Wednesdays 6-7pm @ 812 Chestnut
Waacking is a dance created in the clubs of LA during the disco era. It was made and pioneered by Black men living on the West Coast. It was featured on shows like Soul Train and in movies like 'BreakIn’ Electric Boogaloo'. Currently, waacking is a global phenomenon, practiced by all walks of life. It's loved by many for its joyous, flirtatious and bold nature. It's a dance style about flair, character and sexiness. Technically, it is centered around poses, intricate arm maneuvers and grooves. It's a great style for experienced beginners and above. You'll walk away from waacking class feeling a sense of jubilee and love. Come get funky with Waacking at UMA
Learn more about Dylan and what to expect from his class below!
-When did you start dancing/ how did you get involved in dance?
Since baby times, I have always been a lover of rhythm and movement. I entered the world of dance via the side-door that is capoeira and martial arts. I started training capoeira at age 11 and trained very seriously for a decade. I've always been a "dancer" and a performer but capoeira was my only formal movement training until my twenties when I fell in with a group of cool contemporary/acro dancers. Fun fact: I originally moved to Philly a decade ago (!!) to teach capoeira at my teacher's academy.
-I first learned about waacking around 5 years ago here at Urban Movement Arts via the man himself Vince Johnson. #sparkletap.
-How do you go about creating choreo for your classes? What inspires you? What music do you like to use?
In addition to a dancer, I am a percussionist and a vocalist, and I'm always inspired and driven first and foremost by the music. One expression of my particular flavor of neuro-spiciness is that when I fall in love with a song (aka get obsessed), I will listen to it non-stop, sometimes literally on repeat, sometimes for months on end, because I have a desire to get fully inside it and feel and hear every nuance and every moment of rhythmic or harmonic complexity. Waacking to me is one of the best styles to really SHOW the music, and not just the sounds, beats, melodies, etc. but also to show how the music makes you FEEL. And I can't even describe how good it feels when you know a song inside and out, and you can just let the music take over and guide you.
Waacking was born of disco culture, and disco is its original inspirator, but I listen to and am inspired by music of any and all genres, so while we will certainly use disco to find our groove, we will be dancing to lots more than just disco.
-What draws you to the style of Waacking?
As a queer person, the roots of this dance resonate deeply with me. This dance was created by queer Black and brown men+ in LA in the 70s in the one place they could safely live in and be witnessed as the fullest expression of their selves - in the club AKA queer church. I usually hesitate to make this comparison because I don't think anything can or should replace good ol' sit-down-and-process-your-shit-with-a-professional therapy, but in many ways, this shit IS therapy - which makes sense given the social conditions that necessitated its creation: the extreme racism, homophobia and transphobia that those Black and brown men probably experienced every day of their lives. In Waacking, you get to hone in on and dial up (or down) any particular part(s) or aspect(s) of your being you want. If you wanna turn up the volume on your sexiness, DO IT! If you wanna lean into how effing tired and exhausted you feel that day, DO IT! The opportunity to touch and express your rage, grief, joy, desire, pleasure, lust, sadness, quite literally anything you want, is an inherently foundational principle of Waacking thanks to its queer and non-white origins. It is ALL not only welcomed but encouraged here. Waacking offers a beautiful container to safely explore, feel into, or express and be witnessed in whatever emotion or part of you you want.
-What do you want folks who take your class to take away from your class? And/ or what kind of vibe do you hope to cultivate in your classes?
What Waacking offers, to me, is an opportunity to release and express, but also, possibly more importantly, an opportunity to connect and cultivate a deeper relationship with oneself via the music and the movement. I am not a person for whom self-esteem comes naturally, and Waacking was truly the key to my "fake it til you make it" journey into deep and authentic self-confidence and self-love (an ongoing process, of course). You know how people are always like "I love taking dance classes because I don't FEEL like I'm exercising while i'm doing it, but I am!"? Waacking is like "I don't FEEL like i'm cultivating deeper love and appreciation for myself while i'm doing it, but I am!" Like you're doing it whether you realize it or not because those things are inherently part of this style. As you learn to listen to the music in new, different and deeper ways, you start to listen to and process your own physical, emotional and psychological experiences in new and deeper ways as well. As you develop new neuro-muscular pathways (AKA coordination) by learning difficult polyrhythmic arm techniques, shapes, and grooves, you expand your capacity to move through the world because you have more choices available to you. No other practice has affected so many different aspects of my own life, in and out of the dance studio, as Waacking has. Not only will you become a better dancer, a better listener, a better musician, but you will also become a better YOU.
-Anything you want to add?
Dylly's pro tip: I tell all my classes, the quickest, easiest and most effective change you can make towards being a better dancer, mover, and a better human in general is to start brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand. NEW NEURAL PATHWAYS, y'all. PS You should film yourself doing it the first time you do.. iykyk!
You can sign up for Waacking with Dylan via the 812 Chestnut Schedule page here using a drop in, membership, intro month, or class card pack!