Sunday, March 26, 2017

Why Dance Music is the biggest social network…

Editorials: Is Dance Music the biggest social network?

Music hardly finds any rival whenever coming to link people together. The main reason being its position as able to express and therefore cover all aspects / emotions in life. Strengthening the cohesion within communities around the world, no wonder why nor how music established itself as a powerful vector of communication. And even more since the arrival of the first forms of Dance Music. Adding, as its name suggests, the power of another expression form – the Dance – to Music. And, in the meantime, strengthening the cohesion within communities…

The rise of Disco in the 70’s undoubtedly brought Dance Music to another level. This, with the establishment of the nightclubbing along with its masters of ceremony (the DJ’s). But also its dedicated places (the Clubs). And its soundtrack: the Club Music.

Dance Music / Club Music (call it however you wish) had probably a bigger impact back then. Not only because it was new. But also because of its social impact. Rewriting the door policy and in the meantime the current codes in America with venues welcoming a mixed crowd. And eventually defying the authority… As later on amplified by the end of the 80’s with the rave phenomenon in the UK.
Besides, let’s not forget neither the fact that one could dance to music in couples back then. A situation which allowed people to feel their alter egos by the way they moved. Just like what Latin music keeps on doing nowadays.

Wikipedia eventually talks about Social Dance. Describing it as “a major category or classification of dance forms or dance styles, where sociability and socializing are the primary focuses of the dancing. Social dances can be danced with a variety of partners and still be led and followed in a relaxed, easy atmosphere.”

“Social dancing means dancing as part of a social occasion”, says Socialdancemusic.com. “Couples, or a partnership, take a series of rhythmical steps (and movements) in time to the music. When talking about social dancing, ballroom or other partner dances are closesly tied. Some people place all ballroom and partner dance styles in the same category of social dancing.” .

Why Dance Music is the biggest social networkIronically, the Club Music lost a lot of its impact with everybody dancin’ on their own in the clubs. A nowadays standard which finds its source back in the second half of the 80’s…
Back then, one could see venues running into like a nuclear arms race, investing into always more powerful sound systems. With an obvious consequence being that it most likely made it harder for people to talk to each other. In addition to that, the initial concept of one DJ spinning all nite long came to an end. It progressively left space to line-ups of individualities and the consequences were immediate. With the latter, left with a reduced time to express themselves, running into another kind of race. This probably explaining the disappearance of the slow dance from then.

What Dance Music had lost in a way would nevertheless find its balance. And this, with the establishment of the nightclubbing as a global phenomenon. Many clubs setting up their own identity by offering a unique atmosphere to 1,000’s of people from a week to another. With some of them eventually reachin’ the status of meccas. From The Paradise Garage in New York to Le Palace in Paris. Then the Warehouse in Chicago and The Hacienda In Manchester. Not to mention the Ministry of Sound in London or the Pacha in Ibiza to name a few…

Contemporary Dance Music owes a lot to the clubs, but not only. It also found some substance in the streets with the Breakdance in the early 80’s. How not to think of the warehouses and its illegal parties which gave birth to House Music later on? And we could also add famous French mag Vogue which inspired the Vogue-ing in the 90’s?

Then how about the Krumping which reached its peak in the early 2000’s? A style which Californian dancer Thomas Johnson invented back in 1992. Back at the time, one would talk about Clowning with its creator comin’ up with the concept of Hip-Hop clown. This bein’ how he got his famous Tommy The Clown nickname. The difference with Breakdance or House is that Clowning and later on Krumping was in no way a music genre. And no more was it a trend which marked a period, but more of a socio-political phenomenon…

Thomas came up with this form of dance in response to the 1992 Rodney King riots. Incorporating the current music and dancing of the time in his performances, he generated a huge following in Los Angeles. A position which he used to give kids a chance to take an interest in dancing rather than drugs or gang activity. Eventually setting up a dance crew called the Hip Hop Clowns who performed with him at parties.

By 2000, there were more than 60 clown crews in the city. With all of them reguarly competing with each other during dance battling parties. Their popularity flourished to a rare level giving birth to the Battle Zone. An event which Thomas created and hosted, welcoming community dancers and celebrity guests. It eventually caught up the attention of David LaChapelle who perfectly recaptured the atmosphere in his 2005 film, ‘Rize’.

Times may have changed and its forms as well. But Dance Music still has that power which allows people to communicate and interact with each other. To that extend, one can say it fully responds to the definition of the social network such as known nowadays. Although in real-life, which makes a big difference with virtual and what such a situation may suggest.

Let us know about you. How do you enjoy Dance Music? Do you see it as the greatest social network? As usual, we greatly welcome your thoughts…

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