So I was watching this somewhat interesting 10 minute mini-documentary from Size TV on Steve Angello. There are scenes of him fiddling around in his studio, performing at a gig in Brazil and speaking candidly about his (temporary?) loss of hearing.

It’s the “sensitive” side of Steve.

While waxing poetic on the beauty of analog and toying with ear-piercing squelches on his synthesizers, he says something that catches my attention:

90 percent of new dance fans today miss that whole thing… When everything was super funky. If you think about it people don’t even dance anymore. They’re just jumping. And that’s awesome. But there’s a gap where that kind of music used to be.

That was a lightbulb moment for me; I had observed something interesting at the more traditional house sets at recent festivals.

For instance, at this past weekend’s Wavefront, I saw Mark Farina and Derrick Carter’s awesome tag team set accompanied by a noticeable lack of movement. In fact, if you watch several videos taken of them, there are a few comments about people’s dancing being reserved. (For those not aware of Chicago’s Wavefront Festival, the dynamic duo was at the House Heritage stage, while the other 5 stages carried other genres of electronic dance music.)

My take? It’s not for the younger kids’ lack of a good time. They were certainly excited and attentive. I think they were just… physically confused. Since much of the millenial generation (those born somewhere between 1982-2000s) was probably fed on big room sounds, harder and more chaotic, with intense buildups and the eventual release of a breakdown likened to that of a bacchanalian orgy, subtlety is often a stranger to them.

Served anything with a consistent rhythm sans epic upswings and dramatic drops, it’s as if they’ve become nervous. They are in constant need of sonic cues, musical stimulation that tells them to Jump here!Wave Your Hands in the air now!Bounce!Scream!Rage!

So when you really think about it, their “dance” vocabulary is usually limited to…well… jumping up and down. (Sorry hula hoop girls, poi dancers and glow stick experts. You are the exception.) Perhaps, like overly crowded rock concerts of yesteryear, the only economic way to move is vertically.

Thank God for the acts that demonstrate to neophytes the intricacies of a slower ride, a head nodding funk, and the sweetness of a laid back groove.

I do believe if Mark Farina started vigorously pumping his fist or Derrick Carter got to kicking his mixer in time with the lights, the kids would have lost it…

On a lighter note:

 

  • Spence

    Totally agree with you. Very insightful article.

    • Czboogie

      Thank you Spence!

  • Ian Michael Enriquez

    I did a presentation on social dancing when I got my dance degree and for
    decades it has been a direct reflection on the social roles between men
    and women. Everything from how tightly men controlled women in the
    waltz to getting more freedom in the swing to dancing independently for
    the first time in the 60s with the twist. With a growing value for independence, the hip hop dance scene had people dancing completely separately and in recent years the growing sexualization in our culture has brought about twerking. Also we are becoming more and more of a youth culture so it is no surprise that something as simple and childish as jumping around becomes commonplace. It is certainly a great way to alienate adult dancers.

    • Czboogie

      Thank you for sharing Ian…excellent points!

  • Tony

    Funny thing, a few weeks ago I’ve mentioned this on my board basically saying why call this music “EDM” when no one is really dancing around! Seeing the Ultra Music Festival streams, you saw the bouncing and fist pumping, the girls on top of their boyfriend’s shoulders waving around. BUT NO DANCING!

    Thank you! I thought I was the only one that really went deep to observe this 🙂

    • Czboogie

      Thanks Tony! You know I was thinking too that a lot of this “festival” music is really not made for down and dirty gritty basements. The sound is way too “big”.

  • Joey D

    I was with you at Mark and Derrick’s set…..and we certainly were dancing! A beautifully articulated point that seems to go unnoticed amidst all the festivals, summertime noise, etc. Here’s my take on it: I’m glad they’re there and I’m glad they’re standing and listening (to some really good stuff), but the final step is throwing down without a care in the world and celebrating what we stand for. What’s the old saying? You can take a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink? Love you CZ!

    • Czboogie

      Agreed Joey D! That was a really magical day and night for me, will never forget it. Love you Joey!

  • Lolo the impaler

    Straight White people dance? Nah right!

  • DJ Shiva

    Why the kids don’t dance: because this overblown big festival garbage music has no groove and no soul. Can’t move the hips without a groove.

  • Panzer-Mk1

    Sadly for Chicago, the kids don’t dance because the old folks won’t let the new kids on the block play and be heard. Instead they are barred from good gigs either because they are not friends of so-and-so, have drugs, or have something NEW and interesting. Every gig is the same. Same DJs, same clique, same tunes, same producers. Nobody wants to show up to the same BS each week at the same gig. Why Porn and Chicken has done well? Support for the closet DJs and producers. Not the same names each and every week. Everybody gets a spotlight and a chance to be heard.

  • You ever see video footage of rave kids in the 90’s…remember the boxstep? Remember when in the middle of a rave you would have dance battles? Not anymore.