Friday, August 03, 2007

Seven shades of shift

Below lists some of the dances seen and sometimes tested in my musical youth.

The Orange crush. So called as it was seen and perfected by les Goths on the famous Cure in Orange performance, although to give it a name would be to imply some form and order on this uniquely anarchic directionless rumble. Participants stumble into each other with varying degrees of intensity, the influence of acid and speed evident. Attempts to recreate it among your own pseudo-goths in your local churchyard founder.

Horizon Man. Legs and arms go up and down and in and out in sync, but the dancer stays relatively rooted to the spot as it needs a fair level of concentration to perform. Found its peak expression at the time of late 80s rave unity when everything from Soul II Soul to hip-hop to Italo house to US house and techno was being chucked into the universal mix and the scenes had not splintered. As rehabilitated by Dizzee’s crew on a recent TV performance as a deliberate expression of Pussyole’s ravey unity vibes, which half-inches Rob Base’s It Takes Two for a reason.
See also the rave balancing act, where the splayed dancer looks as though he is trying to balance an invisible sack of potatoes on a set of weak forearms.

The breakbeat full cycle. Again, this shows a commitment to the dance, as arms will go round and round like a catherine wheel and legs will be working overtime. First manifested in hardcore rave before the breakbeat was freed from its chains and then continued to find expression in subsequent nutty genres – later hardcore, four-beat, hard house – where any funk is secondary to the all important repetitive bounce. Often the default ‘rave’ dance for new blood wishing to get in on a scene, but a good base from which to modify your moves.

The steppa. Again, has ubiquitous application across many genres – notably the big three of house, hip-hop and jungle – though it is not be confused with the more frenetic footwork militarisms of the latter’s soldiers. Essentially, this involves nodding one’s head along to the beat (archaic expression that), with varying degrees of exertion from the torso down. This ‘dance’ found its perfect partner with techstep. Can be cynically used to denote that you’re into the music when you’re just actually watching pretty people come past you.

The Om dub. As seen at Shaka and other dub reggae systems and carnival, the crowd exhibit a heightened blissout to the skankin vibes, effecting a minimal and sometimes motion-less dance. Its deceptive appearances can be cynically exploited by lazy multicultis too impatient to take the slow track to nirvana. Now seen in among the more switched on heads at d’step bashes.

The disco house shapeshifter. As employed by ‘the lads’ when pushing the boat by sticking on some dance music (just as likely via a CD at home than a club), the protagonists exhibit a desire to make their mark by lots of exaggerated funky motions, or “chucking some shapes” as it is called. Much of this is done with one eye on the pull, though one red bull too many and they can be unwittingly lost in their danse.

The Jerk. Perfect for syncopated garage riddims and the non-linear side of electronic house. Again this often betrays a disinterest in the role of the music per se at the nightclub and as such fits in perfectly with modern clubs where a lot more gak talk goes on.
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