How do you dance to house music
What Is House Dance? | STEEZY Blog
House Dance is a style of dance that originated in the late 70’s and early 80’s from underground clubs in Chicago and New York.
The style was influenced by several types of movement, including Tap, African dance, Latin dance, and martial arts.
House Dance is about freedom, improvisation, and feeling the music.
Learn More About House Dance Here!
History of House Music
There are a few different interpretations of how House music and dance started.
It’s important to keep in mind that “dance history” is essentially a collection of people’s life stories.
These aren’t our experiences, and we are not married to any one narrative; these are the ones that were shared with us.
The first House record came from Jessie Saunders in 1984 titled “On & On”, co-written by Vince Lawrence. Similar sounds existed elsewhere before, but intentional branding of it, like “THIS is House music” with a DJ as the artist/producer, first happened in the Chicago community. I’m sure there are many other stories of “firsts” that have yet to be as widely circulated.
– Cody “Coflo” Ferreira
In the late 70’s, the underground heads were starting to get tired of the formulaic cheesiness of Disco music.
Two DJs from New York City, Larry Levan and Frankie Knuckles, started to mix Disco with other musical elements – like breaks, afro beats and electronic music.
Shortly after, they started selling their music in record shops in New York.
The owner of a big club in Chicago called “The Warehouse” found this new music and started playing it there.
Other Origins of House Music
I’ve also heard that around the time The Warehouse was more mainstream, record shops got really popular. Record diggers came in asking for the type of music played at The Warehouse, so owners of record shops would categorize those songs in a “House” section to market them.Another story puts Leonard “Remix” Rroy, a DJ from Chicago, as having “accidentally” invented the terminology for House: During the Warehouse period, Chicago was also a hotbed for juice bars (places without alcohol that people went to to dance), as well as communal parties hosted at local high schools. Leonard scored a gig DJing for a juice bar, playing his mixes for the partiers. The owner asked him, “What do you call this music?” and he thought, “Well, I’m making this stuff in my mom’s basement, so I’m gonna call it House.” They started advertising the venue, writing “We play House music here” on billboards and posters.
House music came from community parties, not just at clubs. Larry Levan was playing at The Garage in New York when he got an offer to play at Chicago’s clubs. He said no, but referred Frankie Knuckles. They had no name for it, which gave them more freedom to experiment with the sounds.They just made and played the music and didn’t think it was a big deal – until other DJs were claiming they invented it. It’s hard to label something after it’s been commercialized by other people...
– Louis “Loose” Key
It’s difficult to assign exactly how the music or the term “House” was invented.
But the common thread is that this social, party culture, especially at The Warehouse, paved the way for House music to become its own genre.
People quickly fell in love with this new music they heard at The Warehouse. Like, really in love. Going dancing at the club went from activity to obsession; they based their whole lives around going to the clubs. It was a powerful experience for people.
– Jojo Diggs
House Dance Clubs
Why was (and is) this connection so powerful?
It may help to understand that House Dance was (as were other street dance styles) wasn't just born from both celebration of the music, but also as an escape from some sort of struggle.
People went to the club looking for more than a party. They wanted an emotional and physical release.
The gospel-y vibes, strong bass beats, and hypnotizing lyrics of House music set the perfect atmosphere for this.
Soon, the underground clubs of Chicago and New York became the place of freedom and expression.
There were stages to House’s evolution. The first was very grassroots, when avid club goers would dance to funk, soul, disco, rock, boogaloo music, “Black Music,” or “Soul Music. ”You had the people who just went, then you had the people who called themselves “dancers.” They didn’t have circles or platforms, or even the room to dance in a big expressive way.Later, in the 80’s and 90’s, the dancers created a shift in attention to themselves by forming cyphers. It went from individuals dancing wherever they could, to a person dancing and a group noticing, appreciating what that dancer was doing, in a new communal way.
Check Your Body At The Door
Check Your Body At The Door is a documentary about the underground House Dance scene in NYC.
This quote paints the perfect picture of what it was like to be one of these dancers:
"Check your body at the door" means you take your attitude, your baggage, all of that, you check it at the door, and then you go into the club, and you’re a totally different person. You enjoy aggravation free, stress free, life problem free. A club head is someone who literally lives for the club, who makes time religiously to throw down and dance. I am a Club Head.
– Archie Burnett, Check Your Body At The Door
The dancers were not following any rules or practicing steps that someone else taught them.
