Tag Archives: emotional aggregates

Teach Me How to Boogie #4: “Teach Me How to Dougie,” by California Swag District

by Chris Randle

In the first installment of TEACH ME HOW TO BOOGIE, I talked to my friend Amelia Ehrhardt about bounce music and the moves that go with it. She’s still studying dance at York University. Today’s very special edition of the series is about a single song, the nation-sweeping jerkin’ anthem “Teach Me How to Dougie,” and its titular dance craze (see above). Or at least that was the plan. My long Gchat conversation with Amelia wandered off on various tangents again – all about the same subject, this time. I condensed three hours of instant messages into this discussion. Welcome to Dougie 101.

Amelia: I just watched this:

Chris: I was going to ask if you wanted to know more about that track, or The Jerkin’ Movement in general, but it seems like you’ve already done the research!

Amelia: Background research

Amelia: It’s funny background research, via wikipedia youtube and urbandictionary

Chris: Did you have to look up “redbone”?

Amelia: What is that? I haven’t heard it yet

Chris: That may only be in the dirty version of the track (so not that first music video) – one of the guys says he’s going to find a “thick redbone” http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Red%20Bone

Amelia: hahahaha

Amelia: “The fundamental thing, first of all, is jerking. Jerking is the main thing you gotta know, to jerk.”

Chris: It’s almost Zen

Chris: Here’s another favourite jerkin’ track from 2010:

Chris: “my iPod got the Bangz like it’s wearing a wig”

Amelia: Holy shit this is awesome

Amelia: Have you seen any of fzcentral’s videos?

Chris: No, are they dougie-related?

Amelia: Seem to be

Chris: You’ve probably figured this out by now, but the main membership/audience of jerkin’ is teenager skaters from L.A.

Amelia:

Amelia: I think fzcentral is more focused on jerkin…Can I say that?

Amelia: So let me get this trajectory – dougie is like a subcategory of jerkin’

Chris: Or a subset – or just a jerkin’ track married to a dance craze

Amelia: OK

Chris: The beat of a jerkin’ song is typically minimalist, and I think the one on “Teach Me How to Dougie” may actually be “live percussion” presets from some audio program.

Amelia: Cowbell apparently

Chris: Yeah

Amelia: I’m watching a bunch of tutorials about how to boogie

Amelia: I mean, dougie

Amelia: Hahaha!

Chris: Although the California Swag District have been mildly controversial, because I guess they’re the equivalent of a boy band?

Chris: They all have names like C-Smoove

Amelia: How long has the dougie been like an officially recognized dance?

Chris: Since 2009, at least

Amelia: Jesus this happens so fast

Chris: There’s a song by Wes Nyle called “Dougie”

Chris: Personally I don’t really care if the group was created by an A&R guy in Burbank, because c’mon: “This beat was bubblegum/So I had to chew it.”

Chris: (Not sure if there are any A&R guys in Burbank)

Amelia: I’m sort of doing 3 Gchats at the same time right now, and I showed a couple of these videos to Jon and some of what we are now talking about is really relevant to this – just about how quickly this stuff develops

Amelia: Second time this has hit me – I was thinking about it last time I was talking to you about this.

Amelia: Things are codified so quickly; ballet took 100 years to develop 5 foot positions, now whole subcategories pop up in what – a year?

Amelia: Like, the system of academic dance I studied when I was young, if the syllabus needed to be changed it took a DECADE

Amelia: Not to be like wow it’s 2010 the future is now and boy it’s fast

Amelia: but shit

Chris: I think teenpop like “Teach Me How to Boogie” moves especially fast

Chris: Back when Soulja Boy first blew up someone presented an EMP paper suggesting that “microcareers” like his would become normal – though Souljerrrr is still hanging in there, possibly through sheer weirdness.

Chris: One of his mixtapes this year was named after an anime series

Amelia: Well they were right weren’t they? Microcareers are kind of normal now

Amelia: It’s funny – this video

at 2:37 there’s a section of arm stuff and Jon was like “is that contemporary dance” (joking) but what’s interesting is that yes, it is

Amelia: Most contemporary dance classes I’ve been to have wiggly arm stuff

Amelia: I think maybe that’s the technical term? Anyway it’s all hip hop, jerkin, tipping, etc.

