Melbourne's own dance: Melbourne Shuffle

I have to confess I do not go to night clubs any more. Even if I love dancing I do not have many opportunities to go nightclubbing.

So until one day I went to party for a friend's hen night, I did not know that Melbourne has its unique dance culture. 

I was very surprised to discover that Melbourne has its' own dance well known internationaly as Melbourne Shuffle, or the Shuffle. 

If you are also a newbbie like me, you are propably curious to know:

  • What it looks like?
  • What is the origin of this dance?
  • What do you need to do if you want to learn more?

What it looks like?

The Melbourne newspaper "The Age" referred to it as looking like "a cross between the chicken dance and a foot stomping robot" to the untrained eye.

But to the young nightclubbers who spend countless hours mastering it, the Melbourne shuffle is an art form,

The dance style is comprising 2 main 'movements' which usually define it. These two steps are the 'running man' and the 't-step/shuffle'.

So to dance the Shuffle, you need to incorporate these two basic moves into your dance style and moving your arms up and down, or side to side, in time with the beat.

It seems to me that the dance is free-form and not two people ever shuffle exactly the same. However, you can clearly recognise someone who is doing the Shuffle by the basic steps involving repeatedly shuffling its feet. 

Ok, I think the simplest way to explain this is to see a demonstration: 

Historical Background

The origins of the name are unknown. The term was first brought to the public attention by Sonic Animation's Rupert Keiller during a TV interview in Sydney.

Melbourne Shuffle is originated in the late 1980s in the underground rave music scene in Melbourne.

Early 2007 had well and truly transitioned from an underground dance - only witnessed at certain overage clubs and events - to a more commercial dance which was also pulled off by a younger crowd.

Shufflers have taken their art form and self-expressive dance style overseas and are a regular sight to be seen at rave parties in the UK, Germany, Malaysia and also Thailand, where shufflers can be seen shuffling on the beaches of Koh Phangan during the Full Moon Beach Party.

The internet has also been a factor in spreading knowledge and interest in the shuffle. Many videos can be found on Youtube.

To Learn more

So You Think You Can Shuffle, It is a YouTube based competition launched in November 2008 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.

A website with a lot of information about Melbourne Shuffle is Melbshuffle.

This website not only tells you what it looks like, it also gives information about what to wear, how to wear it, general discussion, videos and tutorials. You can also find a Forum on Melbshuffle and some information regarding upcoming events such as Melbourne Shuffle meetup if you want to meet people to share your passion.

› Melbourne Shuffle

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