They, themselves, gave birth to a dance style that was just as free and cathartic as the music made them feel.
House Dance was not based on counts and structure, but on passion, desperation for the movement, connection to the music.
Come as you are. Dance as you. Feel as you are. There’s no rules.
– Barbara Tucker, Check Your Body At The Door
House Dance Influences
And since doors were open to dancers of all styles – House Dance became influenced by several different types of movement.
Everything from the footwork and torso movements of African dance, the grace of Tap and Jazz, a sense of acrobatics from Capoeira, to steps from Latin dance and the athleticism of martial arts– all were ingredients that stewed into House Dance.
Those styles, plus a dash of spontaneity, creativity, and of course – love for the music, created what we consider House dance today.
You don’t have to be black, white, gay, or straight. We have one common thing – and that’s the music.
– Underground Network’s promoter, Don Welsh, Check Your Body At The Door
Codification of House Dance Moves
3 generations later, in the early 2000’s, House Dance moves went on to be codified in New York.
Brian Green, Mop Top, Elite Force, and other House Dancers and organizations such as Dance Fusion and World Soul were critical in creating this “syllabus” for House Dance moves.
To understand any freestyle culture simply ask the questions, “Who, what, when, where, why?”When people dance, and they bring their ancestry, they bring their emotional revolutions.We have to understand that much later certain movements were given labels, but it all starts with people being people.
– Jojo Diggs
Culture of House Dance – "House Is A Feeling"
What does this mean to people?
Most of the people who created House Dance came from rhythm-based backgrounds, cultures that played a lot of drums. That rhythm, that beat – they were born into it.You can learn the footsteps; you cannot learn the feeling.
House is some freedom dancing, that’s what it really is, because you go inside and feel the music, and the movements just come out.
– Ejoe Wilson, Check Your Body At The Door
House is a feeling. You can learn foundation, and you should understand where it comes from, but at the end of the day, you learn that foundation to understand how to express how the music makes you feel.
– Jojo Diggs
The feeling of House Dance lives in the Jack, which is the signature groove of the style.
A few base moves of House Dance
- Jack In The Box
- The Swivel
- Shuffle Step
- Loose Leg
Jojo is a dancer, in love with House and many other styles. She’s an international instructor and choreographer, Mop Top member, and founder and CEO of Diggs Deeper.
Always a fan of Hip Hop and gangster rap in her younger years but growing up in a conservative environment, Jojo never quite felt free to indulge in the music and dance she was interested in.
I felt embarrassed about how much I liked it.
But she started ballroom dancing in her early 20’s, and later discovered the underground dance scene of cyphers and clubs.
When she went to her first House club called Red, introduced to her by Chaz “Asiatic” Cabonce, she instantly fell in love.
House music and dance just made sense to me in a really, really deep place. I wish I had found it earlier in my life.
She learned to freestyle in the club, with other club goers. They would not teach her moves, only encouraged her to be herself and move however the music moved her.
After 5 years of dancing in the club, it seemed strange to Jojo to later learn that there were House classes that people taught at dance studios.
She’d learned House Dance in such an organic, spiritual experience at the club; a House class to steps and counts was an idea hard to fathom.
I felt like there was no way to teach what we did.
But after taking a class, she was blown away with how much of what she was learning were the foundation of things she had been doing with her body, there was a whole world of House she hadn’t known about.
My foundation will always be something that happened from the music.
She has since then become one of the most sought and respected House Dance instructors in the world, training students and educating them on its history.
Jojo has been dancing and teaching for 17 years now, and has no plans on stopping.
Her Beginner House Program on STEEZY Studio takes you through all the foundational House Dance steps, drills, and even freestyle exercises.
Just SOME Notable House Dancers
Brahms Bravo La Fortune
Shannon “Which Way” Mabra
Tony “Sekou” Williams
Brooklyn Terry Wright
Kim D Holmes
Ronald Ricochet Thomas
William “Quick” Reynolds
Basil Thomas (Brutha Basil)
Conrad SP Rochester
Omar Kashim Henry
Louis “Loose” Kee
Additional House Dance Resources
You can purchase the DVD, or on Amazon Video
. Life and Death on the New York Dance Floor, by Tim Lawrence
About the dancers
The school of thought for dance I was trained under was that your movement is what the you make of it. Dance style represents the time and place and a person. I dance the way I do because of the teachers I had, where I came from, and who I danced with.Coflo Cody Ferreira
grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he met Strutters and house dancers (“Rebels”) at all-ages nightclubs in San Jose.
