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Scholars Day 2006, Wednesday, April 12

Underground House Dance in New York City: From Disco to House

Underground house dance venues have long served as cultural safe spaces for New Yorkers who identify either as queer and/or people of color. While the first parties were exclusive for members only (read: gay men), the scene eventually grew to include more women and straight men, mainly from hip hop culture of the 1980s. Today, underground house venues are typically democratic, diverse, nonviolent spaces. Within the historical context of improvised social dance, a unique movement vocabulary developed called lofting, characterized by smooth, sensual and acrobatic floor work. While the roots of house dance/music date back to the first discos of post-Stonewall New York in the 1970s, influences from hip hop, voguing, jazz/tap, samba and capoeira are seen in the technique today. Intersecting the categories of race, gender, class and sexuality, this presentation explores the complex history and culture of the house phenomenon by examing the relationship between music, DJ and dancer. In addition, the paper serves to document a part of social dance history that has largely gone unnoticed, particulary in academia.

Presenter: Mark Schmidt (Graduate Student)
Topic: Dance
Location: Hartwell Dance Theater
Time: 9:30 am (Session I)