The Melbourne shuffle is a dance involving quick movement of the toes and heels. Explore the history of the Melbourne shuffle and how it spread throughout the world. Get insights on how the Internet has helped popularize this dance.
The Melbourne shuffle dancing style involves rapid movement of the toes and heels. Depending on the variation, the dance may involve some arm movements. The dance is performed to electronic music.
This dance emerged in the Melbourne underground dance scene in the mid to late 1980s. The pioneer is not known, but the most likely source were Irish immigrants. Originally, it was simply another variant of the various trance and house dance steps popular in the underground scene.
Over time however, the dance came into its own. It has become known for the variants that employ hand movements, something not usually seen from other dances before it.
Middle – Late 1990s to the Present
While the Melbourne shuffle dance came from the underground, it became very popular and by the mid 1990s had become a staple in many clubs. As it became more popular, several variants emerged. However, the basic motion –heel to toe- remains present in all variants.
The dance would gain even more popularity thanks to sites like YouTube. This provided an avenue for the dancers to showcase their wares online.
At the same time, the dance became known to people other than those in the underground dance scene. The rapid growth of online videos allowed people to learn many of the variants. At the same time, new styles came into being.
These new styles would spread rapidly as they were posted online. One of the more popular versions of the shuffle was featured in the video of the German band Scooter.
Origin of the Name
The name’s origin was derived from the basic movements, and it has remained despite the many variants that have emerged. Most Australians simply call it the shuffle.
The name Melbourne shuffle was first heard on TV when Rupert Keiller of Sonic Animation was asked to describe the dance. In 2002, the Age (a newspaper in Australia) used the term in their article. The name stuck.
The Shuffle Worldwide
Today the dance has spread to countries like the United Kingdom, Malaysia, Brunei and Germany. In Malaysia, there are now shuffle competitions and meet-ups taking place. The shuffle is also very popular in Thailand. It is a regularly performed dance at the Koh Phangan beaches.
Testament to the popularity of the dance is the existence of a documentary on the subject. The documentary, called Melbourne shuffle, was released in 2005 in DVD.
On September 6 2008, the Network 10 started taking footage of the dance at the Hard Style Dance Nightclub for documentary purposes.
It was also in 2008 (November) when “So You Think You Can Shuffle” was launched. It is YouTube based and allows shuffle dancers around the world to compete. The winners are determined by voting. There have also been shuffle meet-ups that have resulted from this event.
The popularity of the shuffle continues to grow thanks to the Internet and its followers in various dance clubs. From its origins in the underground dance scene, the Melbourne shuffle has become a worldwide phenomenon.