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Waacking emerged from Disco Music OF Gay nightclub culture OF late 1960s / 1970s in Los Angeles and was primarily Black and Latino Dance style. Blacks and Latinos had everything stripped away from them, their neighbourhoods were ghettos and What is they were fighting against this oppression. Going to club, socialising and celebrating their culture as a community is what give birth to many dance styles we recognise today. Lamont Patterson was one OF pioneers OF style, using his arms and hands to form swift movements to beat OF Disco sounds. Other club dancers including Tinker, Arther, Andrew, Lonnie Carbajal, Michael Angelo, Jody Watley, Archie Burnett, Billy Goodson, TYRONE PROCTOR, Danny Logo, Billie Starr and Shabba Doo also take centre stage, becoming the first generation OF Waackers. The TV show Soul Train gives Waacking platform, helping to increase its popularity. At the time, original term was Punking until Soul Train Dancer TYRONE PROCTOR coin term Waacking and Andrew coined the term Garbo, which related to posing seen in glamour magazines. Waacking develops over time, in reaction to change in music being played in clubs. In the early 70s, music was mainly funk, everyone was colourful, dancers felt funky in response to music and Punking and Locking had some crossovers because of this interpretation of music. As music broke out into Disco and Jazz, it influenced how dancers dress, it was smarter, more formal. Dance includes lots OF lines, poses and formality. The dancers danced more upright and had elegance about them. Waacking is stylistically influenced by animated characters in silent movies and also draws its influences from cartoons and martial arts films. Waacking is telling a story, it includes quick footwork, groove, fluid but powerful arm motions, often moving in circular pathways, and dramatic poses. The posture used in Waacking is almost like royalty; head hold high, confident, tall, expressive. As Waacking comes from the Gay scene, many OF Original Waackers pass away due to HIV, or, because of society and oppression and stereotypes at time, murder. Therefore, style did not get pass down and popularity faded during the 80s / 90s. Brian Footwork Green, however, began teaching in New York in the early 2000s and encouraged other elderly to do so. This allows the next generation of dancers to learn and pass down style, bringing and keeping art form alive. This is perhaps why, unlike most other Street Dance styles, Waacking doesnt have such set foundation movements which we recognise and teach by name!
In the early 1970s, a dance style known as posing or Punking emerge, with Punk being a derogatory term for gay men at the time. Term whack was a specific movement within the Punking style which involves moving arms over head in a rhythmic fashion. Although the heterosexual dance community take part in Punking, they do not want to associate themselves with negative connotations of name and therefore rename dance genre waackin. Later, Jeffery Daniel add g to waackin to make it Waacking, name by which style is commonly known today. The Originators of Waacking were said to have Dance to underground and imported Disco Music, which was often speeded up to create a more energetic atmosphere on the dance floor. Style remained largely underground until it became popularized by the American Music-Dance television program Soul Train and influenced the creation of Outrageous Waacking Dancers, Los Angeles-base Waacking Dance group. Waacking gained renewed attention through the American TV series So You Think You Can Dance in 2011 when the dance routine was choreographed by Kumari Suraj. Over time, the dance style has received growing recognition and has been incorporated by dance programs such as the Department for Theatre and Dance at University of South Carolina.
As with many other street dance styles that emerged from late 20th century, Waacking picked up various influences from other forms of movement and dance, such as jazz, gymnastics and martial arts. Its visual similarities with Dance style Locking can be attributed to the fact that both styles were developed around the same period of time in the Los Angeles Club Scene. The main differences lie within communities that create these dances, where Waacking was created mainly in LGBT clubs, Locking was created by wider Club-going community. Furthermore, music of two styles differs, in which Waacking uses Disco and Locking uses funk music. Another big influence for Waacking was Hollywood, in which dancers take inspiration stylistically from movie stars such as Lauren Bacall, Marlene Dietrich, Bette Davis and James Dean. In modern pop culture, style of dance is famously likened to the movements of character Garnet in the cartoon show Steven Universe as the catalyst for many of her magical powers, including summoning magical weapons and fusing with other characters.
Tyrone Proctor, pioneer of the Waacking style and co-founder of Imperial House of Waacking, along with Jody Watley, are the mother and father of the style, both from 1970s dance group Outrageous Waack Dancers. Responsible for the re-birth of Waacking are Waack King Aus, Duchess Lockeroo and Duchess Black Kat. Kumari Suraj was part of the Waacking Tour organised by B-Better in 2009 to bring dance style to the UK in a nationwide movement touring all major cities. If youre confused as to why everyone in Imperial House of Waacking has royal names, it comes from dancers following the same structure as House Dance International. Our judge, Lady Venus, has Train in Waacking in New York with some of the original Waackers and original Soul Train Dancers, including Tyrone Proctor and Archie Burnett. She has also Train and performed with LA Waackers in Los Angeles for We Are Heroes, on show Americas Best Dance Crew. She is a prominent member of the UKs pioneering first Waacking Crew, Waacktitioners.
Waackingas movement quality mirrors music with groovy movement quality paired with its jazzy dramatic silent movie flow. In contrast, voguing tends to be more pedestrian with different types of walks due to its relation to runway and has more variations in intensity. Both styles utilize posing, but flows and shapes are bit different. Waacking uses poses as breaks in movement that can either be full intense stop or one that oozes with drama. Voguing can use poses in the same way, but they tend to be execute one after each other to syncopate beats in music as if posing for pictures. Also, Vogue Dancers try to take awkward shapes and use their flexibility to make them beautiful. Most significantly, details of their foundational techniques are different. Waacking has its iconic awaacka and Voguing has its variations of hand performances.
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