Do You Hashtag Dance?

It’s 2015, and by now everyone in the world knows how to hashtag. Not even most grandparents call it a number sign anymore. It’s pretty amazing how quickly something will catch on, and spread clear across the planet. A trend by definition: A general direction in which something is developing or changing, or even simpler, something gets everyone’s attention very quickly, but usually for a very short time (You know, kind of like most men).

On Wednesdays, we wear Pink

Dance, of course, falls victim to the trending-trend by way of new dance craze. Anyone that knows the Gangnam Style dance, knows exactly what I mean. But while social dancing has always been a “thing”, lately it’s become more of a cool-kids club exclusive to the “Plastics” of the dance world: You’re either IN, or (insert ‘Mean Girls’ reference about who you can’t sit with here). Certainly, there’s a culture that comes with knowing what’s new and hot, and with dance styles like Street Jazz and Commercial dance gaining a lot of popularity, it just comes with the territory. The question becomes then, how does the Nae-Nae effect the state of structured dance? And how is the Whip and Harlem Shake themselves effected?

On my block

Back in the day, social dances like the YMCA were meant to be inclusive for everyone. White people didn’t understand a word of the Macarena, yet they flocked to the dance floor to move their hips in that circular motion followed by that little direction change hop. It was fun, and it was international. Not all social dances are made to be popular, however, and understandibly so. Once someone say, Twerks on a television show, the mainstream gods claim the dance as their own, and the dynamic (along with the demographic) changes. It’s no wonder street dancers like to keep some of these dances to themselves. Obviously that’s not always the case, so as it happens, popular choreographers and teachers get wind of what’s new in certain neighborhoods, and take those trends into the studios where something I call the “stripping” happens:

In order to teach someone a brand new concept, it must be broken down into tiny fragments that can be built upon. This is great for technique and for reinforcement, but when a dance is supposed to be more of a feel good, free movement step, it tends to loose some of it’s essence. It suddenly becomes “right” or “wrong”, and a lot of it’s unique style is left behind.

“Now Watch Me..”

How about those teachers that put social dances in ALL of their choreography? Sure, it will gain recognition because it’s trending (at the moment), but too many choreographers rely on the demand of what’s popular to drive their craft. These are the people that teach popular combos to gain a following, that while necessary, can negatively affect the up coming dancers looking to those teachers as mentors. Knowing how to do popular dances is great, but what can you gain for a dance career? Can you really say you taught someone something if they can watch a Youtube video and pick it up? That’s up to the individual I suppose. Let’s see…

Did you get it?

For those who use social dances, live your life! I love the inner-city culture of creating your own thing. Just beware of becoming a

“Hashtag dancer”

But again, who am I to say right?

I just move.