“If you don’t understand the music, you will never understand the dance.” Tyrone Proctor, founding father of modern waacking
The two dance styles I am focusing on today will certainly raise some eyebrows. It would be a misnomer to call them “emerging dance styles” since they have been in existence since the 1970s and 80s. It is more accurate to say that these dance styles are less mainstream but are certainly gaining in popularity and exposure. What styles am I talking about? Why, waacking and voguing of course.
Waacking and voguing both fall under the “urban” or “street” dance genres. Waacking began in the 1970s on the West Coast, more specifically in Los Angeles. It can be recognized by it’s wild yet controled arm movements and posing. Waacking incorporates arm movements, footwork, and elements of drama as well as the dancer’s personal and unique style. There is also a wonderful aspect of musicality because the dancers are specifically tailoring their movements to the beats and the rhythm of the song.
Voguing, while very similar to waacking, began on the East Coast and became popular in the 80s. This dance emerged from the Harlem ballroom scene (and I am not talking about the waltz). Voguing is characterized by model-like poses integrated with angular, linear, and rigid arm, leg, and body movements. In its original form, it served as a non-aggressive battle between two feuding individuals. Just in case you were wondering, the term voguing was influenced by the poses models often take when gracing the pages of fashions magazines, like Vogue.
The video I am highlighting today is a mix of mainly voguing and waacking. It’s a routine from the urban dance company Werkaholics. As the About page on their website states, Werkaholics occupies the space between art, fashion, dance, and theater. I chose this particular video because above everything else, it is fun to watch. Each dancer has their own personality and sass. The dancer is the green is SO sassy and one of my favorite moments in the video is around 1:40 when he shows off some of his attitude. There are many other great moment including every time the dancer with the long blonde hair breaks it down.
That is my brief introduction and history of waacking and voguing. As a side note, please feel free to let me know if there are other dance styles you would like me to highlight. Thanks and enjoy!