Thursday, September 2, 2010

What I Learnt In Dance Class

It makes no difference if you're black or white

If you're a boy or a girl
If the music's pumping it will give you new life
You're a superstar, yes, that's what you are, you know it
Beauty's where you find it
Not just where you bump and grind it
Soul is in the musical
That's where I feel so beautiful
Magical, life's a ball
So get up on the dance floor

So, my dance class adventure has come to a close- for now. I had a lot of fun, met some interesting people and learnt that it's not about being "the best" it's about having the most fun. Sounds like a cliche, I know but it's true. I'm not going to lie. I can move my body. I can wiggle,  pump my fists and flail with reckless abandonment. However following instruction- to a set beat- isn't my natural, all organic cup of tea. I get a little lost and a little flustered and the worst part is being that way when we are going two by two across the room with the rest of the class watching our every move.

It was then that I decided that I was not going to master the art of Funk Fusion in a night or 5 but I could master the art of having fun. So I did. I tried my best and every night I practice- still as awkward as the first time but I don't care. I'm still having fun even if it is just in the kitchen.

The first things we learnt were based on West African moves. There was a lot of getting down low, moving our booty and shimming. Just as I started to get that down we switched over to something I have never heard of before, Waaking and Voguing. Well snizzel wizzel if that wasn't right up my fierce, over dramatic alley.

The Waacking style of street dance can trace its roots back to gay and nightclub cultures. In the United States, at gay nightclubs, male performers dressed as women and performed to female songs on stage. Movements of the performers were so creative that it was only a matter of time before Waacking made its way into mainstream nightclubs, as a way of the dance floor and earned its approval amongst other sexualities, especially straight. Waacking is often wrongly considered a style of House Dance.

At the time Waacking was primarily a gay Black and Latino dance. Many people mistakenly believe that “Waacking” came from “Locking” because some of the movements are very similar. The Gay community is solely responsible for the creation of Waacking style of dance. Waacking and Locking do have some similarities but they are different dances.

A Waacking Battle

Vogue or "voguing" is a highly stylized, modern house dance, that evolved out of the Harlem ballroom dance scene. Vogue is characterized by model-like poses, inspired by Vogue (magazine), integrated with angular, linear and rigid arm, leg and body movements. The style of dance arose from Harlem ballrooms in the early 1930s. This dance style was originally called "performance" and evolved into the more intricate and illusory form that is now called "vogue".

Voguing has evolved since its beginning and continues to be developed further as an established dance form that is practiced in the gay ballroom scene and gay clubs in major cities throughout the United States—mainly New York, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Miami, Detroit and Chicago.

Traditionally, Old Way Vouge rules dictated that one rival must "pin" another to "chop" (i.e. win the contest). Pinning involved the trapping of an opponent so that they could not execute any movements while the adversary was still in motion and voguing (usually voguing with the arms and hands, i.e. "hand performance", while the opponent was "pinned" against the floor during "floor exercises" or against a wall).

The difference between “Waacking” and “Voguing” is “Waacking” became popular in the early 70’s on the West Coast. “Waacking” is mostly done to Disco Music. “Voguing” became popular in the late 70’s on the East Coast.”Voguing” is done to mostly House Music

Vouging vs. Waacking a simple sample put together in a pretty package

So ladies and gents, this is what I learnt at Dance Class. What do you think?

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