Amelia: also how much of it gets appropriated by drag

Amelia: That’s the other thing – how quickly it develops means that it gets subverted really quickly too. It’s hard to tell where it starts/finishes

Chris: Is it? I’ve never seen a drag show

Amelia: God it’s amazing, I saw this weird piece a couple months ago, trying to find the choreographer’s names now

Amelia: ILL NANNA / DiverseCity Dance Company

Amelia: All men, and half of it was pretty straight hip hop…hoods, jeans

Amelia: You know – they broke free! took off their hoods!

Amelia: Then they were all in heels and lingerie, doing all the feminized versions of the same dances.

Amelia: What’s the one form – is it rockin? – I can’t remember

Amelia: Anyway it has a whole other version that is the “women’s” style, which is so interesting, in all the development of western dance and trying to gender-neutralize everything, contact improvisation, women doing the lifts, Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake

Amelia: and ultimately, people making dances still seem to want men and women to have different styles of dancing

Chris: Jerk kids can get pretty flamboyant themselves! Neon swag.

Chris: What you’re talking about kinda reminds me of something Maura Johnston wrote this week, about the gendered nature of proposal rituals: http://www.theawl.com/2010/11/why-the-ads-for-christmas-engagement-rings-make-me-uncomfortable

Amelia: man thank god someone wrote this

Amelia: “But all these ads are doing for me, a red-blooded American female, is solidifying my belief that that I never want someone in a relationship with me to feel like they have to ‘propose.'”

Chris: Maura writes really well about issues like that

Amelia: This is the second time I’ve started thinking a lot about gender while talking to you about these videos

Amelia: Maybe I just think about gender a lot, but I think it’s also pretty inescapable to have to think about gender in a form made on bodies

Amelia: Someone once said to me that you can’t make a dance on a man and a woman and not have it be about sex, a non-dancer/dance scholar – I was so irate

Amelia: Like, who are you to say what dance can and can’t be about? I still don’t agree, but I sort of see the logic behind it

Amelia: Because to an extent yes, if you are looking at work for representation, chances are you are going to try and have it represent something familiar to you…And I wouldn’t say that contemporary western theatrical dance is entirely trying to escape the fact or deny the fact that dance can be, tends to be, has a strong predisposition to be sexualized

Amelia: However I do think the form tries to work against that as much as possible – I mean, I don’t necessarily see sex when I see a man/woman pairing. But maybe I’ve been around bodies in that sense enough that I’m desensitized to it.

Amelia: Not in the same way that “all western people are now desensitized towards overt sexual imagery,” because I don’t think that changes our relationship to sex, but I do think that having to look at bodies abstractly – like, okay, what if my leg is an extended line and not the the part of my body that is attached to my crotch – leads to a certain disambiguation between bodies <-> sex.

Chris: I was going to say, why would a dance necessarily be about sex at a certain level of abstraction?

Amelia: I don’t think it would be, but I think there is a certain amount that people will take from it.

[Chris’ router stops working yet again]

Chris: If my internet connection was always about sex it would be bad, unsatisfying sex

Amelia: I would have left by now

Chris: no scrubz

Chris: Hah, that reminds me – have I told you about Pink Dollaz? http://passionweiss.com/2010/07/28/the-return-of-pink-dollaz/

Chris: all-girl jerk crew

Amelia: Is jerk something else that has a male-female version? Research I should have done

Chris: Pertinent quote: “Gets none from me so get your magic lotion / Drop you like a lost little puppy in the open”

Amelia: hahahahaha

Chris: Also, they have a song about making boys eat you out.

Chris: (at first I heard it as “lost little puppy in the ocean”)

Amelia: I mean, as great as it is to have a counter to songs basically glorifying rape, I still find this to be a bit of a Sex and the City version of feminism

Chris: Which rape-glorifying songs are you referring to?

