So if you’ve been a long time Groove Therapy dancer, chances are you’ve heard of, or dabbled in, house dance. But what is it exactly?
The history of house
House dance is a social street dance that was born on the underground club dance floors of Chicago and New York in the 1970s and 1980s. It is a post-disco-era genre. Disco had been alive for some 10 years at that point and had fallen victim to commercialisation and, with that, racial and sexual tensions.
So, the people bit back, denouncing disco and everything it represented. This paved the way for many new styles of musical and movement expression, including hip hop and house.
In typical street dance fashion, House dance is born from a melting pot of different ethnic, cultural and musical walks of life coming together on the dance floor and this bled into the way the dance style was created. This is a style heavily focused on footwork meaning a lot of influence is pulled from Afro, Latin and jazz roots.
So what makes any dance freestyle a house freestyle?
The main emphasis of house is on your ability to improvise, so it’s one of the most forgiving street dance styles in your freedom to ‘break the rules’ without being called out for ‘disrespecting the roots.’
There are three main elements of house; jacking, footwork and lofting.
Jacking is the ‘groove’ that is synonymous with house. It follows a rocking motion, almost crossed with a body roll. Which you can see at 0:09 seconds into this video:
Footwork is what the name suggest; footwork and the main signifier of a house dancer. Because this is a street dance style born from minority groups in NYC and Chicago, you can see a lot of latin, tap, afro and jazz influence in the footwork because style is literally the result of a melting pot of subcultures living together and dancing under the one roof.
Lastly, lofting is characterised by fluidity, often through the way a dancer moves in and out of the floor. It’s so deeply rooted in a feeling that it was a solid struggle to find a good example video online. So here’s a random video lesson for you to actually learn some lofting at home!
Where to learn some house?
House is so footwork heavy that it can fry your brain the first few times you attempt a lesson. This is not a reflection of your dance ability, but more an area of your brain that needs to train in processing fast footwork.
For this reason, we launched, not one, but two online house courses.
How our courses are different
Our courses are aimed at non-dancers, i.e dancers who don’t have a long standing background in studio training. This means we break down the elements of house dance differently and incorporate different teaching styles to accomodate for different learning styles.
Lessons include; verbal explanations, repetition and drills to music, written explanations and extra resources for those who are interested to go into reserach holes.
In any case, it’s a beautiful dance style and we highly recommend getting amongst your own footwork to some of these killer tracks curated by us: