How to juke dance

Fancy footwork: how Chicago's juke scene found its feet again | Dance music

It’s been nearly five years since Planet Mu’s Mike Paradinas compiled Bangs & Works, plucking his favourite footwork tracks from Chicago’s South Side via YouTube for worldwide appreciation. Footwork music and the competitive dancing with which it’s intertwined seem alien compared to the city’s other musical exports such as house and the hip-hop of Kanye West. The genre grew from speedy, repetitive ghetto house in the late 1990s and early 2000s, yet it also borrows from drum’n’bass with its double-time clave triplets, syncopated toms and huge sub-bass.

RP Boo (aka 43-year-old Kavain Space) is credited as footwork’s pioneer. In April, Planet Mu released Classics Vol 1, a compilation including many of Boo’s earliest recordings, including Baby Come On from 1997. Hot on its heels comes Fingers, Bank Pads & Shoe Prints, which mixes his nascent footwork with new material.

Fancy footwork: RP Boo in full flow. Photograph: William Glasspiegel

“It packs good energy,” says Boo, as we sit under the vaulted ceiling of the Chicago Cultural Center, a 19th-century beaux-arts library downtown. Paradinas discovered some of the album tracks in Boo’s online mixes, choosing ones that were especially battle-oriented.

“That’s what was kind of missing in previous footwork albums,” Boo explains. “The battles and the intensity and the energy that he [Paradinas] felt, so that’s what we’re trying to target now.” On Finish Line D’jayz, the taunt “Mother-fuck your favorite DJ!” loops as intricate drum patterns shift. Asked if he’s calling anyone out or merely seeking to inspire dancers, Boo replies: “It’s a tactic to get them fired up. That’s the whole purpose. This is about them listening and becoming a part of it. Back years ago, they used to do diss tracks, but for me to do a diss track you would have to do something that was out of the ordinary for me to just come at you.”

Since leaving a job at the home-improvement store Lowe’s just two years ago, RP Boo has been touring the world, spinning in the UK, Japan, Poland, Spain, Denmark and the Netherlands. “The scene has made a shift change. It got quiet in Chicago, but it grew tremendously outside of Chicago and worldwide,” says Boo.

Nowadays Boo gets inspiration from more than just dancers. “I get more of my inspiration by listening to music … because I know where the dancers [are] at right now,” says Boo. “It’s not about the battles no more. They want to be on stage to showcase, so it’s all about what can I bring and give new to them, because they’re fast learners now.”

RP Boo is encouraged by footwork’s worldwide appeal. “When I seen it coming from Poland, that was amazing,” he enthuses. Boo’s vision of the future is “seeing more people worldwide getting out and being able to stand in the middle of the crowd and just jump up and down, but then hit that switch at any given moment and bust a footwork move and have it down pat, then jump back out and enjoy the music”.

But the scene was dealt a huge blow when arguably its most recognisable figure – DJ Rashad – died suddenly at the age of 34 in April 2014, six months after releasing his critically acclaimed album Double Cup for Hyperdub. DJ Taye says Rashad’s death left a void. “The void is there, but it just feels timeless,” he said. “I just feel like he will just be here forever, his soul will be here forever.” Rashad’s presence in the scene is still felt, so much so that everyone speaks about him in the present tense.

Thirty-three revolutions per minute: DJ Spinn. Photograph: Ashes57

Childhood friend DJ Spinn, who, with Rashad, was one of the Teklife crew’s founding members, is working on his first album now. I met Spinn in the lobby of an apartment building near the University of Chicago. Asked if he feels any pressure to change his music to appeal to a European audience, Spinn explains: “I’ve got more pressure making an album better than Double Cup. I don’t even want to think about it in that fashion, but me and Rashad know that’s just how it goes, we’ve got to make albums better than our last project.”

It’s a big gumbo pot of music right now, and that’s what’s real interesting about everything and the future
DJ Spinn

“Right now I feel there’s really no genres,” Spinn elaborates. “Everything’s blending with each other – hip-hop and dance music and EDM and funk and R&B – it’s a big gumbo pot of music right now, and that’s what’s real interesting about everything and the future of what we’re going to do.”

An R&B collaboration between Jessy Lanza, DJ Spinn and Taso, You Never Show Your Love, is due out on Hyperdub in late July, followed by a new EP, Off That Loud, in September. Spinn describes the latter as “Four little joints from me, Rashad and Danny Brown – a ‘Dubby’ joint, that’s a big one right now for us. I’ve got just some classic footwork on there and some trappy, chanty stuff – just some party stuff.”