Amelia: I can’t think of one off the top of my head – but a friend just posted lyrics the other day. I am exaggerating slightly, but I have definitely heard songs at LEAST about blow jobs

Chris: What I really like about Pink Dollaz is…how organic they are? They’re these high school friends who began recording songs about sex and Beyonce-style financial independence

Chris: And while a fair number of jerkin’ tracks are basically good-natured songs about fucking, theirs are the most aggressive I’ve heard.

Amelia: “good natured songs about fucking”

Amelia: I kind of love that

Amelia: don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with it

Chris: I actually wasn’t sure how to respond to your misgivings because I’ve never seen Sex and the City

Amelia: oh haha

Amelia: Well, I have a problem with Sex and the City-brand feminism

Amelia: I like this group – this one you just showed me – but it does seem close

Chris: There are huge racial/class differences between the two, though

Amelia: Well, of course

Amelia: But what do you mean by that? Does it make it any better to have “female rap” be about expensive bags and blow jobs if it’s a “racial/class difference”?

Amelia: What I mean is – that’s not the only thing that is “a female experience”

Amelia: and I have a problem with media/literature/etc that suggests this

Chris: I do think that saying “I pay my own bills” is more meaningful in one context, but that’s a good question

Chris: Yesterday I read this depressing New York Times trend piece about affluent, successful, ambitious women whose lower-earning male partners felt subtly emasculated or some shit

Amelia: exactly (which is bullshit)

Chris: or who couldn’t find a date at all because their male peers are interested in secretaries and nurses

Chris: though given our respective careers I doubt either of us will run into that dilemma! ha ha ha

Amelia: Have you heard of He’s Just Not That Into You?

Chris: yeah, I’ve heard of it

Amelia: It breaks women down into several categories of Women Who Don’t Get Second Dates Because Of The Following Female Problems

Amelia: one of them is a woman who is too into her career and too successful

Amelia: it suggests you tame it down if you want to get a guy to like you

Chris: “whenever a woman offers to pay for drinks my mind flashes to a primal castration scene”

Amelia: What’s that from?

Chris: a chris randle original joke, 2010

Amelia: ha ha ha

Chris: Detouring back to matters dougie-related – when you study dance in university, do they talk about how dance crazes like that can suddenly emerge from jerkin’ or another scene?

Amelia: No – “social” dance isn’t really studied in the university on that level, at least not in Toronto/Canada to my knowledge. I mean, I guess there’s some variety; this semester I had to take a course called The Canadian Dance Mosaic

Amelia: Lemme pull up the description

Amelia: “Examines dance as a human phenomenon that both reflects and shapes culture. Through readings, films, lectures, discussions and guest artists, students are introduced to a variety of dance forms from different traditions represented in Canadian society. The course examines the place of dance in its own cultural setting as well as approaching issues facing dance in Canada as a multi-ethnic society. ”

Amelia: It did that fairly successfully

Chris: That seems like a big oversight! But the emergence of new youth memes probably isn’t studied enough in general.

Amelia: It isn’t

Amelia: But what this course kind of tried to do was “level the playing field” and look at all dance forms as equal not ballet > everything else “world dance” etc.

Amelia: It makes the argument that calling other forms “folk” or “social” (vs like, formal/art dance) degrades them.

Amelia: Anyway the course kind of sucked, but I do think that kind of dialogue needs to happen, ideally before third-year university. Especially if we want to make dance relevant

Amelia: HELLO! Here it is, dance is relevant and happening in people’s lives

Amelia: Why aren’t we talking about it? Here is dance! The people are dancing, it is happening in front of you and we won’t put it in a university

Amelia: Hip hop and other arguably ACTUAL contemporary dance forms don’t go to university

Amelia: There’s a variety of reasons behind all of this, but why not start studying, at least on a theoretical level, the fact that people seem to be dancing and dancing with each other again?

Amelia: You can learn how to do this on Youtube for chrissakes, I don’t know if dance has ever BEEN more accessible.

Chris: I love that the California Swag District music video shows this diverse multitude of all races, assembled to learn the Way of the Dougie

Chris: I even love the NAME “California Swag District” – it sounds like a faction in some post-apocalyptic dystopia, or a separatist enclave. That’s a good look.

