheem and Kareem are 46-year-old twin brothers from the Bronx who entertain crowds in public spaces, which is officially known as “busking.”

Tic and Tac’s energetic, funny, athletic and bold breakdancing performances have been attracting large crowds to New York City’s Washington Square Park since they were 18 years old.

“If you’re a great busker, you definitely know how to interact with the audience,” Kareem said. “Making them laugh and everything and bringing them into the show and making them involved really takes the show to the next level. That’s why we love busking. I mean, we’ve worked all kinds of stages.”

Tic and Tac have performed on America’s Got Talent and Showtime at the Apollo. They’ve also toured with some big names in entertainment.

“We worked with Dave Chappelle and Whoopi Goldberg and Robin Williams,” they said. “We’ve toured with the Harlem Globetrotters, the New York Yankees, Alicia Keys. We did an off-Broadway play with Michael Buble.”

Tic and Tac say their goal is to entertain but also to challenge the idea that busking is amateur art, and prove that it takes hard work and dedication just like any other profession.

“They try to make it like a vagabond profession but we always showed them that, you know, as long as you command people’s attention, you can make it whatever you want to,” Kareem said.

Tic and Tac first performed at Burlington’s Festival of Fools in 2019. They say they’re thrilled to come back to the Queen City.

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