He started to train under the mentorship of GraVidy, learning Hip Hop and House.
After graduating high school, Coflo connected with a group of House dancers who were also open to doing choreography.
He met Johnny Mendoza of Mindtricks, who taught him how to be professional about his dancing.
Then, the New York influence came in – he saw a performance by Brian Footwork Green on VHS and decided to train with him.
For 10 years, he went through intense, disciplined study of Brian’s technique.
It wasn’t until Coflo started playing the piano and making House music himself, that he was able to unlock a new level of understanding of House.
Coflo is currently still dancing and producing music, involved in Circle of Fire, SoulShifters, and the Non-Profit organization All The Way Live. You can find his music here.
Louis Kee, AKA “Loose”
started dancing decades before House was even introduced.
He started listening to funk jazz, and soul bands in the 70’s, going to community parties, AKA “Tin Can Team” activities in NYC mobile trailer parks.
Bands would play on the portable stages, sometimes hiring a DJ because it was cheaper than having a band.
People started dancing to specific DJs that they liked, sometimes with their crews, battling other crew who danced for other DJs.
Later, Loose started going to clubs.
That’s where all the new music was. Radios had to keep their ear to the streets, the clubs, to know what they should play.Editor’s Note:
This piece was written to tell a part, not the whole, story of House Dance. There were many more dancers and events involved in House’s rich history, so we’re always learning more! If you’d like to contribute your stories, please email me at [email protected]. The mission is to keep the conversation going – and we’re always down to listen. Thanks!
Wanna read the story of Urban Dance Choreography? Check out The Evolution Of Our Dance Community
List of steps and moves from house dance as collected by FraGue
The list of house dance steps below is what I learned in my journey with house dance. It is not complete and will never be as our dances are still alive and growing every day.
Bold is the name of the move that I consider the correct one. Most of the time it’s the name I got taught.
(In parenthesis there are alternative names when written next to the name or general comments when in the back of the line).
In italic letters, I added additional info when I have it. The name after an s stand for source, meaning who I learned the move from. o stands for origin and is used whenever a move is from another style imported into house.
I also add a link to tutorials when I find ones, that I consider good.
How to make the most out of your house dance steps
If you want to find out how to make the most out of the moves you already know, consider grabbing a copy of Dance Smart from Amazon or get a free copy of 7 Questions To Ask Every Move when signing up for my email list.
The List of House Dance Steps & Moves
- Jack in the Box. s Buddha Stretch
- Criss Cross. s Didier o Hip Hop
- Jack Jumps. s Loftex
- Stomp. s Buddha Stretch
- Shuffe (Dodger, Shuffle & Dodge). s Rabah, Loftex
- Pas de Bourée. s Rabah
- Sidewalk. s Caleaf
- Salsa Step. s David Colas
- Snake. s Loftex
- Roger Rabbit (Reject). s Caleaf, Loftex o Hip Hop
- Set Up. s Loftex
- Farmer. s Marjory Smarth
- Gallop Shuffle. s Caleaf
- Gallop Shuffle Cross. s Caleaf
- Heel Toe. s Rabah
- Heel Toe Hop. s Loftex
- Can Opener. s Loftex
- Player. s Loftex
- Train. s Caleaf
- Scissors. s Hiro
- Lotus (Marjory). s Loftex
- Salsa Hop. s Caleaf
- Swirl. s Loftex
- Chase. s Didier
- Loose Legs. s Caleaf
- African Step. s Loftex
- Triangle. s Loftex
- Diamond. s Loftex
- Crosswalk. s Caleaf
- Crossroads. s Rabah
- Peter Paul. s Loftex
- Pow Wow (B-Boys). s Loftex
- Jogs. s Loftex
- Reverse Jogs. s Loftex
- Pivoting Pas de Bourée (Pivot Step). s Loftex
- Spongebob (Party Machine). s Link
- Scribble Feet (Triplet Step). s Caleaf
- Lofty. s Storm
- Dolphin. s Niako
- Spiderman Style. s Loftex
- Tip Tap Toe (Fort Green). s Buddha Stretch
- The Skate. s Buddha Stretch o Hip Hop
I also have a list of hip hop dance moves, and another one for breaking/breakdance.
If you want to make the most out of your moves, consider grabbing a copy oy my book Dance Smart, which is about concepts you can apply to all your steps. This would mean the world for me and I do a little happy dance every time someone orders the book.
