The Politics of Dancing

If you know anything at all about House music, you’ll know that its roots are based in both revolt and inclusion. From the early days at the Warehouse, House music provided a place where people were able to go and express themselves collectively in a way that the strict segregation of standard clubs did not allow. “Spiritually and aesthetically, it developed in the U.S. out of the need of oppressed people, African Americans, gays and Latinos, to build a community through dance”(reference).

From very early on, the rise of dance music in the UK was also part of a rejection of what many considered to be repressive social policies. Thatcherism, which involved privatization of previously nationalized industries and the weakening of trade unions, led many to dance not only to release their tension and frustration but also to collectively reject the status quo. Dance music offered an alternative, more inclusive, an outlook that rejected an emphasis on capitalism and the individual vs. the collective.

That’s what House is about.

Some thoughts on the DJ as “performer”

Soundcraft Signature 12 MTK

I recently posted up the following to Facebook and got quite a response:

“For me, the vibe at a House music party can often be expressed as a ratio, which is people freely dancing/people facing the DJ.

If the ratio is anything less than one, it’s an event, but it’s not a party.

I think clubs should start putting up curtains in front of the booth and let the music speak for itself. It would stop all that wack theatrical stuff, get people focused on what’s what, and cut out the ‘celebrity DJ’ B.S.”

I’ve been thinking a little more on this, and I think a lot of what went wrong happened around the time that the “superstar DJ” came into play.

It’s a tough one because many of those DJs deserve the respect they are given. Unfortunately, we also live in a celebrity culture where people are conditioned to treat those people as “stars”. This all plays into swaths of people showing up for reasons other than to dance to music, and it puts the DJ above the party in many cases.

Ironically, it’s been good for many financially and career-wise, but I’m not sure it’s been the best thing for the culture.

What do you think?