Hello everybody, my name is Kostek and I represent Sinior Family and Rockin With Flavor from Poland. I’m a Bboy (dancer) since 2000 and Rocker since 2007 and always a humble student of the culture. I would like to share with You some of my thoughts and my point of view on the dance called “The Rock”. This is mainly for people that are rookie in this dance, to get a full picture of what it’s all about.
Everything You are going to read here is based on what I’ve learned from my travels, my teachers and people I have met in my journey. My dance style is very mixed and basically I bite little things from every dancer I admire and then transform it to my own. This means that You don’t have to agree with me, and somebody can tell You something completely else. And this is what makes this dance beautiful! The more points of view You will discover, the more knowledge You get so You’ll have more options of what works perfectly for You.
The Rock Dance, also known as Rocking or Uprock have been created in New York City in the late 60’s. In the beginning, it was a dance that belongs to culture of gang’s and Motorcycle Clubs. Later on, it started to become more popular, so people outside of gang’s started to participate. This is how first strictly rock crews was created, such as
- “Dynasty Rockers”,
- “Touch Of Rock”,
- “Lile Dave Rockers”
and many, many more. In the beginning rockers used to call it “burn” or “burn or get burned”, later on rockers put more steps, dance and musicality so it was more similar to the dance we can see nowadays.
In the 80’s the Rock dance became less popular because of the Breaking (Breakdance) era, but now we can see it’s “new birth” as a global movement, and that’s mostly thanks to Ralph “King Uprock” Casanova from Dynasty Rockers, who put OG’s back to the game and show the dance to the world.
Today a lot of old-school rockers are traveling and spreading the knowledge, more and more people are traveling to US to learn, so that’s why we got completely new era of Rock.
Rocking fundamentals are dance styles like salsa, mambo, or merengue, but rockers are inspired also by other styles, like hustle, house or loft. A lot of original rockers were Puerto Ricans and Latinos, so they are used to dance since they were kids. Their families used to listen to soul, funk, rock or disco music. These genres are very important for rocking, so it’s necessary to know them well. There are a lot of records that rockers dance to, but let’s get together some records, that we can call a “classic ones”.
Somebody can call some other records a “classic”, but I’m sure we can call these as a basic ones. It’s good to know them and get used to this kind of music, because if You don’t like funk and soul rhythms, there’s nothing for You in this dance. You should know not only certain sounds and lyrics, but also length of different parts of record (to know when the next part will come and how to use it). This will help You to plan Your strategy during the battle, I will tell more about it later.
TIP: Don’t be close only to this classic tracks, try to dance to any record You want, if You like it, You feel the rocking vibe and it’s working for You, You should definitively rock it for example: some of Polish funk records are “rockable” too, so I’m sure You can find some from Your country.
Just stay open-minded, music is the thing that inspire us and tell us how to dance – aggressive, calm or in some other ways. Music is the number one thing in rocking, so every good rocker express himself and have synergy with music. This dance looks good, when we can dance with the whole body to different parts of the record – bass, drums, lyrics, trumpets, guitar and other. The more sounds we can express, it’s better for us so You better dance Your ass off!:)
If we want to make it simple, we can say, that Rocking got three basic parts. I’ll try to describe them really short.
#1 | Freestyle
As You can read it’s free-style so You can do anything You want, but You just got to keep the taste and the flow of Rocking, You can take inspiration from other dances, but don’t cross the line, let’s keep it Rock! When You will feel it, You will know what I’m talking about. The basics are Latin dances, so I think this is good way to start.
#2 | Jerks, drops
Jerk is a kind of move that some people tried to describe on paper, but for me it’s no sense – the best way is to see it! To make it really simple, jerks and drops are these moves, when we are going down at the end so it’s the most recognize and popular part of the dance. Through many years people specially in Europe thought this is the whole dance but now we know it isn’t. It’s very important, but of course we got other important elements. These are the most “powerful” moves, so they just don’t look good when we do them on the “chillout” part of the record. In some of them we got a section called “break” or “breakdown” – this is the most powerful part of the song, usually with strong drums in it. This is the best moment to throw our jerks and drops, don’t waste them when the record goes slowly, wait for the breakdown – everybody can feel that the right time is now!