Amelia: fashion blog

Amelia: So where the hell does the name dougie come from

Amelia: and also until I watched the video I kind of assumed for some reason it was pronounced “doogie” maybe because of “teach me how to BOOgie”

Chris: I have no idea where the name originally came from

Chris: Would it be too much to dream that the Dougie is also a person?

Chris: a Swag Elemental

Amelia: Father of Swag

Chris: This appeared in Google Reader the other day:

Two memes in one!

Amelia: hahahaha!

Amelia: Okay I have to write a stupid paper for a stupid class I don’t care about

Chris: Okay

Chris: There’s one last clip I should show you

Chris: It’s…arresting, if nothing else

Amelia: ha

Chris: http://gawker.com/5689212/wolf-blitzer-taught-how-to-dougie

Chris: Maybe that’s the best way to measure when a teen dance craze has reached mass awareness: middle-aged TV anchors awkwardly doing the moves.

Amelia: Ha, hilariously I’m being made to sit through a 15-second Diane von Furstenberg sunglasses ad using knockoff SATC background music featuring a real Carrie Bradshaw type getting into a Manhattan cab

Amelia: It’s like the twist

Amelia: THIS IS THE BEST

Amelia: I think York Dance wants me to say something about the equalizing qualities of dance, universal language etc., but whatever that’s kind of not worth talking about, I mean, I can’t describe it any better than that video shows it

Amelia: Dance, it’s like so beautiful or something

Chris: I’ve never liked Wolf Blitzer more than I did watching that clip

Chris: Or liked him at all, really

Amelia: See? Beautiful.

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Filed under chris randle, dance, music

Towering Tongue

by Chris Randle

Last month in this space, Carl wondered what it means to be avant-garde, still. One idea of it hinges on identifiable harshness, dissonance, “difficulty,” even alienation: a dance to metal machine music. Must the new always shock? Maybe it can be gently instructional instead. Misha Glouberman (best known as the cleverly flustered host of local lecture series Trampoline Hall) has been testing just that with a loose, long-running series called Terrible Noises for Beautiful People. These events typically involve amateur non-musicians improvising vocal sounds together, in structures that range from John Zorn’s Cobra game to ones of Misha’s own design. This week’s noisemaking was a rehearsal of sorts for upcoming performances at a vertiginous art-edifice called the Sound Tower. (“If you’re afraid of heights, as I am, 80 feet is tall.”) Whether straight jazz or the uncategorizable, I’d listened to a lot of music employing improvisation without knowing much about the theory of it. I still don’t. My first time as a non-spectator was all practice, mortifying and then finally elating.

Misha is bearish yet friendly, in the manner of a slightly absentminded professor. His introduction sounded a bit like the opening of an old-school role-playing game: “Imagine you’ve come to a tower.” It worked a bit like one, too. Again and again he sketched out the course of an exercise before gradually removing its guide rails. Our initial task was to wander around the room improvising “angry” sounds and motions – fine by me for several reasons, like how I’d woken up that morning to find my bathroom door nailed shut. At first Misha rang a bell to pause and restart our gesticulations, but his influence slowly faded until we were improvising moments of stasis by mass consensus too. Once he raised the instrument, froze, and lowered it with a stage scowl.

A string of “fighting forms,” formal outlines for free-flowing arguments, grew increasingly complex as we barked at each other. (“Everybody’s a genius improviser when they’re fighting.”) We paired off at random, one person “conducting” their partner’s sounds with motions that no professional would ever use. The experimentation culminated in an unorthodox orchestra. Everyone arranged themselves into a descending spiral (or an ascending one, depending on your vantage point); Misha sent various noises rippling through it, but on the way they were modulated in pitch, loudness and length until they became unrecognizable. I heard an unusually intense variation on those fake “forest soundscapes” dominated by hisses and shushes. I listened with eyes shut while participants strained to make the fastest and briefest sounds possible, as if they were demented beboppers. I balanced on a chair and joined the concentric choir in mutilating vowels, droning “I-I-I-I” and “U-U-U-U” like a skipping John Ashbery audiobook.