Spinn’s work-in-progress album for Hyperdub is tentatively titled 420 Vision. Asked for his inspiration, Spinn laughs: “[It’s] all about medicinal, recreational and being positive. It’s really about positivity, though. My vision is that I see in a different way now from before because I ain’t tripping off of the old stuff and all of the demons.

The demons he’s referring to are the violence that has made Chicago a city known more for its high rate of gang violence and murders than its rich musical history.

“We want to get our city out of the negative light,” says Spinn. “So much negative light is being shone. There’s positive light, too, and we want people to see that. It’s crazy in the streets, but if you stay determined, you stay consistent, and you stay positive, anything can happen. You can make it out of any situation.”

As DJ Spinn continues to build Teklife’s legacy, he feels it’s important to give back to the scene. “It’s all about us helping each other get to that next step. If we make those opportunities for us, I feel we could definitely spread that out, and we could see a bigger re-emergence of the scene in Chicago, like on some Beat Street-type stuff,” Spinn explains. “That’s what I want to see … footwork crews. I want more DJs, I want more producers to be out here.”

DJ Taye, Teklife’s youngest member. Photograph: Matthew Aviginone/Hyperdub

At 20, DJ Taye is the youngest member of Teklife. He began making rap beats at the age of 12, then began dancing and composing footwork at the age of 14. At 16, he tested out his music at a Ghettoteknitianz battle and was invited by Spinn and Rashad to join what would later become Teklife. Taye self-released over 60 tracks on Bandcamp before signing to Hyperdub. His first EP, Break It Down, is due out in September.

I Skyped with Taye while he was touring in Belgrade with Serbian Teklife members Jackie Dagger and Feloneezy, holding his phone selfie-style in what appeared to be a surreally creepy hotel corridor. When Taye first heard footwork, he was surprised it wasn’t bigger in Chicago. “Why is this music not mainstream, why is it not being showcased?” Taye asked. “It’s just so unique. I’ve never heard anything like it once I heard tracks.”

Most Chicago youths Taye’s age see footwork as the past, preferring to listen to drill music or pop radio. “It just seems like Chicago is the only place that’s not really trying to embrace it,” Taye admits.

Jlin (27-year-old Jerrilynn Patton) is one of footwork’s emerging talents. She was born and raised in Gary, Indiana, about 30 miles from downtown Chicago. For the past three years she’s had a day job in portable annealing, driving a tractor at a steel mill.

While Jlin grew up listening to jazz, R&B and classical music at home, she was drawn to footwork online in the early 2000s. “MySpace helped a lot, and [social media streaming site] Imeem at that time, because people were uploading the tracks that you could listen to,” she recalls. She also watched online videos from Wala Cam. “They were displaying and showcasing and battling … It was like a soap opera for me.”

Asked what initially appealed to her about footwork, Jlin immediately responds: “The music and the matching of the movement – how well-synced it was. It’s almost like the interchanging of two energies, the dance and the sound, the frequency and vibration. Just constant exchange, constant exchange.”

It’s like distant family coming together to find out now who you are

Before long Jlin began crafting her own tracks, drawing on a wide variety of influences. The first composition on her recent album Dark Energy for Planet Mu was inspired by an entire day watching Alvin Ailey performances. “I studied the way they moved, everything. I just looked, and then the next day Black Ballet started coming together, started forming,” she explains. “It started making sense.”

The process of putting the album together involved trial and error, but especially risk. “Failing is important. You have to fail. A lot of people, they look at you where you are. So many people want that instant gratification of what they think success is, but in actuality, your failure is more important than your success,” Jlin reveals. “I know it’s going to sound really, really crazy, but I have this analogy of jumping off of a cliff, of not being afraid to jump, but you voluntarily take a leap, not knowing what the outcome is … I am in complete freefall right now.

Late last year, Jlin’s music provided the soundtrack for a Rick Owens’s fashion show in Paris. In August she makes her debut as a live proposition at MoMA PS1 in New York City, then in October she is off to the Unsound Festival in Kraków, Poland.

Jlin isn’t surprised by footwork’s success overseas. “It’s time for the arts to come together. It’s all very related. It got separated when you started categorising,” Jlin explains. “It’s like distant family coming together to find out now who you are.”

