House Dance and the Detroit Scene

Chris Macom —  July 13, 2014 — 12 Comments

house dance

Where is House dance in Detroit? I have been going out quite regularly in the city for over 12 years and I have yet to see a strong presence of people that actually know how to dance to House music or really even care about it in the first place. It does make me wonder if the majority of House fans, especially today, are really just going to the clubs to get high. Dancing for most people at events, is something that happens after you have completely masked your lack of self-confidence by getting extremely bent. Now I’m not here to judge anybody or get high and mighty. I really do wish to benefit this scene and consider you all as my people, and equals. I feel that we all really do want the same things and deep down we all long for something spiritual. Everytime we get bent, it is really a mis-interpretation of spiritual energy. Because of our upbringing and exposure to the horrors of the world, we attempt to experience spirituality in negative ways, and these negative ways can attract negative attachments. We are unable to see that the universe is attempting to heal us.

I have found myself lately feeling negative towards the scene here. With popular culture’s new found fascination with Deep House music, more people are coming out to shows, getting completely numb, and flopping around like fish on the dance floor while chewing on their jaw like it’s bubblegum. For a few days I was feeling like all electronic music and the whole scene is complete bullshit and isn’t real. It took me a few days of self reflection and experiencing nature to wake me up out of the funk. After an organic liberation through hiking and kayaking, I was feeling quite in-tune. I later was watching some House dance video tutorials online and listening to African Deep House music and it all came back to me. The music that is.

I have always appreciated the oldschool House heads for their dedication and ability to cut the rug. The mostly older black community in Detroit that helped started all this, really know what this music is all about. It’s not about drugs, alcohol, or being popular. It’s a spiritual thing, a body thing, and a soul thing. It’s excepting yourself for who you are, expressing yourself honestly to others, and receiving honest feedback from them through dance and music. This honest enjoyment of each other is the spiritual in its finest. It is for everybody, and needs to be preserved before all is lost to corporate America because the people are too far gone into alcoholism and drug abuse to realize what the fuck happened.

With this said I would like to challenge every reader of this article. I am asking you to learn how to dance. For your sake, other’s sake, and to bring it all back full circle to what this music is all about. We need to express the soul of Detroit. Dancing is an essential element of music and without it, the music is nothing. I don’t want to sound like a prude. I definitely drink alcohol and partake in organic activities, but if you are only practicing dancing, at the club, when you’re bent, then you are doing it wrong. This is the reason nobody can dance. You are not Allen Iverson. You definitely need practice.

Also, all of us need healing. House music and House dance can provide this healing. There is energy from the Earth attempting to reach out to us. It is coming from rocks, dirt, and the roots of trees. It is coming from underneath the ground. It is coming from the underground, and the only way to respectfully greet this energy is through our footwork. So Detroit, I say to you, let me see your footwork!

Here are some videos to get you started. I am also very interested to know if anybody in the area is practicing regularly. Let’s start a group. Let’s get some classes going. Let’s bring the art back to House music and make the Detroit House scene something to envy.


Chris Macom


Chris Macom is a DJ, producer, and writer in the Detroit Metro area. Growing up in the 90's, Chris grew fond of electronic music and started collecting vinyl and DJing. Now, as a founder of both Detroit Techno House and Lost Science, Chris hopes to share with the world his experiences through music and writing.
July 2014
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12 responses to House Dance and the Detroit Scene

  1. Derrick Wansom July 14, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    I always wondered this, I came across house dance in Japan and attended the first house dance battle in China. I was disappointed to come back to Detroit only to see a few heads from Chicago bust out at Demf on the rare occasion. I have hours of old footage from Japan! Definitely would be interested in a joining a group..

  2. So it’s looking like we will be starting a House Dance Workshop at Grasshopper Underground starting Sept 1st and the first Monday of every month. Oh yeah!

  3. You just haven’t looked hard enough! I’ve been here in the D since 1990 doin it before they even called it “House Dance”. Come out to the Grasshopper October 6th! Jay Daniel and I are doin a workshop proper! See you there!

  4. As far as not seeing people represent house dancing in Detroit is completely false! As a real native Detroiter, I grew up dancing, helped cultivate the hip hop dance scene and also house dancing in my city. So I get some of the points of this article as far as people coming to get drunk, or not really dance at all. But there has always been a small community of dancers in Detroit when it comes to hip hop and house. Obviously no one has really been looking cause we’ve been there the whole time!!