House - the king of club parties Online publication "Elements of Dance"
House dance - energy control
House - trendy dance with a positive mood. He is very energetic, dynamic and unusual in style. This is one of the modern music and dance trends, the most popular in nightclubs.
Sometimes called house electro is a dance performed to electronic music of the same name. The movement started in the 80s. in chicago club The Warehouse , from where music and dance spread like lightning to colleges, discos, house parties and dance schools. Frankie Knukles , a local DJ, was one of the first to experiment with drum machines in disco music. Thus, house was born.
The most important thing in dance is the ability to control the body and energy, holding it back or splashing it out with an explosive wave. Masterly possession of the body is a real skill that allows you to use the body, arms, legs, and head at the same time in the dance. Modern house is always major music with a simple, uncomplicated melody. At the same time, the dance is sophisticated and skillful. No wonder he is called the king of club parties and discos.
Dancing with energy
House music is reflected in dance. It is characterized by active work with the whole body, high speed and rhythm. The “trick” of pop house is wide movements, slow or fast depending on the rhythm, arm throws, amplitude movements of the body, springy work of the legs and body. Energetic steps are complemented by sensual rocking of the body, sharp throws of hands - by smooth movements of the neck and head. Under the electric beat, mixed with African motifs, they perform a dance that combines elements of different styles: breakdance, hip-hop, disco, club latin, jazz, tap and others.
Before you go to conquer the house club, you should take a few lessons. As a rule, training includes the development of three main elements.
1. House Jacking, or qual. This is a quick or smooth rocking of the body to the rhythm of the music. The "wave" passes from the head through the neck, back, pelvis to the legs. The Jack is the basic dance move.
2. House Lofting - undulating body movements through the beat of the melody. This acrobatic wave is borrowed from breakdancing. It was named after the club The Loft, where it was first performed on the dance floor. The most famous movement of this series is Dive, or dive: the performer moves smoothly down, simulating immersion in water.
3. House FootWork - steps and movements, pushes and rotations, any other footwork. Elements from African dances, jazz, tap are allowed.
These three large groups of elements are the base of the house. Having mastered them, you can conquer any dance floor in Russia, Europe, the USA or any other country where this dynamic dance is loved in clubs.
Today there are such performance techniques as stomping, skating and shuffling.
What does it take to be a house star?
From the basic set of movements and the general technique of performance, a unique dance is always born. To be known as the "star" of the party, you need to be able to improvise. Music is unpredictable - be prepared for unexpected twists and unconventional intricacies of rhythms.
In fact, there are no strict house schemes. The dancer is free to combine the steps as he likes, creating his own pattern of dance, intricate and skillfully woven. Let's allow a slight touch of imposingness.
There is always one thing in common - a crazy rhythm. A person with good physical fitness can withstand it. The springy work of the body and legs is energy-intensive and complex, although at first glance it may seem uncomplicated and unpretentious. For fine execution of some elements, plasticity and flexibility will be required. Training will help develop these qualities. At the same time, you can also study at home: attending schools is not at all necessary if you are ready to work, not a filon. Cheerful, springy, energetic house - a dance for those who love dynamics and positive.
"You are always a student, never a teacher." Life lessons from the world legend of hip-hop culture.Caliph Sellers in Nizhny Tagil (PHOTO; INTERVIEW)
October 18, 2013, 15:35
He has choreographed dances for many celebrities (Mariah Carey, Will Smith, Diana Ross, Pet Shop Boys), he is one of the 25 founders legendary House style, producer, DJ, world-famous dancer, mentor, father of three children and just a wonderful person - Caliph Sellers. The day before, he visited Nizhny Tagil, where he was invited by the representative of the Ural hip-hop association BNS - Andrey Sneik.
Initially, Caliph was going to hold a master class for the people of Tagil. But for a number of reasons, his trip turned into simple friendly meetings. The day before, on October 16, he had a master class in Yekaterinburg. In general, according to Andrey Sneik, the main problem of modern dancers is that many mediocre studios are opening, where people do not understand what they teach. A person who has been dancing for two years and positions himself as a professional dancer may not understand what he gives. The task of such meetings among dancers is to gain maximum experience, plunge into history, “absorb”, understand it.
Many people call Kalifa a "lifetime legend", and this is true, because he is, in fact, one of the founders of the house style. Traveling around the world, Caliph gets to know people, his students and followers. With all his heart, he wants house culture to be preserved in the original form in which he created it with his own hands. The most important thing for him is to feel the dance, to prove his point of view not with words, but with movements. And by the way, he does a lot to maintain and develop culture around the world - master classes, talks, lectures, meetings with the media. So, having arrived in Nizhny Tagil for the second time, Caliph met with a TagilCity.ru journalist.
The most important thing in the life of any person is to succeed in what he likes, in what he is ready to devote himself to. Not superficial, but deep knowledge. The history of the direction of house music and dance has more than 30 years, and this is a really important stage in the development of modern culture. This is not only dancing, but also music. The arrival of the Caliph in our region, in Nizhny Tagil, is also important from a cultural point of view. The opportunity to communicate with the "pioneer" of the world trend, a representative of hip-hop culture is important for those dancers who really know what they are doing. And it's great that there are those who appreciate and value it.
Caliph, have you heard about Nizhny Tagil before?
- Actually, I was here in April for the Open Jam Championship. My friends showed me both the Kuibyshev plant and Lisya Gora. They told me about the Cherepanovs, who invented the first steam locomotive. And much more. I showed everything to my family in America.
Photos provided by Andrey Sneik
What does dancing mean to you?
– Dancing is my life. This is my everything. This is what I think about when I wake up in the morning, this is what I think about before going to bed. And I also think about how long I can do this professionally. I also travel, sometimes just to relax. And I love it.
How long have you been dancing?
- As my mother told me - from the age of three. Well, in general, it is already 31 years of my life that I have been dancing. I also teach dance. // (So for me it's like 31 years in my life that I'm dancing, I coaching too.)
People dance when they're happy, people dance when they're sad. This is a great way to get rid of stress.
What else would you devote your life to if it weren't for dancing?
– Actually, before I became a professional dancer, I dreamed of playing football professionally, not soccer, but American football. I wanted this from an early age until my university days. And by the way, I did very well. I loved to teach, I taught children. I also taught my sons when they were children. I would definitely do exactly that. I do other things as well – DJ, MC, yes, I make music.
Can you tell me about the history of house dance?
– In the early 80s, the eponymous music genre was born in Chicago. It happened in the club "Warehouse" . After this music came to New York, where at that time there were only hip-hop clubs. There was too much violence. People shot, sometimes even killed. And we began to go only to house clubs - to dress appropriately and so on.
Photos from Kalifa's page
They included hip-hop, more often even house music, they combined all this. So, we transformed hip-hop dance into house. There we met with the older guys. Their dances were different from ours. But this is how our direction turned out - we had one energy, they had a completely different one. We found a way to combine it all. And I don’t know how long it took for us to realize that we were doing really real dances. We called it "clubbing" - after all, you come to the club to spend time, to get some experience. You grab a girl, dance with her, sometimes even try to dance with her all night. It's fun, right?
Things are different now. People have all sorts of reasons for dancing. Someone wants to be famous, someone likes to participate in different competitions. But all of them, no doubt, love what they do. And I want to meet people like me who want to know something more that they didn't know before.
I realized: "The more you want to achieve something, the more you will learn." If someone does not want to know more than what he knows, he will always be on the lookout, but will never find anything.
It's like a "cow" that gives you milk, gives you information, but you don't know what to do with it: someone wants foam, someone wants milk, and someone wants both. But I think that everything is built as follows: milk - foam - 50/50 - and where does it all come from? That's right, from a cow. Dancing is a cow.
In general, what is your main goal when you teach people to dance?
- For me, it's to tell them a story. And not always to tell, but to show. Everything you say, you must be able to show and prove. It is important to tell young people about what you did and what you are still doing. This is a special way to achieve understanding, but not so much verbally as physically. Verbally, this is how we speak right now. For me, all this is very important. And so I created my brand, from the very beginning, from the very “core”.
Is it difficult to train a large number of people?
– No, it's actually even easier. "Lesson" resembles a pastime in a club, a party. This gives a lot of energy, which is transformed and transmitted among people.
Photo from the page of Ekaterina Grigorieva. Master class held as part of the Ural Championship in the styles of Break Dance, Popping, hip hop, house, Locking - Ural Dance Event "Open Jam"
And what about those who are shy about dancing?
– You know, we must fight this with all our might. I realized that if a person is afraid to dance, then he is afraid of many things in life. My friend Henry Link used to be shy too. And one day his sister asked him to close his eyes and start dancing. He did it wonderfully. And when he opened his eyes, the whole family looked at him with surprise, although before that there was no one in the room!
