Photo credit: Rahul Doraiswami
This weekend, I got to participate in a very dope dance contest in the Bay Area: "Waack, Crackle, Lock." This unique dance battle brought together two styles with very different histories but that go perfectly together: locking and waacking.
The brainchild of locker LilC and waacker Alice Hur, "Waack, Crackle, Lock" exemplified my favorite parts of the Bay Area's dance culture -- community, experimentation, and collaboration. Nearly fifty competitors participated in the battle, some coming from as far as New York. And I was one of them!
After going to Open House LA a couple of weeks ago, I've been thinking a lot about the effects that your dancing has on those around you. Whether you are performing on stage, competing in a battle, or jamming in a cypher, you don't really know what impacts it might have on someone watching. By showing up and stepping out, you are sharing your energy, which might be just what someone else needs at that moment.
So when my friend Kenny encouraged me to enter this battle, I thought about it for a few minutes and decided to enter – to enter my first ever waacking battle! I mean, I've been doing this dance for a couple of years now, it's time for me to experience this part of it.
The format was pretty welcoming, actually. For the preliminary round, the MC called out sets of 5-6 dancers to the center, the DJ plays some appropriate music, and each person gets to spotlight for 60 seconds. Out of the fifty competitors, eight waackers and eight lockers would be selected. Then they would be randomly paired with each other and enter the battle as a duo. The duos battle in 2X2 format, the winners going on to the semifinals and then the finals.
My personal goal was just to throw down in the preliminary round, stay focused and have fun. Here's how I did.
Obviously, I still have a lot to work on. But I'm happy with what I put out there and proud of myself for doing it.
I saw so much amazing dancing at the battle, with too many blow-up moments to count over the course of the day and evening. Here are just three that give a sense of the vibe of the event.
Locker Odii just slays whenever he dances, bringing that dynamism, funkiness, athleticism, and fun that characterizes locking. Here he is in dancing in the finals.
Arsenal may be my new favorite waacker. He's got such great lines, theatricality, and swag. Here's Arsenal in the finals.
Here's a full video of a semi-final round, featuring Karlita, Xone, Odii and another locker. I am so glad I didn't have to judge this one, cause everyone just slays.
Lorena Valenzuela, one of the judges of the contest, just blew all of us away with her judge's performance. I love her power and attitude, dancing to "El Tango de Roxanne" from Moulin Rouge. She expanded what waacking could be for me.
Here's judge Noelle Mari Falcis performing her demo, combining waacking and some dope belly-dancing. Get it, queen!
I'm so happy I chose to participate in this event. While I don't feel super close to the waacking or locking communities in the Bay Area, I'm excited to see the two groups come together and collaborate on something so beautiful and fun. I got so much inspiration for my own dancing, like a whole universe of possibilities have opened up for me.
POSTSCRIPT 4/17/18: Jay-R Salazar produced in record time this great summary video of the battle. He captured lots of nice moments.