They say that once you waack, you never go back—or if they don’t, they should. If “waacking” hasn’t yet entered your vocabulary, here’s the short version. This dance form is a cousin to vogueing that emerged in the LGBT clubs of disco-era Los Angeles. It’s fast and driven by the upper half the body, with an emphasis on swinging arms and popping chests. Do a quick internet video search, and you’ll see how deliciously sassy (and speedy!) the dance style can be.
We stuck with the basics and tried the beginner’s class at Step Up Dance, in a brightly-lit office complex on Yan’an Lu. This dance studio caught our eye with its range of classes you’d be hard-pressed to find elsewhere, with names like strip plastic, dancehall and femme vogue. Classes here can be as small as three bodies and as large as 10. They cost RMB128 drop-in, RMB980 for an unlimited one-month pass and so on. Contact the studio directly for more detailed pricing information.
Beginning waacking is taught on Sundays by Brazilian firecracker Gabi, who also teaches Dancehall. She leads students through a brief round of specialized stretches before launching into the choreography, which takes up the majority of the hour-long class. Waacking, true to the era it sprung from, is done to an upbeat disco soundtrack—our class got down to the tune of “September” by Earth, Wind and Fire. Despite claiming that her English skills are limited, Gabi breaks down the moves effectively, emphasizing each pop and lock with an amusing “voom” and “cha.” We do wish she’d be a bit harder on latecomers, however. Missing a warm-up means a higher risk for injury—plus it’s no fun for anyone
having a latecomer darting through your personal dance bubble mid-arm swing.
Note that the attire policy is totally flexible, so don’t be afraid to drop in wearing your street gear. Considering this dance is largely in the arms, we’re surprised at how much sweat you can work up during class. Nevertheless, it best benefits those who want to acquire some new dance moves. Exercise is just a fortunate side effect. The class moves quick, but the moves do stick.
Where: Step Up Dance
Address: Room 207, 596 Yan'an Zhong Lu (near Shimen Yi Lu) 延安中路 596 207 室 (近石门一路)
Tel: 2195 1356
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