Like RP Boo, DJ Spinn, and DJ Taye, Jlin sees no sign of footwork slowing its progression. Asked if she thinks about dancers when she is composing, she admits, “It depends. I used to all of the time, but now sometimes that’s not even the focus … I really go for impact.” Footwork’s impact is being felt from Chicago to Belgrade.

  • RP Boo’s Fingers, Bank Pads & Shoe Prints is out now on Planet Mu; DJ Spinn, Taso and Jessy Lanza’s You Never Show Your Love is out 24 July on Hyperdub

definition of juke by The Free Dictionary


 1 also jook  (jo͞ok, jo͝ok)Southeastern US


A roadside or rural establishment offering liquor, dancing, and often gambling and prostitution. Also called juke house, juke joint.

intr.v.juked, juk·ing, jukes also jooked or jook·ing or jooks

1. To play dance music, especially in a juke.

2. To dance, especially in a juke or to the music of a jukebox.

[Probably from Gullah juke, joog, disorderly, wicked, of West African origin; akin to Wolof dzug, to live wickedly, and Bambara dzugu, wicked.]

Word History: Gullah, the English-based Creole language spoken by people of African ancestry off the coast of Georgia and South Carolina, retains a number of words from the West African languages brought over by slaves. One such word is juke, "bad, wicked, disorderly," the probable source of the English word juke. Used originally in Florida and then chiefly in the Southeastern states, juke (also appearing in the compound juke joint) was an African-American word meaning a roadside drinking establishment that offers cheap drinks, food, and music for dancing and often doubles as a brothel. "To juke" is to dance, particularly at a juke joint or to the music of a jukebox whose name, no longer regional and having lost the connotation of sleaziness, contains the same word.


 2  (jo͞ok) Football

v. juked, juk·ing, jukes

To deceive or outmaneuver (a defending opponent) by a feint; fake.


To deceive or outmaneuver a defender by a feint.


A feint or fake.

[Middle English jowken, to bend in a supple way.]

American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.




a small roadside establishment that plays music and provides refreshments

Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014



v. juked, juk•ing,
n. v.t.

1. to make a move intended to deceive (an opponent) in football.


2. a fake or feint usu. intended to deceive a defensive player.

[1425–75; orig. Scots jowk, late Middle English, probably alter. of Scots dook duck2]

Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.

How to dance at a party: advice from British GQ editor-in-chief Dylan Jones

The main thing to remember when throwing yourself on the dance floor: no one is looking at you. Do not be afraid that you will be laughed at and that everyone is just waiting for you to get tangled in your own feet. Believe me, no one is interested in this, especially if you behave decently.

In the event that your dancing experience is zero - or if you once tried and did not like it - you need to learn two simple truths first. Firstly, women like it when a man dances well, so if you are a complete layman in this matter, you should strain yourself. Secondly, no one expects great things from you in all your endeavors. Personally, I am able to dance to anything, but when a DJ puts on I'm So Excited by The Pointer Sisters or something in the style of drum and bass, I immediately leave the dance floor. Not because I don't like such compositions - although at my age it would be forgivable - but because they are difficult to dance to. Not everyone can rock to any song, so if it has too many beats per minute, or a particularly jagged rhythm, or is too slow (like Just Be Good to Me by the SOS Band), feel free to go to the bar. Don't like reggae? Run to the toilet. Can't help laughing at the new Coldplay hit? Sit down.

If you don't know how to dance at all, but circumstances require it, move by feel. Do not kick your legs - work with your body; bending your elbows, squirm with dignity to the beat of the music. It's really easy! Soon you will become bolder and begin to vary your dance moves; do it in proportion. No one expects you to turn into John Travolta - all his exploits in "Saturday Night Fever" were staged by a professional choreographer, so you should not go out of your way.

A few more important points. Don't slow dance unless you're holding a woman in your arms. Don't try to act like Bruce Springsteen from the Dancing in the Dark video or Kevin Bacon from the movie Loose and dance like a rocker, throwing out your arms and legs at the same time, like a drunken doll. It would also be nice to learn some traditional dance - for example, tango. The easiest way to learn is the twist, which can be danced to anything from Chubby Checker to George Michael's Faith. Put your foot slightly in front of you and start spinning on it, wobbling your hips; then “screw” yourself into the floor without bending your back, and then “unscrew” back up in the same way.

