When I first climbed aboard the Soul Train, I immediately clicked and bonded with several of the dancers. One of the dancers was a guy named Jeff Allen, whose younger brother, Jason “Flex” Allen, was one of the popular regulars on the show. I clicked with the two of them and I am friends with the Allen family to this day.
Jason studied and watched Michael Jackson’s dance moves as a child and eventually used what he learned to cultivate his own style. He was a very flexible and acrobatic dancer, doing flips, back flips and a lot of popping, robotic type moves. One of his signature moves was what I call “Stop Motion Animated Rhythm.” He would often go down the Soul Train line popping in stop motion and ticking techniques, which were intriguing and entertaining to watch. That style of dancing indeed influenced me, as I, too, incorporate ticking and stop motion in my robotic moves.
Jason was not only an energetic acrobatic dancer but also very physical, and his dancing eventually caught the eye of entertainers. He went out on the road and performed as a backup dancer with big name acts such as TLC, Christina Aguilera, P. Diddy and After Dark.
A member of L.A. Workout, Jason was often shirtless when he danced on Soul Train, showing off his muscular abs–eye candy for a lot of the girls on the show as well as those who watched the show on television. I recall one time a group of us went to In-and-Out Burger on Sunset Boulevard after a taping and it was chilly outside, but Jason stepped out of the car and into the restaurant with no shirt on, giving the waitresses at the counter an eyeful of his muscular upper torso.
Jason was a warm, friendly person who enjoyed life and loved dancing and performing and he had a smile that was infectious that touched the hearts of all he came in contact with. He sadly passed away on February 2, 2003 at the age of 23. The other dancers and I were very saddened to hear the news of our friend and fellow Soul Train colleague. A taping came up a few weeks after his passing and many of the dancers were going to wear shirts with his likeness and in his memory but for some reason, a higher up on the show decided against it.
Nevertheless, Jason will always be remembered by the Millennium Soul Train Gang as a kind, fun, playful and talented person. May the spirit of my dear friend continue to dance on and on for eternity.
Stephen McMillian is a journalist, writer, actor, filmmaker, former Soul Train dancer, Soul Train historian and soul music and movie historian.