Rave dancing is a loosely defined dance-style which has more in common with grooving than traditional dance. Since it is so new and loosely defined, I have chosen to divide it into two main genres:

  • HipHop - The hiphop style of dancing is derived(you guessed it) from the beat-oriented hip-hop styles. There are classes offered in this, but I'll assume you're either too poor or lazy to sign up for these (or both, like me.)(Besides, hip hop ain't about taking classes. Sheeeat.)

    • the crouch - go in a semi-squat with your back hunched over and your knees at about 110 degrees; your head is bent down. Listen for the beat, assuming it's a derivative of the 'four on the floor' you'll make your key move at the first and third beat.
      • sway - with the first beat, start moving your legs together, to the point where your knees almost touch. One hit will pass in the middle, by the third key hit your legs should be at their closest location. Move them back apart, one hit passes in the middle of the movement, with the next one bring them together again. Out(one), middle(two), together(three), middle(four), Out(one), etc. The motion must be fluid, never stopping, always poppin'... anyway.
        Move your hands in syncronization with your legs - but instead of stopping in the middle move them apart again. Done right, it will give the appearance of your knees having passed each other. Nifty, huh?
      • Checkit - do the same swaying bit as above, but when you hit the middle turn your whole body sideways, leaning away from whatever you'll be pointing to. Make a paper-football goal (big "U" / two "L" / thumb at 90 degree from index finger) thingie with both your hands, move them slightly apart and point your indexies at the target, possibly moving them with the beat.
      • In my face - lean back / forward, spread your hands out in front of your face as if you're trying to push something back / down. Look impressed or disgusted - but know that the second can be seen as an invitation to battle (which is probably a bad, bad idea at this point.)
    • Breaking - waaay beyond the scope of this writeup. Practice at home with people skilled at breakdancing, look in this here internet for videoclips and descriptions of moves and practice, practice, practice.
    • general notes - It's really trivial what you do, as long as you stay with the beat and the motions are smooth. Watch others, give props and practice their moves until you master them. While it's a bad idea to flat out bite someone's style, gather good influences.

  • Rave - this is the newest of dances and thereby (or because of its non-structual sound) the least defined. Being fully DIY regarding moves, it can be hard to first start dancing - most people around you will have found their styles and have perfected them in their own eyes. The only things that distinguish a good dancer from a beginning one are fluidity, exact repetition/beat allignment and CONFIDENCE. The last usually arises out of the realization that people go to raves not to impress others but to groove to music and enjoy the atmosphere. So do the same... dance the way you feel. Keeping that your utmost priority, here are some moves you can integrate and toy with:

    • handwave / knucklewave - slide your fingers past each other so your fingernails allign with the knuckles of the opposite hand. Flatten out your arms so your ellbows are at 180 degrees from each other and your hands are vertical under you. Check out your new joints. Start moving your hands in a fluid motion... move out, get your elbows in there. Move big. There you go. Keep it fluid.
    • wristrolls - get two old toothbrushes or kiddie pencils and make fists while holding them. Line up your wrists so they touch and your hands are at 45 degrees. Your right hand is on top.
      Roll your right hand down and your left hand up, minimally adjusting your elbows so they don't lock up.
      In the middle of this you should have two fists pointing at your chest. Rotate them back into their original position. Rinse, repeat.
    • Skip - so your hands are grooving to the music but your feet can't stand still? Easy solution... the skip, most basic step of all. On the first beat you stand still, left foot left, right foot right. At the next beat of your choosing, move your right foot ahead of you and the left behind so they line up linearly under you. Jump back into left foot left right foot right. Wait until the next beat of your choosing and then put your left foot up front and your right behind in a line. On the next beat return to left foot left, right foot right. Speed isn't as important as timing - pick your beats of switching and stay at that speed. If you feel up to it, you can perhaps jump at every second beat and occasionally jump at every first beat (for a measure) and then jump at every fourth. Practice, practice, practice. =)
    • other legwork - the best solution is still to freestyle. Pick a time period (one measure, two measures or maybe three) and the beats at which to change pose. Loop it with the music and you're guaranteed to succeed. Sorta.

Ideally, your style ought to be a blend of these two. The Hip-hop style orients itself to the beat, whereas the Rave style (while directing itself to the beat) orients its moves more to the synthlines and melody. Two more pieces of advice:

To practice: get some good beats (jungle, trance, whatever,) a large pot of coffee and a wide open room. Turn it up and try new stuff in front of a mirror for as long as you want. The advantage of trying moves at home are that a) there isn't that "someone is watching me" feeling you might get at a rave b) if you want to, you can pause the music and work on a single move for as long as you want.
When you go: Go to your first rave on your own or with some friends who you're not out to impress, especially if you're the shy type. You'll be a lot more open to dancing and less afraid of "embarassing yourself" since you don't know any of these people anyway. You'd be surprised how many people go to raves on their own anyway, especially when starting.

Enjoy the vibe, groove with the tunes and if you roll (many of us don't) drink plenty of water and take salt pills.

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