How to dance waacking
What is Whacking (Waacking)? | STEEZY Blog
BOOM. POW. WHACK.
These energetic sounds aren't just onomatopoeias you’d find in a comic book...
They’re the inspiration for Whacking (Waacking) – a dance style characterized by striking arm movements, poses, and footwork!
Wanna learn more about the history and origins of Whacking? Keep reading.
Whacking found its start in the 1970s gay clubs of Los Angeles where high-energy funk and disco music dominated the airwaves.
It was in these clubs that poor Black, Latino, and Asian men found the freedom to express themselves through movement, despite the oppressive environments they faced in day-to-day life.
Originally called “Punking, Whacking emerged as a style that focused on empowerment and strength.
And while “Punk” was originally a derogatory term, the gay community reclaimed it as a positive action verb.
"Punking means to make something your b*tch. Instead of being defeated by a person or thing or situation, punking is how we flipped the script to make it our own."
– Viktor Manoel
Punking is the root of Whacking.
The moves were influenced by the glamour and drama of classic Hollywood film actresses, the over-the-top action of 1960s comic book heroes, and the sharp, quick movements of 1970s martial arts films.
In many routines and freestyles, you’ll see arm rolls that originate in the shoulder, elbow, or wrist that travel over the head and back – directly inspired by the use of nunchucks. (Viktor Manoel)
Whacking found its way out of the LA gay club scene and onto the Soul Train dance floor by way of a few original Punks, Arthur, Tinker, and Andrew.
However, due to the HIV/AIDS epidemic of the 1980's, most of the original punks passed away or were murdered, leaving only Viktor Manoel as the last original Punk.
Then, the style faded out of the mainstream in the 1980's and 1990's.
It wasn’t until 2003, when dancer and choreographer Brian “Footwork” Green began teaching Whacking as a formal dance style that a new generation of Whackers was born.
After Brian, many other Whacking elders started sharing their knowledge with younger dancers, leading to an explosion in the Whacking choreography movement.
Although Whacking is now often seen in choreography, its original contexts were freestyle jams and battles.
But whether Whacking is part of a routine or in-the-moment expression, the core values of celebrating individuality, self-expression, storytelling, and performance still remain.
The basic “Whack” (original spelling) is an arm movement that creates a striking motion.
It’s literally like you're hitting or whacking something!
Watch this video to see how a basic whack is executed:
This name comes from the onomatopoeias splashed across classic comic books like Batman and Robin.
While “Punking” was the OG term for the style, “Whacking/Waacking” became the most popular name when the straight community fell in love with the dance style, but didn’t want to associate themselves with the term “punking.”
(The double “a” spelling of Whacking was used to differentiate the term from the negative slang, “wack”)
Aside from the whack itself, Whacking technique also includes hair brushes, extensions, posing, and fast footwork – all with a strong emphasis on musicality.
Wanna learn the Whacking style yourself?
Take Lorena Valenzuela's Beginner Whacking Program on STEEZY Studio!
She teaches all the essentials of Whacking/Waacking for beginners.
Just click here to start for free.
Cultural contexts of Whacking
Though decades have passed since its inception, the technique and cultural context of Whacking has been preserved by its communities.
Today, dancers continue to develop new means of expression through Whacking by experimenting with different types of music and elements of flair.
And while this style was originally created to empower people of color in the LGBTQIA+ community, it’s gone on to inspire younger generations of dancers of all backgrounds around the world.
Editor's Note: Facts in the article were researched by the author. Additional information came from interviews with original Punk Viktor Manoel.
What is WAACKING? - Dance Australia
27 January 2020
Comments CommentsChrissy Chou
Waacking is a form of dance that originated in the gay clubs of the 1970s in California from the African American and Latinx population.The dance has also been known as “Punking”, with some of the originators claiming that the name was a way of taking ownership of a negative term (as the term “punk” was a derogatory term for gay men in the 70s) and giving it a positive connotation.
Waacking is an extremely expressive, free and musical form of dance that is characterised by arm movements and posing with a strong emphasis on musicality and improvised performance. Back in the day, gay men would take inspiration from icons such as Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich and Marilyn Monroe and move their arms and pose in time with the music, channelling their inner diva -- something which they probably wouldn’t be able to do in their everyday life.
Disco music was one of the vehicles which drove the movement for these dancers. It was the pop music of that generation and one that was heavily favoured and dominated by the LGBT community. The soulful vocals, luscious synths and heavy bassline paired with lyrics predominantly about joy and love gave them a sense of freedom and escapism - not only from their realities as a QPOC (queer person of colour) but from the socioeconomic climate in the 1970s.