If you want to learn something spectacular, try the Highland Fling, one of the oldest Scottish dances. Raise your left hand and use it to draw the letter "c" above your head. Place your right hand on your thigh so that the thumb is pointing down and the other fingers are pointing back. With the emphasis on the left leg, stretch the right leg all the way and make a quarter-turn jump. Place your right foot behind the ankle of your left and again jump in a quarter turn, stretching your right leg as far as possible to the right side. Then do another quarter-turn jump, keeping your right foot in front of your left ankle (toes pointing to the floor). Repeat the movement, changing the right leg to the left and vice versa.

When the song ends, bow gracefully with a George Clooney grin. And remember: courage and recklessness are not the same thing.

Photo: Mr Jones' Rules for the Modern Man © 2006 Dylan Jones. Published with permission from Hodder & Stoughton. Illustration: Mitt Roshin

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12 life hacks to quickly learn how to dance from Mamita Dance


Author: Pavel Sobiray
psychologist, salsa and tango teacher


Author: Pavel Sobiray
psychologist, salsa and tango teacher

At the start, you always want to get a quick result. When it doesn't happen, the hypothesis arises that everything takes time. After a conditionally acceptable time, humility comes to mastering pair dances, which, perhaps, is not given, and I will just do what I learned somehow.

This is the most common story of those who believe that the mere act of attending a pair dance class is enough to learn how to dance.
Absolutely not. If you want to really dance well, you have to make an effort outside of the dance class. A good teacher will definitely be needed, but the initiative should be on your side.

1. Listen to music

The most common and accessible advice that is given already in the first lessons. And it definitely works. Music creates a certain atmosphere of the dance and intuitively you want to move to it. It doesn't matter where you listen to music - in the car, on headphones while walking or doing household chores.

An addition that will help you dance better is your active participation in the music. Sing along, dance or simply beat musical accents with any free parts of the body. In the subway, for example, it is enough to tap out bright moments with your fingers, in the car to sing along with sounds, and at home you can jump for pleasure.

2. Watch videos of good dancers

It's complicated, but also obvious. It’s more difficult, because without recommendations from more experienced dancers, unfortunately, it’s not so easy to find a good quality video on the net (I mean not the resolution quality, but the content itself).

Meaningful video viewing is about building an understanding of HOW dancers make a particular impression on a partner or viewer. Technology is at the heart of everything. Understanding how the pros do it is a big step forward.

It is important to distinguish a show from a disco dance, a staged performance from an improvisation, a stylized dance from an authentic one, etc. Ask for recommendations and dance teachers will always throw off a couple of videos of worthy landmarks.

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3. Dance in salsatecas/milongas/discotheques

A very delicate moment when you should come to the first party. From a technical point of view, most students in 1-3 months have a sufficient set of figures and techniques to come and dance calmly. Psychologically, the same moment can be stretched out for an indefinite time. After all, it is imperative to “not lose face”, “learn more figures” and be sure what to do in case “there is an unfamiliar movement”.

In fact, the partygoers don't really care (except for a small layer of non-professional teachers who want to help inexperienced dancers by treating them as customers in the future). It is important to come and try dancing after a month of classes. You can only with friends or guys from your group. This will be enough to feel the adrenaline and inspiration from the dance.

4. Dance with partners or partners not of your level

The conventional wisdom that you need to practice in groups of your level does not withstand the test of experience. Perhaps now your eyes widened in surprise, and you want to meaningfully read the phrase again. Yes, you saw everything correctly: when you dance with a partner of your level, you don’t grow anywhere.

It's important to understand that not only does it work one way and you have to dance with cooler dancers, but it works even more effectively the other way. It is no coincidence that teaching pair dances dramatically raises the level of the teacher himself. You have an endless stream of very beginner dancers.

How it works. A more experienced partner needs to be "stretched". It's easy and obvious. With beginners, you need to take more initiative on yourself, see the general pattern of the dance more widely, turn on and insure more, try to be an example and be more careful. The quality of interaction begins to grow significantly. And wonderful partners too.

Dancing with partners of your level doesn't make you grow. Dance with beginners and more advanced dancers

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5. Learn to dance for a partner and for a partner

Turks and Argentines are one of the best partners in the world. In Russia, partners are highly valued. Why? The answer is simple. In Argentina and Turkey, it is not questionable for men to ask another man to lead in one piece or another and give feedback on the quality of the lead. For them, it will be a great shame to hear moralizing from a partner, or even more so to be known in the community as an insecure partner.

