By all accounts, we are again in the midst of a “dance craze,“ a cultural moment when a wide swath of people—most remarkably, white middle-class youth—embrace the ability to communicate and coordinate using little loops of codified gesture. As with prior crazes, the phenomenon is inseparable from new media: the craze of the 1910s, with its scandalous “animal dances” and ragtime rhythms, was abetted by dance manuals, silent films, and a new public culture of dancing;1 the Twist-era explosion of solo/group dances in the early 1960s spread via television programs, such as American Bandstand;2 and the current craze of the late 2010s—promulgating such re-branded moves as the Floss, the Hype, the Swipe, and Orange Justice—is driven primarily by a networked video game, Epic Games's Fortnite. The game, with its hundreds of millions of players, is arguably the largest media platform for the spread...
Social Dance in the Age of (Anti-)Social Media: Fortnite, Online Video, and the Jook at a Virtual Crossroads
Wayne Marshall (@wayneandwax) is an assistant professor of music history at Berklee College of Music. An ethnomusicologist by training, his research examines the interplay among sound media, musical publics, and cultural politics. Marshall co-edited Reggaeton (Duke 2009) and complements his academic work by sharing mashups and mixes online and writing for the likes of Pitchfork and The Wire.
Wayne Marshall; Social Dance in the Age of (Anti-)Social Media: Fortnite, Online Video, and the Jook at a Virtual Crossroads. Journal of Popular Music Studies 1 December 2019; 31 (4): 3–15. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/jpms.2019.31.4.3
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