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DISCO INFERNO… Dancefloors Of The 1970s

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DISCO INFERNO... Dancefloors Of The 1970s
Ask someone about dance in the 1970s and most people will mention northern soul, Saturday Night Fever, and possibly the Studio 54 nightclub. given what we know about the rich history of partner dancing so far, was there more to the dance floors of the 1970s than first meets the eye?

Be it on the dance floor or on the street, it’s the 1970s and the hustle is on. Given many names and seen in several permutations, the hustle was a staple on dance floors across the US. Just as east coast swing had been a codified, somewhat ‘watered down’ version of lindy hop in order to convert more people, so hustle had various versions with varying degrees of difficulty. There was the street hustle (aka Disco Merengue), the Latin (aka New York hustle), the continental (aka American hustle) and a tango hustle! It’s said that the tango hustle was created for – you guessed it – Saturday Night Fever!

Richard Powers, a Stanford University professor, and Hollywood choreographer writes about this era with fondness, having lived through it: “Both partnered and solo dancing were done throughout the disco era, but the proportions changed through the decade. During the first eight years, disco dancing was primarily partnered dancing, the living tradition of swing. That changed in 1978.”

He continues, “To quote Maria Torres, a disco dancer from NYC, “The thing which really killed partner dancing was Saturday Night Fever”. It is said that John Travolta himself pushed to include more solo dancing in the film, to ensure the prowess of his character’s dancing was not lost in a sea of talented dancers. It’s certainly the case that Travolta steals the entire show in several scenes!

One way to showcase one’s own dancing and include lots of dancers at once is a ‘soul train’. Still a current favourite at many dance nights that play blues, funk and soul music, this is a great ritual. More accurately a ‘strut your stuff’ train, it goes like this: two rows of people line up in a (dis)orderly fashion and pairs head down the middle of the line ‘doing their thang’ on a one-way catwalk. Great fun and a sure-fire confidence boost, even to wallflowers!

A partner dance that came to prominence during the late 60s and 70s, and which has remained consistently popular since, is west coast swing. As the name suggests, it was born on the west coast of the USA, in southern California, or SoCal as it’s referred to by locals. This dancing hotbed had already brought us balboa, swing dancing (a relative of lindy hop) and bal-swing (a fusion of the two), and now west coast swing was to prove just as popular.

Still termed ‘western swing’ in written materials on dancing at the time, west coast was growing in popularity due to its versatility. Though the footwork is syncopated (it borrows triple steps from lindy hop) it also fits well to most 4-to-the-floor rhythms. Generally, west coast is danced in a slot; originally this was done to aid filming of dancers in Hollywood, at the direction of Dean Collins, who we heard about earlier in this series. Today it makes for efficient and predictable use of space.

Northern soul requires a brief mention as we discuss dancing in the 1970s, as it was a staple in the clubs across the midlands and north in the UK during this time. Epitomised by packed clubs of people grooving out on their own to predominantly non-mainstream US Motown and soul artists, northern soul was uniquely ‘northern’. It was gritty, underground and all about the music. The more obscure the better.

This couldn’t have been in starker contrast to Studio 54. Glitzy, glamorous and full of super stars, the New York club gained infamy as many stars and their entourages partied hard under the spotlights. A centre for hedonistic nights out, the 1000-strong crowds got up to a lot more than dancing. And we shall leave that there!

The male clientele at dance nights would be seen in tight fitting suits across the torso down to the knees, often with bell bottom flares. Long, flowing yet manicured locks, off the shoulder dresses and striking fabrics were the order of the day for women.

There will always be those that are committed to partner dancing – investing in technically challenging dances such as Argentine tango and west coast swing – and there will also be those that are attracted to the proclamations of confidence and self-expression found in solo dancing.

Whether you danced disco swing, a 1950s-style swing step done with disco style and attitude, the Electric Slide line dance, the hustle or northern soul, one thing was certain – dance wasn’t going out of fashion any time soon!

Hi, my name is Erick Ycaza. I have a BA in Advertising & Graphic Design. This blog is to provide you with daily music news and share my personal style.

Disco

Check Out Jessie Ware’s Disco Anthem, “Free Yourself”

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Jessie Ware

Last August, Jessie Ware made a triumphant comeback with “Free Yourself. The Disco anthem produced by Stuart Price carries an empowering message that encourages true liberation.

I really hope her upcoming fifth studio album embodies her brand new diva-esque personality. In fact, this single represents a new era for the artist herself.

Throughout “Free Yourself” she wants you to leave behind inhibitions in order to feel joyful. Moreover, the adrenaline-pumping melody and the piano keys combine to perfection the glamorous music video.

Jessie Ware
Without a doubt, her positive vibe is so contagious which makes dancing irresistible. Apart from that, I think the chorus deserves all the praise. Plus, she has a wonderful singing voice and I’m not going to discuss it with anyone.

To conclude, “Free Yourself” will prove the surge of funkiness every Disco fan craves.

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Disco

The Shapeshifters And Adi Oasis Offer Present-Day Disco!

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The Shapeshifters Tell Me It's Not Over

The Shapeshifters and Adi Oasis are a match made in heaven. Merging present-day Disco with extraordinary soulful vocals, “Tell Me It’s Not Over” sounds like a timeless classic already!

Of course, the talented genius behind this well-known project is Simon Marlin whose latest album, ‘Let Loose’ features 14 dancefloor fillers. Undoubtedly, the orchestral instrumentation gives such a great material an authentic feel, while setting a high standard in the music industry.

On the other hand, “Tell Me It’s Not Over” was co-written alongside New Yorker JKriv, and it’s infused with energy, passion, and spirit. Fortunately, the Disco genre never died, it still remains in underground circles and this gem constitutes a refreshing legacy.

The Shapeshifters Tell Me It's Not Over

Without further ado, this release is another brilliant addition to The Shapeshifters’ collection of outstanding present-day Disco that should not be missed. Stay tuned below.

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Disco

Get In A Groovy Mood With “Fall Tonight” By Justin Caruso

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Justin Caruso

Justin Caruso delivers a song that is radio-friendly, danceable and has great instrumentation. “Fall Tonight” will put you in a groovy mood without delay, and the accompanying music video just makes it possible.

The Los Angeles-based producer brings so much joy to the world as “Fall Tonight” features a funky bassline, which is complementary to violins, synths, and, of course, the haunting female vocals of Tayla Parx.

In short, a modern Disco-Pop gem with a pinch of nostalgia. Who’s up for a singalong?…

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Justin Caruso

Amazingly, Justin Caruso has been crafting melodies since the age of 14, encouraged by his authentic creativity. Over the years, performing at major festivals, such as Billboard Hot 100 Fest, EDC Las Vegas, and Moonrise Festival in Baltimore opened so many doors for his music career, and he’s still on a mission to break barriers.

With his latest single you can tell he balances the effervescent energy effortlessly. Furthermore, the lyrics exude a freespirited youthful tone that will revitalize everyone’s hearts.

He offers what few can, the ability to merge upbeat, fun, and fresh beats while appealing to all generations. “Fall Tonight” is one of those tracks that resonate with a lot of people naturally.

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