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Hardcore dancing

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Example of hardcore dancing Example of hardcore dancing

Hardcore dancing is a form of mosh (or slam dancing), an activity performed in a mosh pit at hardcore music shows. Generally the dancing is done to certain visceral parts of hardcore songs specially written to make the audience move around. Common names for these parts are "breakdowns", "beatdowns", "throwdowns" and "two-steps."

Some common derogative terms for said dance are "Ninja Dancing" (named because the dancers look like they are fighting invisible Ninja), "Karate Dancing", and "Straight-edge Ballet".

The practice grew mostly out of the East Coast hardcore scene, especially in New York City. Besides the usual mosh pit routine of pogoing and crashing into each other, participants enjoyed floorpunching to the beat when a slower, more groovy riff was being played. During shows by bands like Gorilla Biscuits, Agnostic Front, Sheer Terror, and Killing Time, this style of dancing was common. In the following years as bands incorporated slower syncopated, metallic rhythms into their songs, the modern "breakdown" and the dancing that went with it was introduced. Sometimes called "kickbox moshing" by its detractors, hardcore dancing now included violent windmills with the arms, karate style spinkicks, and "crowdkills", the act of simply tackling a group of non dancing onlookers, sometimes into the wall. Early Earth Crisis and Biohazard shows were extremely common areas for such activity. Nowadays hardcore dancing is mostly done by fans of the extreme "toughguy" or "metalcore" versions of hardcore

The two-step is also common in hardcore dancing. It is used exclusively during mid-tempo punk rock styled riffs and beats (for a good example of such a beat listen to "Safety Dance" by Men Without Hats. Much like the two step in breakdancing or country line dancing, it involves placing one foot in front of the other and hopping forward onto it, then repeated with the other foot, etc. Combined with forward thrusts by the arm opposite to the forward-stepping foot, the dance creates a sort of "running in place" illusion. The move is commonly practiced and refined to look slick or interesting. The "two step," was taken from another form of dancing known to ska music, "skanking."

Example of hardcore dancing Example of hardcore dancing

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Regional differences

Example of hardcore dancing Example of hardcore dancing

Because of the vast difference in "scenes" around the world, different levels and styles of dancing are noticeable to the trained eye. For example, Baltimore and New York hardcore crowds are noted for dancing "hard" but also being somewhat respectful and not aiming to cause damage, start fights, or hurt people. Many New Jersey and Philadelphia fans are known for looking down on all forms of harcore dancing, and generaly engage in moshing and heavy drinking. Richmond, Virginia hardcore fans (militia crew) and Virginia Beach, Virginia usually dance "hard" with a lot of headwalking, floorstomping, stage diving and other crowdkilling moves, which sometimes leads to fighting. Petersburg, Virginia has more of a positive hardcore dancing scene using more of the two-step, penny pick-up and "ninja-fighting" and will lend a hand if a fellow dancer falls. Crowds in Indianapolis, Indiana (appropriately nicknamed “The Circle City” for the talent in its circle pits) are known for their highly technical, rhythmic dancing, spin kicks, and crowd kills along with violent headwalking. Some West Coast hardcore fans are known for apathy towards being skillful or violent and simply do it to have a good time. In the South, dancing styles from the more posi or unviolent forms found in Austin, Texas, to the anti-posi (violent, reckless behavior) of fans in Dallas, Texas and Charlotte, North Carolina.

Along with different styles of dancing, there are also a few variations of each "move" depending on where you are. For instance, there are variations of the traditional "two-step", such as the "Maryland two-step" which originated in Maryland but is now gaining popularity throughout the eastern US.

At Pressure Festival '05 in Germany, a young man died after someone kicked him in the stomach in a hardcore dancing pit. This caused some negative attention, but afterwards it appeared that it had nothing to do with the 'mosh pit', it had something to with his weak heart.


Other differences are with the "Straight Edge Kids/Dancers." In certain areas, these dancers no longer care if a person is hit, hurt, dancing or not. If you are different than those who are in straight edge uniform; such as wearing a bandanna or having longer hair (not extremly long either, even just bangs would justify)or are new to the pit; many will ensure that you get hit while dancing.

