Waacking is an expressive freestyle dance form birthed out of Los Angeles LGBTQ+ club culture during the 1970s. This style consists of dramatic poses, storytelling, and rapid arm movements synchronized to sped-up disco beats. Through this dance, the original waackers found freedom within a society that shunned them for their race, sexual orientation, and gender expression.
In the Bay Area, waacking was a popular style amongst the broader freestyle street dance community during the early 2010s. Within the last few years, this dance has regained momentum with a new generation, but there are few avenues for interested parties to learn and grow within waacking, as it is not a widely taught style. To this end, I began offering free, all-levels waacking training sessions outside San Jose State University’s (SJSU) MLK library every Monday evening.
During these outdoor sessions, I lead attendees through different waacking exercises and concepts I’ve developed over the nine years I’ve been competing, teaching, and performing within this style. We end all sessions with freestyle dance circles (i.e., “cyphers”), where dancers can freely express themselves and apply the principles they’ve learned throughout these practices. The ultimate goal of this no-cost model is to provide an accessible, safe space to foster the new generation of Bay Area waackers. Because these sessions occur in a public area, we’ve had SJSU students and other interested passersby spontaneously join our practices as well—folks who had never previously heard of waacking.
This Awesome Foundation grant would help foster the growth of these San Jose open community waacking sessions by providing resources for marketing, guest teachers, and media (e.g., photo and video documentation of sessions).
Funded by San Jose, CA (January 2023)