In 2002 I fell in love with the sounds of house, which stimulated my infatuation with house dancing. I grew up in a household in which boogaloo, popping, breaking, and hip-hop were being practiced by my brother and of course my mother, who is an old school popper. Dance was a key part of my cultural development and falling in love with the house culture introduced me to house dancing…my favorite abstract expression.
As a child taking ballet, modern, lyrical, and variants of jazz, I had always had a passion for dancing. While my brother, choreographer Jamile McGee, took dance serious and made it his career, I on the other hand didn’t pursue it as a career. But my lifestyle of house music led me to discovering a unique freedom and abstract expression within the atmospheric beats of house. House dancing is one of my favorite styles of dance and I do refer to myself as a house dancer.
Now, within house dancing you’ve got legends like Brian “Footwork” Green, Ejoe Wilson, Tony McGregor, Marjory Smarth, Caleaf Sellers and “Brooklyn” Terry Wright that are professional house dancers, but I think anyone and everyone who lets house move them is a house dancer. Yes, there are technical moves in the foundations of house, which including footwork, jacking, and lofting, but aside from having the skills down, house is truly a feeling; there is no right or wrong way to house.
You see, the beauty of house is the unlimited potential to express yourself. Whatever the beat compels your soul to feel, your body knows how to naturally respond. Even if you do have some 8 counts prepared, you still get lost in the music and the spirit of house moves your body.
This fluid expression in house dance results in so many different styles of house dancing. You can spend hours on YouTube (like I do) and see so many different house dancers with their own style. While one might be more driven to do footwork, another dancer might be more soulful and loose with big expressions via the arms and torso. It all really depends on how the track moves you at the moment.
With the freedom of mind, body, and soul being priority, that doesn’t mean house dance is obsolete from competition; the vibe of competing is less aggressive and more in the spirit of happiness. Events such as House Dance International and House Dance Forever bring house dancers, spectators, novices, and house aficionados from around the world together to compete, share music, and keep the culture thriving.Competition can be fierce, but there is still a level of joy and spiritual freedom in the competitors that you might not see in a hip-hop battle.
House dance is all about letting the music take control and losing all inhibitions; nothing is off limits, no style or movement is considered “wrong.” You could be jacking one moment, then throwing in a hint of vogue followed by some african movement. Now, there are battles and styles such as vogue and wacking that are often in their own categories at events, but freestyle and experimental rounds allow for anything and everything…in the spirit of house.
So, as you can see, I can keep going on a long-winded explanation of house dance and the art of it. But I’d rather let the videos do the rest of the talking. So I leave you with this. You know how you walk into an art gallery and you see that insane abstract piece that makes no sense, yet it speaks to you? Well, that’s the spirit of house. House is that weird abstract painting that inspires you to stare, speak, or even pick up a brush and let the innate emotion move your limbs…jack your body.