Do you remember your first battle?
- We had battles many times in the neighboring town. There were many people who were looking at us. One day, a guy, like a leader, said that the guys from the neighboring town wanted to see us at the battle. So, three of us on bikes got to a neighboring city, where there were familiar dancers. I remember they played baseball. They asked me to wait 10 minutes. It was the last lap. They came up to the floor and said: "Wazzap?!" And then we competed. I did everything I could. I only remember that I was very nervous. But this is a very cool experience in my life.
You have worked with many celebrities. Who would you single out? Who is more memorable?
– Will Smith is very funny! I remember Mariah Carey. I have worked with her many times. She was very shy the first time. Then she was just starting her career, it was one of the first videos for the song "Someday". Then, the next time we met, she was more relaxed. He made his career, was more self-confident. Good experience.
Video from YouTube
I'm sure you performed the so-called "urban dances" (street, city). Tell about it! This is very cool.
- Yes, but it's also hard to gather people around you. It's a talent to make them stare at you. We did it because we needed money. They put the box down and the police were about to show up. Everything must be done quickly. So… *dance*.. “Cops are coming, cops are coming! We're off!" . And I know people make real performances. In any case, such conditions are the decision of the government. There is no point in arguing with this.
Can you tell me the difference between street dancing in movies and in real life? Are there fake movies?
- Oh no, it's not fake. Choreography is not fake, dancing is not fake. Everything that happens in a movie is the director's vision. It is his decision what the dancers should do. Smile, clothes, what else? Have you seen Chris Brown in the new movie? He's a great breakdancer! He can dance and he's cool! And it's not fake. What about "Step Up": the concept of flash mobs is a great idea, but the movie is ...
What about the difference between those who dance for money and those who just dance?
- Some people say: "I don't want to do business"! This is madness! If you want to be successful, then there must be someone who appreciates you, who pays you. So, the difference between those who work in Hollywood and those who dance on the street is that Hollywood just pays money.
Which of these opposites are you?
- I'm in the middle. Because I work for myself. But I know how to be successful and how to be with nothing. I don't even know who is better. We are all dancers. It's just that someone concentrates on the details, and someone is free.
You know, some people who teach dance don't know what they're doing!
This problem is everywhere. I know many areas. People don't have all the information and I go back to my deep thoughts about the "cow". Just ask them, "Dude, do you know what you're doing?" // Man? Do you know what I'm doing?
Please tell us about talented people in your life.
– You know, everyone is talented in some way. And I think that the people that are closest to me are the biggest talents that I have ever met. My good friend Henry Link is very talented. He is a dancer and an artist. When you see it, ask him to draw for you. You will be shocked. He is a DJ, he makes music.
Another friend of mine, Buddha Stretch, also draws and is a DJ. He is the most talented person I know. You give him one direction, he succeeds in it, and so on. For me, it is a talent when a person can do many things and exalt them to a high level.
How can a person develop his talent?
- I think someone needs to see it first. Often people are unaware of their talent. And then one day someone will say to them: “Lord, how do you do this?!”. Someone has to notice, appreciate and make it special.
What advice would you give to professional dancers and beginners?
- I will tell all dancers: "You are always a student, never a teacher" . This is the best advice. This is a lesson for life. You are always learning something. Even when you say "nothing". "What are you doing? - Nothing." Actually, you might be sitting on the couch, maybe just watching. You are always doing something. And you never do anything.
To the question of professionals. Some say "I'm a professional!".
– Is it true? How long do you dance?
- For five years now.
Video from Caliph's page
In his 44 years, Caliph has gained a lot of valuable experience, which he seems ready to talk about for hours. But the most important thing is that he knows what he is talking about. He sees the deep meaning that he seeks to convey to people. He understands you perfectly and is happy with any question. Few, being people of a global scale, can devote as much time to their students around the world as the Caliph does. Of course, what he teaches is impossible to understand the first time, someone will not understand at all, because he himself does not want to. But the most important thing is that even in Nizhny Tagil there are people who have such friends and the opportunity to develop the culture of the city in their own niche, in their own direction. And it's great! By the way, yesterday the guys took Caliph to St. Petersburg (he reports on the upcoming trip in the video above), then he plans to go to New York and a month in Europe.
