The Grammys’ approach to dance/electronic music has always been a bit of a mixed bag, with the Recording Academy trying to cram the genre’s broad array of styles and sounds into its two categories for best album and best dance recording. But this year, the Academy added a new category, best pop dance, to give the music its own dedicated showcase. This is a major victory for dance/electronic artists.
Popping (pronounced “Poppin’ Pete”) is a style of dance that originated in the late 1960s and early 1970s, usually danced to funk and disco music. It involves sudden contracting and releasing of the body’s muscles to the rhythm of a song, also known as hitting. Popping OGs will debate the origins of this movement and many have multiple interpretations of its development depending on their regions and circles of influence, but one common element is that it started among working class youth of color in deindustrializing communities who would come up with dance moves to popular music and then compete at dance battles.
There are a variety of different popping movements, techniques and poses including boogaloo, animation, ticking, strutting and tutting. Air posing is when you exaggerate your movements and create different shapes with your arms, legs and neck while hitting. Animator is a movement that imitates animatronic robots and the famous Spiderman dance combines several techniques to make your movements look like they are being done by a spider attached to your body. Strobing is a movement that makes your body move in various ways while using dim lighting to make it look as if you are being illuminated by a strobe light.