Genre Buzz: Celebrating the Waacking style of street dance

Korean Dancers Ari and Cuchi, the Waacking and Voguing Team: "Let It Pose"

The dance style called Waacking involves fast and dynamic movements of the arms, which resemble the wrist roll in locking but more exaggerated and extended.  This style of dance also incorporates sharp angular poses, which is called Voguing, a style commonly done together with Waacking.  Essentially, I like to think of waacking as elements of jazz dance combined with locking because of the distinct arm actions and styling involved.

This dance video features the styling combination of voguing and waacking.  Enjoy!

The roots of the Waacking style of street dance traces back to gay and nightclub cultures. In the United States, at gay nightclubs, male performers dressed as women and performed to female songs on stage. Movements of the performers were so creative that it was only a matter of time before Waacking made its way into mainstream nightclubs, as a way of the dancefloor and earned its approval amongst other sexualities, especially straight. Waacking is often wrongly considered a style of House dance.

Disco Music was the perfect vehicle for Waacking, with its driving rhythms and hard beats. In the early 1970s in Los Angeles, dancer Lamont Peterson was one of the first to start using his arms and body to the music. Dancers such as Mickey Lord, Tyrone Proctor and Blinky fine tuned the arms movements, by making the arms and hands go fast to the driving disco beat. During the mid 1970s club dancers Tinker, Arthur, Andrew, Lonnie Carbajal, Michael Angelo, Billy Starr, Billy Goodson, Danny Logo, took center stage with others dancers perfecting those synchronize syncopated movements.

At the time Waacking was primarily a gay Black and Latino dance. Many people mistakenly believe that “Waacking” came from “Locking” because some of the movements are very similar. The Gay community is solely responsible for the creation of Waacking style of dance. Waacking and Locking do have some similarities but they are different dances. Waacking is the original name of the dance. Punking is a name set forth by the non gay community that mixed in movements from locking. Some Locking style dance instructors eventually started to teach Punking classes also. Many new dancers assumed that it it was part of the Locking style.

The name “Waacking “originated from The Soul Train Dancer Tyrone Proctor and Jeffrey Daniel’s of the Outrageous Waack Dancer’s in 1972 themselves (Because of the thrusting of the arms). “Garbo” is another name given to the dance by Andrew because of the posing he did (like the pictures of the glamour women of the 40’s) Arthur, Andrew and Tinker danced sometime on Soul Train. While working with Toni Basil, (An Original Locker). Andrew, Arthur, Tinker, Lonnie, and Billy landed the Diana Ross show in Las Vegas.

The difference between “Waacking” and “Voguing” is “Waacking” became popular in the early 70’s on the West Coast. “Waacking” is mostly done to Disco Music. “Voguing” became popular in the late 70’s on the East Coast.”Voguing” is done to mostly House music.

Over 35 years “Waacking” is still going strong with the help of dancers like Tyrone “The Bone” Proctor, Adolfo “Shabbadoo” Quninones, Jody Watley, Anna “Lollipop” Sanchez, Brian “Footwork”Green, Angel and Tyrone’s Son Aus Spottedeagle A.K.A Aus “Ninja” Omni, and Samara Lockerooo just to name a few. When the Gay Community moved on from “Waacking” these were some of the people who help keep this Dance form alive for more than 35 years.

By Dawn Paap

4 Responses to “Genre Buzz: Celebrating the Waacking style of street dance”

  1. Loooove that video–those danish girls rock. I know Perry Dance Center has Waacking classes…wonder where else?

  2. Thank You! Nicely written! I’d like to add the influence of house music & dance in the current scene of this style… Yes, the style & arm movements flow nicely with moves from house, vogueing, as well as African dance & Afro-beat. Many wonderful dancers in the house dance scene incorporate this style. You mentioned the house of Omni & I’d just like to mention my friend, who once gave me the aka Vanilla Ultra Omni… Vintaj, beautiful dancer & human being. Rest in peace. Happy Holidays house dance family & world dance-music family. Peace & 1Love ~ Liz Let’s represent @ D.P.2011!

  3. Hi Greg!
    I’m not sure but I think Broadway Dance. And then there’s House Dance Conference. They have workshops in waacking, vogue, hustle, and house.
    Hope you’re well! Happy Holidays! 1Love, Liz

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