Waacking is the fastest spreading dance style across the globe. But do you know how this came into existence? Waacking does not just have brilliant steps, but its history is remarkable too. Waacking started in the 1970s, in the disco era, and since then, there has been no turning back. Dig into the dance form and its facts:
1. During the 1970s, there were many social stigmas attached to LGBTQ+ and, it was not okay to be gay. People had to hide their sexuality, but when they went to disco clubs, they found freedom. Poor gay kids in LA used “punk” as a means of expressing oppression. They emotionally and psychologically fought marginalisation using dance for storytelling.
2. The main DJ of the gay club Michael Angelo of Ginos 2 – 1980, coined the term punk or punking as an inside joke with the dancers. “Punk” was a derogatory term used for gay men. They turned negative into positive.
3. Punking is action, and waacking is the reaction. Punking is acting. When you do punk, you become the movie, and your character does the storytelling. Many characters like Charlie Chaplin and Monroe, many musicals, silent films, features, etc., during the golden era of Hollywood, had a significant impact on the community.
4. The word “whack” originated from Batman and Robin comics. Whack means to strike forcefully with a sharp blow. Whack is the name of one move. It is not the entire dance style.
5. When the heterosexuals started to fall in love with punking, they did not want to associate it with the homosexual term punking. Straight people used to call the dance
● The Cagney
● The Shabba Doo (first straight male to learn waackin)
6. Shabba Doo was a locker and brought a locking perspective to punking and waacking. In addition, he changed the spelling of ‘whackin’ to ‘waackin’ to distance the word from its negative connotations. According to Tyrone Proctor, Jeffery Daniel of Shalamar added the ‘G’ and completed the spelling waacking. (The spelling recognised by the dance community today.)
How did the waacking spread from Los Angeles to New York and the world?
7. Arthur Goff, Tinker Joy and Andrew Frank were original punks and dancers on The Soul Train, the nation syndicated show. The reason dancers all over the country were exposed to punking and waacking. Soul Train dancer Tyrone Proctor moved to New York City and joined the group Breed of Motion. Members of this group had a profound impact on the waacking scene in New York and Japan. The influence of Breed of Motion is why waacking and vogue began to resemble each other.
The effect of HIV AIDS on the dance community
8. All original punks passed away from AIDS or were murdered, leaving Victor Manuel as the living original punk. During the 80s and 90s, punking faded from people’s eyes, leaving only traces of waacking in the New York City and Los Angeles club scenes with minor guest appearances in film and TV.
9. Professional dancer Brian ‘Footwork’ Green saw the need for waacking information and its elders to teach the community. They turned down his decision. Brian started teaching to provoke them (piss them off) to teach again. He was the catalyst for the resurgence of waacking. He began teaching in 2003 at the Broadway dance centre to introduce waacking to other dancers.
Many dancers of the generation started learning and adding their own taste to the dance. In India, Kumari Suraj, whose father is of South Asian descent, created a form she calls Bollywaack by combining waacking with aspects of Indian dance. While the OG creators of waacking were the people from the LGBTQ community, people from all over the world with different backgrounds are inspired to learn more.
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Heya everyone!! I am a dancer by heart and a writer by choice. A mass communication graduate trying to make my way in the advertising industry, I also have a knack for marketing. Music, dance and admiring the nature is what defines me.