#3 | Burns
To make it simple, burn is expressing and showing, that You are doing something in visual and understandable way. For example, we draw a gun, shoot in the air and put it back. You can see burns in other dance styles as well. I will try to tell about burns little bit later.
We can say, that these are the main three things, but we got some others like downrocking, freezes, spins, shuffles, bows, folds and other. The best way is to discover them for Yourself.
Rocking is a very competitive dance, so Your battle skills are very important – it ain’t so easy how it looks like! Rocking Battles are different from B-boy, Popping or House battles. We don’t have the “set-for-set” formula – rockers are dancing in the same time through the whole battle! Crew battles usually take place on a line called “Apache Line”, where crew are dancing opposite to each other on two sides of line. The idea is that You shouldn’t cross the line, but when the battle turns out of control… many things can happen.
The 1 vs 1 battles take place with the line or without it. Personally, I prefer lines but only if rockers know how to control themselves. If they don’t – it looks corny and they starting to chase each other and this is wack, so sometimes the line works better in a contest. Let’s say that in the rock contest the battle usually last one record. When there’s no contest You never know how long it’s going to take – maybe one minute? Maybe half an hour? Everything depends on music, the situation and the people. Expect everything! Complete rocker knows how to jerk, drop, freestyle burn, dance and how to control himself.
How rocking should look like?
This is a hard one, because everybody is different and everybody got different point of view on the dance. Everybody is doing it they’re own way (well, they should). Some people say that You should do it aggressive and serious, others will tell You that smile and laughing is better way. Some rockers do funny burns, the other “don’t want to waste time on some silly bullshit”. I think everything depends just on You – sometimes when You are on some chilly mood, You just want to go to a jam, hang out with friend and dance for fun in the ciphers, but another day Your boss pissed You off and You are angry, You want to burn everybody, show who’s the best. Depending on situation, Your mood and character You will be dancing different. Just express Yourself and let it go.
4 Tips from Bboy Kostek
No matter what Your mood is, You need to stay focus.
#1 | Most important is control. I hate to see chaotic battles, when even these dancing dudes don’t really know what they are doing – they chase each other, run, stop, throw dicks in their mouth. What a mess! I know we can fly away during the battle because of emotions but try to calm down and if Your opponent doesn’t control himself use his anger against him. Don’t hurry too much, feel Your opponent, look what are his weak and strong sides, how he burns, which side he always turns ect. It’s almost like martial arts, but without touching.
#2 | Sometimes in battle You don’t have to burn all the time. Show Your style, Your musicality, “Burn with Style”, play with Your enemy, make him look bad with Your flow and flava. The crowd will catch Your energy and send it back, they will watch You and be curious what’s gonna be next. They won’t care about the other guy, now they want to see YOU burning HIM! You got to think fast and change the strategy every second, it’s a real time battle.
#3 | Try to control Yourself on breakdown, don’t fall on Your opponent, don’t run and chase him, this is a dance, not jumping around and going down. When two rockers know how to control it, the dance looks beautiful, it flows and it’s harmonic. Don’t stay in one place – change the levels and patterns, move to the sides, You are more unpredictable and harder to catch plus Your dance looks more diversified.
#4 | A lot of guys like do something like – dance, stop, make a burn and then go back to the dance. I don’t like that, this is dance, not a mime. I love to see the flow, when somebody is dancing meanwhile executing the burns to the music. This is the next level and this is what I want to work on. And basically when You are throwing Your burns, try to make It simple and clean – everybody must know what exactly You are doing. Try to make sequence of burns, a short story. When You do it with the dance and on point with the music it’s way more appreciated than this dance-stop-burn-dance bullshit.
How to seek the knowledge?
The best source of knowledge is Brooklyn, so I suggest You should go out there and learn from the Original Rockers. There’s no better way to learn this dance, believe me. Maybe You can fly out an OG and set up workshops with him in Your country? Or just join any workshops with some rocker, go to a rock jam and dance with people. If You can’t do it now, there’s always Internet so You can visit Rock Dance Forum or Tiny1Love Youtube channel. You can also watch one of these movies:
- Rockers Revenge
- New York’s Finest
- The Warriors
Or You can hit me by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thats all, thank You for Your time. See You in Apache Line!