Waacking reached its peak during the 70s and then slowly dwindled from the clubs as disco fell from the mainstream and the AIDS epidemic hit the world - taking a lot of originators along with it. The remaining originators who did survive remained dormant until the dance had a resurgence in the early 2000s - with originators such as Tyrone “the Bone” Proctor, who was on Soul Train, and Viktor Manuel, who danced for Grace Jones - coming out of retirement to train the next generation of pioneers from around the world in the scene.
As dance styles evolve over time, so does the trend in music and the context in which it is presented. Waacking battles, similar to other dance styles such as “locking” and “house”, are a transplant of “hip hop” battles. They were never an original part of the culture but have been recontextualized for the sake of competition and entertainment and emphasise performance rather than directly battling. Waacking has revived all over the world with thousands of dancers performing this genre across North and Latin America, Europe and Asia.
Australia is having its largest waacking party and battle in Melbourne on the February 7. Hosted and judged by Taiwanese legend Chrissy Chou and RuPaul Drag Race Thailand’s Pangina Heals, the winner at the Melbourne Museum will be a finalist in one of the world’s largest battles, C’est La Waack (pictured below), in Taipei, Taiwan, including all travel costs covered!
Jonathan Homsey is the curator of the Nocturnal x Midsumma Lunar New Year Disco, on at the Melbourne Museum. Info and bookings: https://www.midsumma.org.au/
Waking - 9 halls
Waacking (Waking) is more than just a dance style, it is a performance, emotions, an opportunity to reveal your individuality and tell a story through the plasticity of the body. The first waking dancers drew inspiration from the cinema: musicals, drama, a little later from films with Bruce Lee (some elements of waking echo the art of fighting with nunchucks).
The main task of a wacking dancer is to visualize the music with movements and convey the mood of the track and the feelings that it evokes. nine0007 In terms of technique, the style can be divided into posing (positions, stops), swings and loops. There are not so many basic steps that characterize waking, but since the style originated in clubs, it absorbed all the soul steps that were used at parties.
Waacking was created under the influence of Disco culture, and in the one that was underground Disco. The DJ's in the clubs sped up the disco tracks for the dancers. Disco music is ideal for waaking, as it directly influenced the creation of this style. nine0009
Waacking is a stage dance created by street dancers.
In the 60s in Los Angeles, dancer Lamont Peterson was the first to interpret music with strong arm and body movements. Dancers Mickey Lord, Tyrone Proctor and Blinky have taken this idea further, perfecting their hand movements and speeding them up to fast Disco beats. In the mid-70s, waking dancers performed on the best stages in Los Angeles and New York. At that time, African Americans and Hispanics danced Waaking.
Thanks to the TV show Soul Train, the style quickly gained fans around the world, in the 80s the popularity of waking began to decline, but after the 2000s a second wave began. nine0007 Today, the waking culture is becoming more and more large-scale, each country has its own waking community, major international battles are held. Hip-hop choreographers also often use wacking choreography inserts for their shows, as wacking can show any music.
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Waacking at the El Gato dance school
Waacking is a dance style that originated in the 1970s in Los Angeles as part of the US club culture. Mostly waking is danced to disco music.
There are two trends in waking today. New York wacking, which is heavily influenced by voging, is more characterized by leg movements and vog poses. The waking school in Los Angeles, which is heavily influenced by locking, is characterized by continuous movements, “swings” of the arms. nine0009
To properly waking, you need to feel like a celebrity, a popular movie actor. You have to move like a catwalk, behave like a movie star. And most importantly, there is no specific role in this dance, everyone chooses it himself: you can be a brutal movie hero or a graceful panther, or you can play different roles in your dance.
The essence of waking dances is active arm waving and gesticulation when performing movements and chords. This is a modern street trend that appeared about 40 years ago in the United States. In the metropolitan dance center El Gato Dance Center you will be taught an expressive and self-sufficient style. They will tell you in detail and introduce you to the modern direction. nine0009
Professional waking in Minsk
It is important not just to randomly wave your arms in different directions, but to perform clear and fast movements. An important component of the waacking style is the dance base, consisting of model poses and a podium walk. It is extremely important not only to learn certain movements, but also to express yourself on stage. Therefore, our experienced mentors teach students artistry and interaction with the audience during the dance.
Pay attention to the following character traits. If they are close to you, you simply have to try yourself in the described dance direction:
The direction is great for both experienced and beginner dancers. Therefore, we invite everyone who wishes to take waking classes. Master classes are held in small groups under the guidance of experienced and extremely cheerful teachers.
Waking : dance school
Learn the basics and improve your technique more correctly and better in a dance school.