Was this avant-garde? It certainly felt uncomfortable at first, which is one way of answering “yes.” Compulsively slapping yourself or babbling wordless nonsense is what movie lunatics do. As the evening wound on, though, the universal humiliation had an ice-smashing effect. It was a mixed crowd, which fit the neighbourhood, and the bulk of that crowd was affable middle-aged people in sandals who looked like they might have signed up on a whim. Describing the event to our overseer, one lady said “you’re in both places at once,” simultaneously spectator and performer. I think that’s more radical than any of us realized at the time. The mercurial cacophony reminds me of what one character says about glossolalia in The Invisibles: “Everyone hears what they need to hear. The unconscious speaking directly to the unconscious. What kind of world might we make where such a language would be the common tongue?” But we never climbed very far up that tower and away from more practical matters. When I left an hour early, Misha was fielding ideas for a quieter “VOWEL” sign.

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Filed under chris randle, events, music, other

Teach Me How to Boogie #1: Bounce

by Chris Randle

Part of my excitement over this blog’s inception came from the possibility of writing about unfamiliar subjects, topics that nobody would pay a rube to opine on. One that I had in mind was dance, a medium I know almost nothing about, including how to do it very well. So I’m starting TEACH ME HOW TO BOOGIE, an ongoing and irregular series exploring its many permutations: European folk styles, regional dance rap hits, the footwork recorded on myriad dancefloors. Sometimes I’ll just post a clip and write about it; sometimes there will be extended discussions of a particular form or phenomenon with people who know how to move. There may eventually be video demonstrations if Margaux has the time and I have the excess dignity. Please welcome, then, Amelia Ehrhardt (real name), a student in York University’s dance program. We talked about bounce, breakdancing and several tangents on Gchat before I condensed the resulting massive chatlog into this.

Chris: OK, so, the first (sub)genre I had in mind is bounce, a regional music/dance style from New Orleans – let’s see how that goes?

Chris: Here’s my first clip:

Amelia: Holy shit this is amazing

Amelia: What is it exactly you want me to talk about?

Chris: Anything, really – one notable thing about bounce is that almost all such beats are based on samples from a handful of songs

Chris: Which appeals to me since I was the kind of dorky teenager who tried to write sestina poems. Formal constraints!

Amelia: Well I guess the first thing I’m noticing is of course choreography – hard to escape as a dancer – it’s really footwork heavy and they use a lot of gesture.

Amelia: I mean there’s also some pretty “classical” elements of hip hop, there’s popping and locking – footwork too is a mainstay of breaking/hip hop. Formal constraints, totally.

Chris: Is that kind of dancing studied in the academy at all now?

Amelia: Hip-hop? Depending where you go. There is only one program in Ontario, maybe Canada, where hip-hop is on the curriculum, it’s at George Brown, the commercial dance program.

Amelia: What I find interesting about the formal constraints thing in hip-hop is how quickly they change. I mean, it’s pretty much a given for a form like this one, firstly it’s contemporary and surprise, contemporary humans get bored fast

Amelia: But in other dance forms change tends to be reeeealllyyyy slow, like, classical ballet has been around for a little over 200 years and it took maybe  fifty years for it to even come to any sort of format, as in, for it to really peak

Amelia: And come up with a system that was like THIS IS THE WAY WE WILL ALWAYS DO CLASSICAL BALLET

Amelia: Of course that got changed, but formatting changes faster than technique and I think hip-hop is the only form I know of where technique seems to evolve faster than format.

Chris: The level of social acceptance seems to vary as well – people still freak out about grinding or daggering, but even when it was relatively new breakdancing was endorsed by the Reagan Administration.

Amelia: Well breakdancing is pretty nonsexual

Chris: I once saw an unintentionally hilarious old editorial from National Review where they talked about how wholesome it was

Amelia: Hahaha

Amelia: …Just watching this clip again, I am finding it interesting how…cartoonish they are

Amelia: It seems to be a lot more caricature-based than a lot of hip-hop I have seen

Chris: In a very self-aware way, I think

Amelia: Yes exactly, it is self-aware…Usually every hip-hop dancer has an extremely individual form, but this seems more than just individuality, it’s like a hyper-performative version of themselves.

