“The social aspect of hip hop is a different kind of dance,” says Dwele. “It’s about people living together in community and that’s what jazz dances are all about. When you look at hip hop dance it’s the same as the jazz dance it’s the same as the jazz dancers. That’s why everybody is in it. There’s no hierarchy. I was surprised that the hip hop dancers didn’t want to talk to me and they were still asking me how this dance works. They thought I was being a jerk. A DJ doesn’t do that because he don’t have a club to show to anyone.”
Jazz dance is also a great expression of people’s self worth, especially at night. Dwele says that “I don’t think [social dance] is a new thing. Even the Jazz Age was social dancing. What makes hip hop so exciting is that it’s very easy to do so much in the same way that everybody can be in it and still be themselves. Social dancers have made it so you can dance with your whole family.”
“In the same way that jazz dancers have made social dancing their job [to create the energy] hip hop DJs do it for real. And they don’t get paid that much because they are the ones that get this dance. And when it ends, the people are dancing like it never ended. It’s kind of cool. It is what it is.”
Is social dance really a dance?
“Social dance is just dancing, it’s the way that you dance in people’s houses, in their homes, at the end of the night. When I was young, my dad went to work every day and went to work on Sunday because it was the old men that stayed home. But my parents just told me that if I would really want to get good at it like you could get good at ballet or jazz or some other stuff. I didn’t really have to learn everything at a dance school. I just had to work on it and that’s all it took.”
“If you can get up and dance, that’s amazing that you can do that. As a person who has been doing this a long time it’s not strange to me to see how well it works. We all know that our life and our work are tied together so if something isn’t a good fit for one of us, we will try to see what works for the other.”
In his new book, Dwele
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