Dance ’til You’re Dead

You’re in a club, loud music’s blasting, and you’re feeling the crowd as they move in various ways. Maybe moving comes naturally to you and dancing is joy and release, or perhaps you’re just trying hard to let go? Or maybe you’re one of those depraved stuck-up ones who tend to look at other people’s dancing styles judgingly and get offended by the amounts of freedom club dancers release during their dancing. Please don’t be that person.

Having stressed throughout the whole day and then go out and just release all of it and leave the club with a smile, coming home with a smile, it just feels wicked...”

Photo: screenshot from documentary Release featuring the protagonist shuffler.
Photo: screenshot from documentary Release featuring the protagonist shuffler.

Above is a statement expressed by the protagonist of this 25 minutes long short documentary titled ‘Release’, which premiered at London’s Basement on August 1st (and was recently also screened at the Raindance festival on the 30th of September 2014).

Shuffling the way we know it today has been around since the mid 1980’s, and according to a UK club culture specialist Greg Wilson, the dance group Foot Patrol “…adapted the Jazz-Fusion style of dancing to early House – in this respect they may well be described as prototype foot shufflers.

During the same time, shuffling emerged in the underground club scene in Melbourne, leading to what we know today as the Melbourne Shuffle. The dance craze has been gaining in popularity for two decades now and its community grew big and active (check their Reddit community page for insider information and latest sub-styles of shuffling). There are a few shuffling styles around (Melbourne shuffle, rebolation, cutting shapes, hard style and many more), and more often than not, the differences between them are subtle.

Screen shot 'Release'
Screen shot ‘Release’

The director of the short documentary ‘Release’, Kez Glozier, inspects UK shuffling culture and attempts to find similarities between shuffling and the 1920’s dance, Charleston. Some argue that shuffling has characteristics in common with the Chicago’s juke scene as well as European house and techno circuit. Most would simply categorise it as a style that involves quick movements with feet, making it seem as if the dancer is barely touching the ground.

It’s definitely energy consuming, hence the title of the documentary. We can’t wait for the entire movie to be out there to be seen – and hope that it’ll clear up some controversies that arose around this dance.

In this article that appeared on Mixmag (the world’s leading dance and club culture magazine), it appears that shuffling is often associated with club violence and has therefore been banned from several clubs. There’s even been an “Anti Foot Shuffling Campaign” on Facebook (which has been discontinued since). The most prominent pro-shuffler is perhaps a dancer by name of Madkezza, or the home of house shapes SStarTV who post video tutorials on how to shuffle and other house music dance crazes. One thing is certain, the shufflers will be shuffling whatever it’s opposition thought of it.

Seriously, how can anyone ban a dance move? It’d be far better to ban alcohol in clubs and see what happens then.

RELEASE (Teaser)


Presented by : The New British

Directed by: Kez Glozier

Director Of Photography: Sam Hiscox

Editor: Raquel Couceiro