Amelia: Ha ha, the song just went “na na na na na, FUCK YOU”

Chris: Even the invective or disses in bounce songs seem to be intentionally over-the-top

Chris: I was reading through this earlier: http://www.wheretheyatnola.com

Amelia: “[Mama’s Hurtin’] comes from a friend. One of our friends, she lost a baby. We was like, ‘Wow, I can’t imagine.’ We just took it and put it into our own feelings. You know what I’m saying? We just put ourself in her shoes. We were just only speaking from the heart. That is what ‘Mama’s Hurtin’ is about.”

Amelia: People never talk about their art that honestly

Amelia: I don’t want to get all The Other about this but truly, I can’t remember the last time I read an artistic statement or interview that was just like “I felt X so I did that.”

Amelia: Anyhow. Bounce. Good stuff

Chris: What are the main styles/elements/theories of dance you’ve studied in school?

Amelia: Western, predominantly – started in classical ballet, studied modern western forms, like Limon and Graham, moved into contemporary work like release/contact improvization

Amelia: Theory-wise I haven’t delved specifically into any one thing yet but mostly I have studied context I guess – the place of dance in culture, culture’s place for dance

Amelia: How it gets there/why it isn’t there etc

Amelia: Also York University is really into things like “a multicultural perspective” and “the effect of globalization” so I’ve looked at a lot of that stuff, I danced with a classical Indian dance company for a while.

Chris: Is that the same as what you’d see in a Bollywood movie?

Amelia: No, not at all really – Bollywood is like Indian hip-hop, it’s everywhere, it sort of takes influence from the classical forms

Amelia: Kathak, Bharatanatyam

Amelia: I danced with a Bharatanatyam company

Amelia: It is similar to Western dance in that – for instance on So You Think You Can Dance, all these bastardized versions of classical dance, or contemporary jazz forms that take a lot of tricks from classical ballet, you can tell who has done a lot of classical ballet, and been “properly” trained. Similarly with Bharatanatyan, there is more control.

Chris: So you haven’t done any hip hop dancing in school?

Amelia: The odd workshop…I have taken a lot of jazz, which has some vaguely hip hop elements, and yes, workshops all over the place. But it isn’t really a priority anywhere, although to be honest that should change, so much contemporary dance has hip hop elements in it. And how are you supposed to understand popping and locking/all that complicated isolation work if you’ve been doing ballet your whole life? Insane.

Amelia: Hip hop is still sort of treated as contemporary folk dance.

Chris: Oh, can you go on about the hip-hop elements in contemporary dance? Do you mean the more avant-garde stuff, or…

Amelia: Oh yeah sure

Amelia: Hmm avant-garde? Maybe

Amelia: What I mean is current contemporary dance, derived from western modern dance – sure, let’s call it avant garde, but not so avant garde that it’s not dancing anymore

Amelia: For instance ImPulsTanz, the Vienna international dance festival, has hip hop classes now. I mean, there’s everything at Impulse, it’s huge, but it’s pretty notable that hip hop is in there, it’s the youngest form at the festival for sure, or the youngest non-European-derived form.

Chris: Would this be people like…Which people should I look up?

Amelia: In terms of people who have used elements of hip hop or in general?

Chris: Both, I guess, although I should probably only include the former in this post

Amelia: Wellllll as for choreographers who have used elements of hip hop, I can’t speak for the international scene very well, but locally Valerie Calam is a big one

Amelia: Alias Dance Co.

Amelia: Tanya Crowder lately

Chris: Thanks! I’ll look all of those upppppp

Chris: Oh yeah, here’s another video I wanted to show you, it’s a “sissy bounce” clip:

Amelia: As for non-hip-hop – Wim Vandekeybus, Anne Terese der Keersmaeker, Tino Seghal, Ame Henderson, Susie Burpee, KG Guttman are a start

Amelia: *add Lloyd Newson and DV8 to above list

Amelia: This is amazing!!!

Amelia: I will be right back to talk about this, it’s awesome

[maddening series of disconnections]

Chris: Okay I rebooted my browser after cursing at it

Amelia: Hahahahahaha

Amelia: Let me remember what I was going to say

Amelia: Well the first thing I find I have to comment on is the major difference between women in hip hop and men in hip hop…Is this bounce too?

Amelia: Oh nevermind there go the men

Chris: Yeah, some people believe it’s a subgenre of bounce and some people believe it’s the same thing. It’s basically bounce music performed by gay men and trans/queer/sometimes straight women, performed in a hypersexual way

Amelia: Well it’s so sexual there aren’t any bones about it. Like with some hip-hop or other sexualized dance there’s at least some mystery to it

Amelia: I have seen backup dancers for a drag queen do this, this dancer I knew named Luis.

Amelia: He was amazing, they did this style of hip-hop called tipping

Chris: It’s almost abstract in a way

Amelia: The thing about dance is that it’s all abstract in essence, because movement doesn’t have a language, or rather is its own language, and so stuff like this is so blatant that yes, I see what you mean, it starts becoming abstract.

Chris: Oh, that’s true – it’s emotional aggregates rather than an alphabetic language.

Amelia: Like when you think about a word too much and it loses all meaning. Drawer – drawer – DRAA-WEERR, what was that word anyway?

Chris: Another thing about sissy bounce is that they’re dancing in such an incredibly sexual way at club nights full of women, gay men and drag queens, or people who are otherwise androgynous

Chris: From what I’ve read and seen straight men seem to be (relatively) rare

Amelia: Where would straight men fit into this behaviour? Not to overgeneralize but straight men tend to not have the same public displays of sexuality that women do, women or gay/trans/queer men.

Chris: Yeah, that’s true

Amelia: It’s an interesting thing about humans vs. every other animal

Chris: I suppose a lot of straight men are often insecure or uncomfortable about being someone else’s object of sexualization

Chris: Here’s another one:

Amelia: God I love Youtube

Amelia: You almost never see their faces

Amelia: Those were two separate thoughts

Chris: Haha

Amelia: Toys R Us! Wow.

Chris: Yeah, I like the weird, incongruous settings. It plays into the abstract aspect I guess

Amelia: Yeah exactly, it’s not about sex it’s just dancing

Amelia: Well truthfully this looks a lot more like a lot of African dance forms than contemporary hip hop to me

Amelia: I don’t know enough about African dance forms to specify which, I think it is one of the West African forms

Amelia: But that might be bullshit

Chris: How is uh “social” dancing studied in universities? As opposed to dance qua dance, formal performances watched by passive audiences?

Amelia: Social dance is a pretty big area of study. Like, you can take social dance classes – studio classes. A lot of nonmajors take them.

Amelia: There is a lot of talk about social dance vs. codified dance forms and how social dance fits into our lives now, there is less of a place for it. It has become really codified too. Or not a lot of talk, this is just how I feel anyway: that in codifying it, it makes it inaccessible.

Amelia: I feel like that might be a big part of why dance isn’t in people’s lives, that there are so many specific rules around it that to be “A Dancer” becomes a very big thing

Chris: Is [literalism] common with social dancing, regardless of the music being played or the milieu?

Amelia: I wouldn’t say so, most social dance is basically just moving your feet. Very minimal use of the body at all, especially Western social dance: Foxtrot, waltz etc. Hardly social, and not even very performative.

Amelia: This work is much more of both of those things, and in a way is sort of reminiscent of the kind of dance traditions that have existed forever – a circle of people and one dancer at a time entering the middle

Amelia: In particular that first video made me think of that, all the dancers working to outdo each other. It is hardly a new concept, it almost reminds me of a really standard classical ballet, where there are endless variations (solos), and then a grande pas de deux where the man and woman just do variations after each other

Amelia: For instance in Sleeping Beauty, the worst/best for that, in the first fifteen minutes there are six fairies with six variations. Never mind how vapid the whole idea of a slew of fairies is

Amelia: Basically I think the extreme posturing of this whole bounce thing – the first video you showed me in particular – speaks to a real primal sort of idea, and I am sick, I am so sick of people talking about dance, especially hip hop, as being “primal” becuase let’s be real, it’s offensive, but I don’t mean aesthetically I mean format-wise.

Chris: Competition, you mean?

Amelia: Yes exactly.

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