3.1.9. The Dance Floor

18 June 2021

As is always the case when a group of people stay together for a long time, the environment starts to influence those people: the language they use, the clothes they wear, the music they listen to, and in the case of club environments, the way they dance and dance together as was the case of The Loft, which a dance style called ‘lofting’ a very fluid, graceful "Freestyle" form of urban dance evolved. Between the end of The Warehouse and the beginning of the Music Box, a dance style known as ‘jackin’ arose. This dance style was a frenetic dance in which the person taking part looks as if they have just plugged themselves into an electric main socket or re-wired their DNA with PCP. Furthermore, it mainly was just the regulars at the Music Box in the earlier hours of the morning that started to ‘Jack’. Hardy would save the tracks that would send the dance floor into a wild ‘Jackin’ frenzy, for those times as DJ Scott “Smokin” Seal recalls:

They liked to find a spot on the wall. Most people went out to dance with one another. If you were going to jack it up, you found a spot on the wall to dance, or you found one of the big columns in one of the lofts. That’s where you’d go and, you know, you’d jack your body.

(Bidder, 2001, p. 46)

People would grab hold of a wall or a pole or each other as a way to support themselves so they could, in a free but vigorous way, shake themselves to the rhythm of the music. To consider why this movement style became what it was is possible if broken down to its basic dynamic, which would be to shake. I can hypothesise why the movement dynamic of shaking was a response to the socio-political time in correlation with the somatic therapy treatment created by Dr David Berceli, an international expert in the areas of trauma intervention and conflict resolution. He is the creator of Tension & Trauma releasing Exercises (TRE). His technique releases the deep tension created in the body during traumatic experiences or through chronic stress. TRE's exercises focus on releasing the psoas muscle, which connects the lumbar vertebrae to the pelvis. This muscle holds physical, emotional, and mental stress that one carries in their body throughout their life. How TRE releases this tension and trauma is very similar to ‘jackin’ by shaking or vibrating in shaking and vibrating, the muscles release, calming down the nervous system (What is TRE®, 2020). This notion of shaking as a regenerative action is taken from Dr Peter A. Levine, who discovered that wild animals recover from trauma by trembling spasms of the body core and flailing limbs to complete the fight-flight they were in before they froze. Our human thinking brain usually refuses to do this trauma reset, aka “discharge.” As humans, we are too fearful of fierce shaking and scary floods of our natural aggression we might have to feel without acting it out. Acting it out is a no-no, of course, but we do not know how to feel strong emotions without acting out, so we do not want to feel. Suggesting why humans have trauma, and wild animals usually don’t: old fight-flight stress chemicals stay frozen in our bodies (Brous & Leven, 2017). Therefore, I hypothesise that in the safe environment of Music Box, subculutrists danced in a shaking style called ‘jackin’ to reach a state of homeostasis. Going to Music Box like other clubs was life-changing. The environment facilitated freed people to engage in the form of collective self-therapy.

3.1.10. ’Jackin’ Makes it onto Vinyl