ReFresH Dance

Catchin’ a Groove

Sup ReFresH.

The following is a video of bboy Alien Ness talking about the concept of groove, but I think this applies to all forms of dancing.  So, enjoy!

I think Ness highlights a really important aspect of dance that has kind of been lost in this new wave of technicality.  I guess this contemporary emphasis on cleanliness, however important, has come with sort of a trade-off.

But I think as dancers, we all need to remember that the main goal of dancing is expression.  Sure, it’s really important to mechanically train moves over and over again in order to get them clean.  But remember, moves are simply tools one uses to better express themselves.  The next step is to use these moves to express character and personality coherently.

As Ness calls it, it’s the idea of moves vs movement.  It isn’t just about a move, nor is it about individual concepts like threading or hitting the beats.  (*sidenote* – did you know that “hitting the beats” is a new school concept.  The idea actually came from younger generations misinterpreting the older generation telling them to “dance on beat.”  Obviously the phrase has a completely different meaning now, but back then it meant to feel the rhythm of the music when you dance.)

So basically in this video, he’s talking about how back in the day, the OGs would be feelin’ it just dancin’ it up at the block party with the rest of their neighborhood, havin’ a good time.  And when it got time to break, they still had that rhythm and that feeling.  Today, “you got a lot of breakers that could do a million headspins, but they can’t dance with a girl in the club.”  You could “teach a chihuahua how to spin one one foot, but you can’t teach that chihuahua how to catch a groove.”

According to Ness, the main element that’s missing in a lot of dancers today is spirit–and I think he’s right.  I mean, I hate using that term, because it does kinda sound like a load of superstitious, almost pseudo-scientific, crap.  But it’s true.  You know, they say that when someone is uncomfortable, or in a bad mood, or really happy about something, however much he tries to conceal it, his true emotions manifests itself in little forms of micro-expressions on his face and body language.  The same goes for dance.  If you’re not feelin’ it, then it shows in your dance.

Every dance style has its own unique character, feeling, and approach.  Bboys and bgirls take on a more raw and aggressive approach, while lockers have adapted a goofy and funky character.  House dancing is all about that up-lifting feel-good kind of sentiment, while ballet takes on a more aristocratic and elegant proposition.  In the end, it all comes down to feeling.

Believe me, when you start seeing dance in these terms, everything will become clearer.

Peace and love everyone!



February 8, 2010 - Posted by | Other


  1. freestyle… is the essence of expression

    Comment by dreamstatecheung | February 9, 2010 | Reply

  2. Btw, everyone. The guy on the left is Afrika Bambaata–one of the founders of Hip-hop culture.

    Who better to describe the essence of Hip-hop culture than the original innovators.

    Comment by joefasho | February 11, 2010 | Reply

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