The History and Growth of Shuffling in EDM
As a dance birthed from the EDM scene, shuffling is only becoming more popular as EDM continues to gain a stronger presence around the world. The way it has grown with the help of social media hints that its evolution will see no signs of stopping anytime soon.
Cover photo via www.youtube.com
EDM is meant for dancers. The scene it fosters is one where all different styles of expression are flaunted and celebrated. However, if you have ever been to an EDM show…ever, you have undoubtedly seen a shuffler. You know the people I’m talking about. They’re the ones gliding around to the beat looking cool as shit with their smooth footwork. The Melbourne Shuffle is the dance everyone wishes they could do, and is one of the most common forms of dance within the EDM scene.
Originating in the late 1980s, the Melbourne Shuffle was birthed in the underground dance scene of Melbourne, Australia (as if you couldn’t have guessed), and nurtured by the emergence of house and trance. It is a dance characterized by quick movements between the toes and heels, sometimes creating the illusion of gliding. Shuffling is done by combining both the Running Man and T-Step, both illustrated below.
Although the true originator of the Melbourne Shuffle is unknown, many sources state that the term itself was first mentioned in the media by Sonic Animation’s Rupert Keiller while he was being interviewed by Rage (an Australian music TV show).
The popularity of this dance reached new heights in the 2000’s with the help of the Internet – particularly through YouTube. With this video sharing platform, shufflers were now able to produce tutorials, connect with others curious about this type of dance, and better coordinate shuffling collectives.
YouTube also became the platform for the Australian-born online competition, “So You Think You Can Shuffle” which was launched in November 2008. The following year, “So You Think You Can Shuffle” expanded their reach by hosting meet-ups and competitions in Australia and Germany. This brought talent showcased online out from behind the screen and onto an international stage.
In an attempt to highlight this unique dance within the scene, a Melbourne-based company called MSO produced a documentary called “GLOBAL SHUFFLE 1990:2010.” Released in 2011, the documentary contains footage straight from the depths of Melbourne’s underground rave scene to better explain the history and evolution of the Shuffle.
Since its inception in the early 1980’s the Shuffle has made significant strides in establishing its presence as both and underground form of dance in addition to its acceptance in pop culture. In mainstream media, the Shuffle is most notably associated with LMFAO’s single, “Party Rock Anthem:”
The shuffling movement has also spread to areas like the UK, where it has absorbed influences of the Charleston and two-step to develop their own style of fast-footwork called "cutting shapes." The trend has become one of the biggest dance styles in the scene, with countless music videos and home tutorials of dancers exercising their unique dance.