City portal TagilCity.ru thanks Kalifa for communication, valuable advice and understanding! In addition, he expresses his deep gratitude to Andrey Sneik and Karina for the meeting organized with Caliph.
“You always a student. Never a master." Life lessons by world legend of hip-hop culture. Caleaf Sellers - in NijnijTagil
He has been working with different celebrities (Mariah Carey, Will Smith, "Pet shop boys" etc.) , he is one of the 25 founders of the legendary house style, a producer, a DJ , a dancer with a world name, a mentor, a father of three children and a very remarkable person - Caleaf Sellers. The other days he visited NizhniTagil, where he had been invited by Andrew Snake - the head of a well-known dance studio BNS and the representative of Ural hip-hop community BNS.
At first Caleaf was going to deliver a master-class for local dancers but due to some reasons the trip turned out to become just a row of friendly meetings. Caleaf also has delivered a master-class in Yekaterinburg. As Andrew Snake says, the main problem for modern dancers is that they open many ordinary studios but don't quite realize what they teach. A person who has been dancing for a few years and claims himself to be a professional dancer, can misunderstand what he's really doing. The main aim of meetings like these is to exchange experiences, to feel the history of dance as deep as possible and to understand it.
Many people call Caleaf "an alive legend" and it's true, because he is one of the founders of house-style. Traveling around the world Caleaf meets many people, his students and followers. With all his heart he wants house-culture to be saved in its initial form. The most important thing for him is to get into the dance, to prove your opinion not with words but with motions. By the way he makes a lot of things for that - master-classes, conversations, lectures, meetings with mass media. So being in Tagil in the second time Caleafmet with a journalist of TagilCity. ru.
The most important thing for every person is to succeed in what he likes, in what he's ready to live for. Not superficial knowledge but deep. History of house as a branch of music and dance style counts more than 30 years, and it's a very important stage of development of the modern culture at all. Caleaf's visit to our place is also important because of the cultural side. The chance to communicate with a house culture founder is a splendid opportunity for those who dance and know what he's doing. And it's great that people appreciate it so much.
Have you ever heard about Nijniy Tagil before?
– Actually I was here a couple of months ago. And my friends showed me a Kujbasev’s factory and house across the lake where people looked fire (Fox Mountain, - ed.). And they told me about Cherepanovs, who create a first locomotive. That was what I showed my family in America.
What is dancing for you, Caleaf?
- Dance for me it's my life. It's everything. Sometimes it's what I think about when I get up in the morning, it's what I think about when I'm gonna sleep at night. I think of how much longer I will be able to do this professionally.
I'm traveling. Sometimes cuz I travel just relax. And really love it.
How long are you dancing?
– I know my mom told me since I was 3. So for me it’s like 31 years in my life that I dancing, I coaching too. People dance when the happy, people dance when the sad. It's like the way to escape wherever you are in the stress.
What would you dedicate your life instead dance?
– Well, before I got a dance professionally, my dream was to be a professional football player, not soccer, American football. I wanted to play from kid to University. So I was very good. I liked to coach, I coach kids. I coach my sons when they were young. I would definitely do that. I do other things. DJ, MC, producer, I make music too.
So, what is your style?
– A danced to hip-hop? house music. A lot of people around the world knows me for dancing house music, teaching that we did.
Can you tell me about the history of house-style?
– People dance it since early 80th. And its inception, it's birthplace in Chicago. These music played in the club called Warehouse. In clubs we exchanged dancing, exchanged information. And we were kids from hip-hop clubs. Unfortunately we can't continue in those club, cuz it was too violent. People were getting shots, someone even was getting killed. Those places were closed cuz insurance was too high.
So we had to go to another club. And we went to House club, where we were playing hip-hop, mostly house music, converted it. So be brought the dance from hip-hop into house. And then we also met up with older people that were on that scene. And that's how our dance was created, because they move differently how we did. We had a lot of one kind of energy, they had another. We found a way to combine it. I don't know in how many years we realized that we make natural dance. We called it "clubbing" - you come to the club to spend time, get an experience. You grab a girl, dance with her, try to dance with her all night. And it was very fun.
Now things are different, now people dance for different reasons. Someone dances cuz they wanna be famous, they wanna take part in competitions. But all of them dance just they love it. I wanna meet people like me, who just wanna know something they didn't learn before. So I realized: "The more you gonna do something, the more you learn." If you take from someone the less you learn, you always gonna be looking for something, but you never gonna find it. Some people calling it cow, that gives milk, that gives you an information, but you didn't realized it. Some want skin milk, some want milk and some want half/half. But I think: milk – skin milk – 50/50 and all from here? right. Cow. Dancing is a cow.
