House Dancer

April 19, 2013 by Katzendame

Underground culture is often times hard to document. Toes are stepped on, memories differ, and people are offended or forgotten. There is also the problem that dances, even the established and recognized forms like ballet, are notoriously hard to accurately archive.  The sooner people start writing, filming, and talking about their experiences and spreading the knowledge, the more likely we will be able safeguard our dance heritage for the generations to come.  This is especially true of a relatively new dance form like house dancing.

Byron Cox dancer

Byron Cox of housedancer.com

I was recently delighted to find a fantastic source for house dancing called housedancer.com. It seems like they are located in New York, but they have videos from dance workshops and festivals all over the world.  Fortunately for us, they are chipping away at providing information about the history of house dance, sub-categories of the genre, and prominent innovators of the dance form.  I’m still confused about exactly what lofting, jacking, and stomping are but at least people are starting the process of defining these styles.  This post lists significant contributors to house dance, and an interesting comment by someone who as an originator of lofting, is offended that he is left out! I hope this type of dialogue doesn’t deter the writers because now I want to find out more about the offendee and his history!

Chicago The Warehouse

The Warehouse in Chicago – the birth place of house music

I don’t think there will ever be definitive answers regarding the history of house dancing, after all there are differing opinions on where the term house music comes from in the first place.  The Warehouse night club in Chicago?  Music that you would play at your house?  I kind of think it’s more likely the first one, but it just goes to show that sometimes there is more than one meaning and maybe the truth is somewhere in the middle. Another thing about club and street styles of dancing that makes them hard to codify is that by nature they are free style and have to do with personal spontaneous expression. I’ve never seen two waackers waack the same way, that’s for sure!

To find out more about the dancers and choreographers contributing to housedancer.com, check out their House Dance Project page. You can also see videos of dancing and interviews and find out more about their mission as ambassadors of house dance. I truly believe that much of the innovation and breakthroughs in dance come from the streets and the discotheques. Thanks guys for all your hard work and gorgeous dancing and sharing it all with the world!


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