Via Wikipedia:

Waack/Punk is a form of dance created in the LGBT clubs of Los Angeles, during the 1970s disco era. This dance style was named punking because "punk" was a derogatory term for gay men in the 1970s. Naming the style punking was a way of turning this negative term into something positive. Within punking, a whack was a specific movement within the punking style. Although the heterosexual dance community enjoyed punking, they did not want to associate themselves with the negative, violent, and sexual connotations of punking and therefore called the dance genre "waackin". Later, Tyrone Proctor added the "g" to waackin to make it "waacking".
Waacking consists of moving the arms to the music beat, typically in a movement of the arms over and behind the shoulder. Waacking also contains other elements such as posing and footwork. Waacking puts a strong emphasis on musicality and interpretation of the music and its rhythm. It also took inspiration stylistically from movie stars such as Lauren Bacall, Marlene Dietrich, Bette Davis and James Dean.

Sometimes a rabbit hole just wanders across your path and you stumble in. I had never heard of waacking until I tried an episode of Steven Universe in which one of the characters Garnet dances that style to, well, it's hard to explain and I'm not sure I understand what's going on in that show.

A YouTube search turned up videos like this one, which is like...wow. I can't even fathom dancing like that to Prince (or some weird cover of Prince, license fees are a bitch) but the world is richer for the fact that someone can. Also, I don't know much about dance and even I could tell that Ibuki is a master of the form. At times it seems as if the footage is sped up, she moves so quickly. Amazing, and plenty more of her work on YouTube, including many examples of her destroying her competition. Is there such a title as best pound for pound waacker in the world?

If so, maybe Ibuki's competition is Yumeki, who also has quite a body of work on YouTube, including plenty of duets with and face-offs against Ibuki. They call themselves Bad Queens. Indeed.

I asked my sister, who loves dance and So You Think You Can Dance, if she had heard of this style. Of course she had, courtesy of an SYTYCD audition tape.

I'm very sad that such performances aren't available for me to attend in person here in the Bay Area.

Movie as dance

Bilge Ebiri has a beautiful and insightful interpretation of Terrence Malick's To the Wonder. I ​caught the movie at the Toronto Film Festival last September and enjoyed it. Many have criticized To the Wonder as being slight in scope as compared to The Tree of Life, but one could have said that about just about any movie that came after a movie that sought to understand the meaning of life and the universe. That criticism feels simply like a matter of sequencing.

Ebiri's insight is that Malick's desire to structure his movies more like musical pieces, with movements, rather than using the traditional act-based narrative structure of classical screenwriting, extended in a very unique way to To the Wonder.

"When I first saw To the Wonder, it seemed clear that Malick had gone further in this direction. The movie unfolded more like a piece of music than anything else, rhythmic and fluid and concerned more with the emotional valence of a given scene rather than its narrative value. The second time I saw the film, however, I was floored. Yes, Malick had furthered his approach, but I hadn’t realized to what extent. And I think that herein lies the key to the film.
The fact is, the performers in To the Wonder are not acting; they’re dancing.
I don’t mean that metaphorically, either. They are almost literally dancing. The movie is, for all intents and purposes, a ballet."

To the Wonder has not opened yet, but watch the trailer.​ Observe the choreography of movement of camera and human bodies just in select shots and you'll understand what Ebiri means. The Tree of Life stayed with me longer, but To the Wonder was rapturous in its own way.

​Ebiri's discussion of movie and dance spurred a memory of another movie where music and image came together, for just a scene, as dance. Given how rarely movies attempt to become a dance (I'm excluding movies that are explicitly musicals here), I wanted to revisit that movie and that scene.

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