Electronic Music Dance Culture

Liquid Pop Collective

In 2000, a group of dancers merged together to form a crew called the Liquid Pop Collective. These dancers were each from a different area of the north east United States and commenced as a crew due to their likeness in dance style. Each dancer had started their involvement in the electronic culture anywhere from 3 to 7 years prior to meeting, but all seemed to have a specific commonality that joined them together once they met. The main discrepancy and attempts to discredit their dance styles came almost immediately from the Funk community (popping, robot, boogaloo etc), which in turn forced each LPC member to go and make it a personal goal to not just learn their styles Liquid and Digitz, but to also learn the styles of those trying to dismiss their culture’s forms of musical expression. The dance crew did not consider what they did to be Funk Styles but instead be a true, original, multi-influenced dance that was exclusive to the electronic culture. The two dance styles considered to have emerged from electronic culture are called Liquid and Digitz (digits). Liquid, the dance most commonly faced with the attempts to be dismissed as a style, currently has a very ambiguous birth, both geographically and historically.

There are many theories that relate to the birth of Liquid; from the evolution of the trails from glow sticks, to the simple attempt to follow the hands to a 4/4 beat, and all the way to those who claim it came from outside the culture. This debate has been ongoing since the LPC first began recording the growth, vocabulary and historical aspects of Liquid in 2000. The characteristics of Liquid are best described by the relationship and interplay between the two hands. The “flow” of Liquid finds its movement, pace and appearance to highlight the downbeat of 4/4 music. This meaning that Liquid is more based on the continuity of movement as opposed to the abrupt changes and movements found in other dance styles, i.e. popping. The continuous movement is also demonstrated by the liquid appearance created by the way the two hands work through an imaginary space. In a sense, one is making space pliable and demonstrating that to the viewer.

Digitz (digits) on the other hand has a much more concrete and formidable history. The style is known to be created during the peak era of the Tunnel Night Club in NYC. A dancer by the name of Mario began experimenting with a common hand technique that made his fingers appear to create a wave. This was definitely not anything new, but it was what he in turn created from that wave, that perpetuated itself into an actual style. It is estimated that he began doing this somewhere around 1995. And by 1998 when he met Jared (the LPC member who eventually passed the style onto his crew), Digitz (digits) had grown to a series of complex hand and finger manipulations, all synchronized to the music. The idea behind Digitz (digits) was to create a musical interpretation, just with the ten fingers, in a way that completely fooled the human eye; with or without illusion. At some points the movement was so simple and easy to know how one did it, but as soon as it was attempted to be repeated, one’s brain could simply not perform the action. The movements were on the opposite side of the spectrum with any common or ordinary hand movement. To be simpler in explanation, Digitz (digits) has always been best described as “clever”.

When LPC met in 1999 (just prior to actually forming the crew), they began combining each other’s different ideas for Liquid, and began learning Digitz from Jared (aka Code Red). The crew soon began practicing and performing in Philadelphia, where they frequented Club Motion. They were picked up by a production company called Reflective Multi Media, run by Imri Jonas. Working with this group of DJs, visual artists and performers, LPC began performing at several events throughout the upper east coast as well as independently traveling to places such as California, Canada and Detroit to search out other dancers and styles. Within the year the word about the level that LPC had taken Liquid to, as well as the new, unheard style of Digitz (digits), spread not only across the country but across the globe. At first it was not LPC’s intention to spread the styles, as they were simply just practitioners like everyone else. But they began receiving so many requests to know how to actually learn the styles; they began putting together an idea for an instructional video. Still faced with scrutiny from outside sources, LPC also began to gain motivation for the video in an attempt to demonstrate that there was a common language, vocabulary and substance to Liquid and Digitz (digits).

In November of 2001, Produced by Vj Kaboom (Ricardo Rivera), in collaboration with Reflective Multi Media, Liquid Pop Collective, All Access Liquid and Digitz, Volume 01, was released. Within one year the crew sold over one thousand videos, reaching every continent except Antarctica, solely by word of mouth. Still, three years later, the video continues to sell at a steady pace. This video has now become the first ever recorded document of the vocabulary and foundation of Liquid and Digitz (digits). With the establishment of LPC and also the new global community, the true dances of electronic culture have been given a notoriety that is slowly finding its way into other dance and artistic cultures. LPC has set up a community of Liquid and Digitz (digits) practitioners that now, once a year, meet up at the Movement Festival in Detroit, to learn and share ideas. Each year the amount of dedicated dancers that show up to this event grows and grows.