In Russia, due to the constant, often far-fetched, opinion that there are more women in pair dances, partners calmly get up and study their partner's part. Such partners then grow into very cool dancers and teachers. In no case do this at parties, only in class. Here we are talking only about the learning strategy. At parties, be yourself.

6. Do not memorize the links

Always try to look deeper and understand the through principle and idea of ​​movement. Understanding what and how is done will make it possible to independently generate any sequences and chips.

Human memory is limited and there will always be a moment when something will escape and your repertoire will be limited by the size of RAM.

In Argentine tango, for example, there are seven levels of movement construction that, when mastered, will allow you to make millions of combinations. And how many dance sequences can you really remember? In rueda, more than 150 figures dance in a rare circle. It's hard to keep more in mind.

7. Develop your body

Many years of experience in teaching couple dance shows that as soon as everyone pairs up in a class, any progress in individual style ends. But it is the individual style that distinguishes everyone at the disco: partners change, and style is always with you.

The body as the main instrument of dance must be very plastic, responsive and emotional. Surprisingly, not all pair dance schools have a general physical warm-up. It is vital to tune the body and understand how it works.

You can always train extra and concentrate more on the basic steps, as their true value is as body work. The sequence of steps is, in fact, the simplest thing that can be in pair dancing. The quality of individual performance determines the craftsmanship.

8. Try on the images of inspiring dancers

A psychological life hack for those who have already mastered the steps, but still feel that there is not enough brightness and drive. Most are terribly afraid of being someone else's "clone". Here the action is the same as under the influence of hypnosis - the more you resist, the more you plunge into an altered state of consciousness.

With a high degree of probability, you are already dancing like someone else's "clone". A meaningful fitting of someone else's image is that you mentally take the image of the one who inspires you (inspiration is critical in this case) and "put on" yourself. Then you start dancing and trying to feel in general how it is to be able, for example, to be the best partner or the sexiest partner in a disco. This is much more difficult than it seems. But it works extremely efficiently.

9. Dance to offbeat music

Habitual rhythms keep you tight. Tango salon or speedy timba leave little room for experimentation and fantasy. Pattern dancing is always noticeable and is reserved for beginners.

The truly new is born outside of the usual. Look for places to experiment. If there is no place, organize self-training. The main thing is not to get carried away, because music determines the style. We bring something new to pair dances, rather than trying to change them.

Search, improvise, don’t be afraid to go beyond, develop in different directions, be inspired by music atypical for style

10. Try your hand at basic dance directions

dances exist according to their own non-choreographic laws.

This is the deepest delusion, which has turned into a ceiling for the qualitative development of partner dances. After all, all professional dancers, for example, in salsa or bachata, build their ideas on the basic choreographic principles.

Do not think that choreography is only applicable on stage. Any meaningful movement of the body can be choreographic. In general, try classical or modern choreography. Basically, hip-hop can work too.

11. Look for battle sensations

Pair dances return us to an active position of manifestation of our body. As in the days of our ancient ancestors, we impress the members of the opposite sex by how dexterous, hardy, sexy, etc. we are. Modern laws of the jungle in the entourage of big cities.

If you look around the dance floor, it becomes clear that the majority are clearly herbivores (not in the sense of vegetarians, but in relation to those around them). I am sure that predators are always more interesting in terms of the attractiveness of the image - try to find a counterbalance among herbivores, for example, a cat woman or a lion man.

The conversation is about an internal position, not about aggressiveness. Lability and lack of control are inherent in adolescents, and not in adult self-sufficient people.

Accordingly, even a training or friendly battle gives, on the one hand, practical skills - to make a bright sequence of movements, bring an idea to a climax, show a spectacular feature, on the other hand, develops the psychological basis of the dance - self-confidence, resistance to extraneous attention, self-control and self-control in complex elements.

12. Communicate with professionals

The environment shapes the internal position. Basically, real passionaries of the dance community are ready to openly talk, discuss and support the development of dance in every possible way. Universal principles and the ideas they articulate have a much longer and more practical perspective than meets the eye.

Accept that, for example, behind the words "listen to your partner" is not only a beautiful metaphor, but also a practical skill to literally listen to your partner. At the same time, always treat every thought, even the most respected teacher, as a private opinion.

Your skill will lie in finding the scope of the idea even in conflicting opinions. Most often, the contradiction is speculative and the truth lies in the angle of perception or situationality.

Your dancing growth will stop sooner or later. This can happen at the level of three basic steps or years of experience in teaching and show performances.

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