THE ART OF EXPRESSION "WAACKING"
Waack/Punk is a form of dance created in the LGBT clubs of Los Angeles, during the 1970s disco era. This dance style was named punking because "punk" was a derogatory term for gay men in the 1970s. Naming the style punking was a way of turning this negative term into something positive. Within punking, a whack was a specific movement within the punking style. Although the heterosexual dance community enjoyed punking, they did not want to associate themselves with the negative, violent, and sexual connotations of punking and therefore called the dance genre "waackin". Later, Tyrone Proctor added the "g" to waackin to make it "whacking" and eventually became know as "Waacking".
Waacking consists of moving the arms to the music beat, typically in a movement of the arms over and behind the shoulder. Waacking also contains other elements such as posing and footwork. Waacking puts a strong emphasis on musicality and interpretation of the music and its rhythm. It also took inspiration stylistically from movie stars such as Lauren Bacall, Marlene Dietrich, Bette Davis and James Dean.
Waacking was popularized by Soul Train and influenced the creation of Outrageous Waacking Dancers, a Los Angeles-based waacking dance group, the first dance group were known as the Original Punks. As Punking spread to the straight dance community (such as Locker Shabba Doo) began to take part, In the 1970's Punkers and Waackers were both featured on Soul Train and Waacking spread from Los Angles to New York and around the world by way of pioneers such as Tyrone Proctor & Archie Burnett. HIV/AIDS devastated the Punking community causing all but one, Viktor Manoel , to pass away from the disease or murder. Not having the originators to continue the dance, popularity of the dance began to fade during the 80's and 90's. Waacking experienced a resurgence in the early 2000's by way of Brian "footwork" Green who began teaching in New York and urging the elders to teach. Brian was the catalyst for the next generation of young Waackers who continue to be practitioners, trainers and share the dance world wide.
THE ORIGIN OF 'WAACKING' BY TYRONE PROCTOR
Tyrone 'The Bone' Proctor belong to the first generation of Waackers that came out in L.A. in the early's 70's. He was a member of the 'Outrageous Waack Dancers' with Jeffrey Daniel, Jody Watley, Sharon Hill, Cleveland Moses Jr,and Kirt Washington. Tyrone is one of the last of the pioneers who named this dance style.
Tyrone: 'Waacking came from the gay community in the early's 70's on the West Coast and it evolved from what the gay community was doing all along. At this time no one could imagine that this dance would be so popular as it is today. The dance was mainly danced by The Black and Spanish Community. It evolved from two things, Drag Queens performing, and Still Pictures and Musicals of old Females Stars from the 1920's to the 60's icons like: Greta Garbo's, Rita Haywards and Marilyn Monroe to name a few.
The word from what I remember, came from me when I was describing the movement, I always told the people that when you wanted to move, you had to 'Waack' your arm, Jeffrey Daniels then told me that we had to put 2 a 's instead of one because we did't want to get it confused with the word 'wack' in english, means something that is not good. This way with 2 a 's we gave this word could have an all other meaning.
Early 70s in the gay clubs were: The Paradise Ballroom, Gino's 1, Gino's 2, The Other Side, The Gas Station to name a few, where lots of dancers could be seen doing the style that will be called later Waacking or Punking. Some of these dancers would appear on Soul Train's. The dance moves you would see in the clubs would always end up on 'Soul Train'.
To name some of the first generation where: Lamont Peterson, Blinky, Micky, Andrew Frank, David Vincent, Arthur, Tinker, John Pickett, Gary Keys, Dewayne Hargrave, Billy Goodson, Billy Starr, Lonnie (gymnastics), Abe Clark, Michael Angelo and many, many more...'.
Tyrone: 'To make a long story short, punking is a straight person's version of Waacking. Outside of the locker Tony Basil, there were a few straight people going to gay clubs and literally sit and watch them do the dance and while they were doing that it enabled them to perfecionate the dance themselves.
There was a difference in the way the dancers would dress: About the dress, Andrew would wear big oversized Jackets to add more movement to Waacking. Arthur would like to wear high boots with his pants inside the boots. Tinker would like to wear tight shirts with short sleeves roll up or just cut off. The Women of Soul train would wear high heels and full skirts so when they turn the skirt would fly up to the beat.
Punking, the dancers would dress up like in the 40’s with high wasted baggy pans, tight shirt with big hats. Also the Waacking style was a lot more emotional. Punking is smooth and precision orientated.
'Many people think that Waacking started with Locking and this is not true. You have to understand the climate back then, Waacking was danced by people who were not socially tolerated, it came with a different music style: the Disco. The Waacking scene was underground and nothing came out mostly because people would be labelled as 'gay'.
Tyrone believes That when the Gay Community abandoned Waacking in the late 70's that same time people were being introduce to a dance called Locking and some of the people who had been teaching Locking were also teaching Punking at the same time.
All my respect and love to Don Campbell for creating the 'Locking style' that had such a prolific influence on the dance scene. The Lockers were all straight guys but they had respect for gay people. I admire them all of them. Actually Scooby-Doo taught me how to Lock.
Thanks to Toni Basil, dancer like: Andrew, Lonnie, Billy and Tinker at Gino's were so good that they ended up dancing with celebreties like Diana Ross. Some of the members of "The Outrageous Waack Dancers". were in the group "Shalamar", Jeffrey Daniel and Jody Watley.