Criticism

Example of hardcore dancing Example of hardcore dancing

With such seemingly violent behavior comes controversy. To those uninitiated or unfamiliar with this style of dancing, it can look like a very big fight. Many bar and club owners will not book hardcore shows because of the violent connotations of hardcore dancing. Some book shows completely ignorant to its existence and end up shutting the show down because of the violence, or even because of actual damage done to the venue or its property. Many fans of regular punk rock, heavy metal, and older or retro versions of hardcore detest hardcore dancing, opting for more of a traditional slam dance in their pits, usually because hardcore dancing is not meant to emulate metal but get away from it, and also to perpetuate the HxC philosophy "Screw the straight edge kids and their P***y moshing". This often leads to verbal and physical confrontations when two or more crowds are mixed and each is attempting to mosh in their own style, with each crowd often ignoring or trying to "outmosh" others.

Technique

Example of hardcore dancing Example of hardcore dancing

There are many different styles or "moves", in hardcore dancing. The most popular, arguably, is the "two-step", which involves thrusting your arm opposite to the leg you are moving forward. There are many variations of the two-step which can be seen throughout different scenes and cities. Also popular is the "windmill", a more dangerous move often frowned upon at many old-school and posi shows. It is basically as it is described, creating a windmill effect by throwing your fists around. It can be performed by swinging the fists in a forward motion, reverse, and can also be accompanied by double stomping back and forth across the pit or in place. The "axehandle" is also a common variation, which involves swinging both arms in and out as if you were wildly swinging a large axe. Among many of the moves most commonly seen is the "floorpunch", which, as the name implies, is a basic move in which the dancer punches at the floor. It is usually accompanied with stomping across the pit or stomping in place, and can include fists thrown back in a deliberate attempt to strike anyone behind you. "Picking up pennies" is similar to the floorpunch, but rather than throwing hard shots at the floor, you instead use open hands and reach around to your backside as if to give the illusion of grabbing pennies off the floor and stuffing them into your pockets. "Crowd-killing" is popular among many "tough guys". It can be as simple as running back and forth and slamming into people on the outskirts of the pit, or as elaborate as one dancer picking another up by the waist and walking him around the pit as he bicycle kicks non-dancers in the head. "Windmill kicks" are a common occurrence and can also be used as a crowd killing technique when done along the edge of the pit. It is your basic every day spinning karate kick, usually done several times in a row or during a sequence of different moves. Grabbing or punching at the air is a common move usually among the metalcore crowd. It can also be performed as a karate chop while almost "crab-walking" across the pit. One of the newest moves to pop up, and also one of the most ridiculed, is the "bucking wheelbarrow" or the "wild lawnmower", in which one dancer gets down on all fours and another dancer grabs his legs at the knee or thigh. The dancer on the ground then pushes himself up and swings his fists while the other pulls him up. "Head Walking" also, is a different kind of stage diving where whoever is doing it instead of throwing itself to be carried by the crowd, they will literally walk over people's heads stepping wildly as they go. Most of these different dance moves are not meant to injure anyone, but performed incorrectly or in a deliberate attempt to harm someone, they can be very dangerous and violent.

Examples in media

Some bands (including popular ones) have included examples of dancing in their videos. New York hardcore punk band Sick Of It All (though not critical of dancing, as their early shows surely brought just as much hardcore dancing as any band) featured a tongue-in-cheek "how to" parody of dancing in their music video for "Step Down." AFI exposed hardcore dancing to a very wide audience with their MTV video for "The Leaving Song, Pt. 2." In addition, one can easily find videos taken by fans at various hardcore punk shows by typing "dancing" or "mosh" into the Kazaa or Soulseek search programs. Of the many videos found on there, among the most popular are 3 preview videos for DVDs put out by the Guerilla Warfare Video Fanzine. All three feature a large array of dancing clips, including people literally bouncing off the wall, circle pitting, and even various injuries, filmed all over the world.

a more recent example, the band Fall Out Boy in attempt to remain true to their hardcore backgrounds, feature hardcore dancers in their video for Saturday

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Music Sound, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.


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