What is your main aim in dancing when you are teaching people?
– For me it's about teaching them history. But not always talking to them but showing them. So anything you say you should be able to show and prove. It's important for younger people telling them about you used to do, you can still do. It's some form of taking understanding, because that's physical, it's not really verbal. Verbal side is making right now, when we're speaking. For me that's really important. And that's what I have my brand is supreme foundation, that's what I built from the core.
Is it difficult to teach a lot of people at once?
– No, actually, it's easy to teach them. I like it because it feels like a club, a party. It gives a lot of energy, and it moves between people.
So what should the person do if he shying dance?
– You know, you should fight it. I found: if some people shying about dance they're shying another areas too. My friend Link shielded to dance too. And his sister told him close his eyes and dance. And when he closed his eyes he dance good. When he opened it all his family watching, but before no one was there!
Do you remember your first battle?
– We did it many times in neighborhood. There were all the guys who were watching us. We gonna take to another neighborhood. And one guy who wants us to the neighborhood because guys over there wanna see us. So three of us on bikes got there. There were guys that I know. They played baseball. 10 minutes… Former circle… “Wazzup?!”. I just remember my nervous! But I did what I could. I did learn that experience.
You have been working with a lot of stars. So what is your "favourite" person? Whom did you note?
- Will Smith, he's so funny! Mariah Carey. I worked with her more than one time. She was shying cuz she just started, that was one of her first album and song - "Someday". But when I met her again she was more relaxed. She made her career, she was more confident. It was a nice experience.
I'm sure you have danced "street dance". Tell us about it! It's so cool.
– Yeah, but it is also very hard. Just to get people come around, that's talent to make them stare at your show. But we did it just because we try to get money. Just bring the box, but the police are gonna come soon. You have to do it fast. So… *dance*… “Cops are coming! Turn it down, turn it down! But I know people make nice performance. But anyway it's government decision.
Can you explain me the difference between street dancing in movies and real street-dancing? Is there any fake?
- Oh, it's not a fake. Choreography is not a fake, dancing is not a fake. What happens in the movie is the director's vision. Dancers have to do what the director says. The director's vision is what dancers have to do. Smile, dress, what else? Have you seen Chris Brown in his new film? He's good breaker, cool b-boy (breakdancer - ed. )! He can dance and he's cool, and it's not a fake.
What about "Step up" movie: the concept - great idea, the movie - ....
So, what about the difference between those who get money for dancing and those who just dance?
– Some people says: “I don’t wanna be commercial”! That's crazy! You wanna be successful, and there should be someone who appreciates you, who pays to you. So the difference between those who work in Hollywood and those who dance on the street is: in Hollywood you getting pay.
- I'm in the middle. Cuz I work for myself. But I know how to be in success and how to be without anything. For me no one is better. All they are dancers. Someone concentrate on details, someone on freedom.
You know, some people who teach dancing don't know what they are doing.
– That problem is everywhere. I know many areas. People don't have all the information and I return to my words about "cow". Just ask them: "Man? Do you know what I'm doing?"
Tell me about talented people in your life?
– You know, everybody has a different talent. I think the people who are close to me are the most talented I've ever met. My good friend Henry Link is very talented. He's also an artist. Next time you see him ask him to draw for you. You gonna be shocked. He's DJ, make music.
Another friend of mine is Buddha Stretch draw, DJ. We're all DJ, produce. He can sing, he can act. He's the most talented person I know. You pushed him this way, he can go this way and etc. That's for me is a talent, that you can make many things and get them on a high level.
How can a person develop his talent?
– I think someone has to see the talent in you and push it. Because most people have a talent but they don't know. And one day someone says: “Wow! You can do it! Someone has to appreciate it first, realized that, make it special.
What can you advise to professional dancer and beginners?
– To all dancers I say: “You’re always a student, never a master.” That's my best advice. That's life lesson for anything. You're always gonna be learning something. Even when you say "nothing" - "What are you doing?" - "Nothing!" - Actually you may be sitting at the table, you may be looking… But you’re always doing something. You never do anything.
Some people say: "I'm professional!".
– Oh, really? How long did you dance?
– Five years!
TagilCity.ru thanks to Caleaf for very interesting communication!
© Yuliya Stepanova for TagilCity.ru
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