  5. Freddy G Pasillas September 24, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    The tone and the author’s approach to deliver his message is beyond negative but most importantly it is way too presumptuous. Rather than trying to promote the house music scene and house music dancing, he’s attacking drug culture. His message comes across like a rampant preacher in the middle of a college campus condemning everyone to hell for not following his life’s ideologies.

    Not everyone is going to enjoy music how you enjoy it, and not everyone is need of spiritual healing, and if they are, they can choose to embrace it however they best see fit. If the current house music scene doesn’t meet your expectations, then I suggest you work on creating something that does or recreating what it once was.

    The house music scene has evolved and will continue to do so. This growth has brought us many things we fully enjoy and embrace along with other things that we don’t. Just like anything else in life – the only thing constant is change. Either embrace change and the positive things that come with it or get left behind focusing on the negative.

  6. A few people is not a scene. Re-read. “Strong presence”. Drugs are not a culture. Everyone does need healing. Thanks for reading, responding, and I appreciate your opinion.

  7. This article is so wrong. I have been around since 95 and I’ve seen people come and go. Yes there are some people that disrespect the circle by dancing like idiots but there are a good number of people that take housing or dancing seriously. Does the author really come to dance or is he a ex-raver that points his nose up at the new generation or the dancers that come out. If he feels that people suck so bad at dancing how about he approach those people and let them know how you feel?

    Rather than bitching about what’s wrong, do something about it. Things can’t change for the better without help. Also that comment about not seeing many housers at demf is bs. I’ve been every year and as I remember there are a lot of bboys that house a but now and crews from all over the globe come to get down with us. As a matter of fact the Sunday of demf excursions is the meet up spot.

    In closing think about what you write before you post it. Actually go out and search. You miss nights at motor city wine, agave back when it was open and 1515 broadway.

  8. I’m confused about these responses from others. The article is Chris’s personal outlook and opinion. But the direction of comments is moving off topic. This is specifically addressing HOUSE DANCE…not any other dancing! There has still been a very foggy interpretation here in Detroit to what the general consensus around the globe has decided what this dance style is. This may simply be because it’s so relatively small in attendance here. But the fact that this author randomly picked some video off Youtube so easily it puts the responsibility back on these street dancers to educate themselves. So before anyone chimes in about other places or gigs happening for House dancing…you might want to ask someone who regularly attends House gigs in Detroit. You can’t claim knowledge about a culture being a “tourist”! It’s always been part of the cypher to celebrate how ever you want. Plenty of people who can’t even hold a beat join us in the circle as we ALL share movement to a song together. That’s a good thing! It’s healthy if you’re doing it respectfully. But all to often alcohol or whatever distorts a person’s public behavior to a point they no longer have the discerning ability to decipher what’s respectful and what’s just plain rude. At the expense of a group trying to share space! So if you’re that one individual that’s a ninja with your drug habit then bravo. Thanks for NOT being a public a-hole and ruining everyone else’s respectful activity together. But in all honesty…how often does that happen??? Chis is asking where the House dancers are…and he’s completely accurate collectively. As far as other dancers go…knowing a few “House Dance” moves for you to lay down during a cypher DOESN’T make you a House Dancer. It’s like many who loosely use the term “House Head”. From as far back as 1990 we used that expression to describe someone that makes all the effort to attend House gigs every week. Someone that has songs in their head…listens to House tracks in their car…knows DJ’s and producers that make the music. It’s a lifestyle…a long standing commitment. So the transition of that to a House Dancer isn’t much different. It’s the style you dance…it’s the music you prefer…it’s the mental, social and artistic expression you HAVE to do. These definitions were set long ago…so others now may try to adopt their own interpretations using these terms…but again…know your history before you claim association of it. I appreciate this article and am responding to Chris’s call for influence. I feel he has a healthy outlook to enter into this dance culture cause many I know share the same values. This culture should be positive as a medium to help you become happier and healthier…so I for one will support the new generation that comes with questions and genuine interest to learn. And if you are not regularly doing this dance style or attending the cultures events…why even respond? Just maintain your anonymous presence and let those qualified help. Your rudeness need not apply.

  9. We are not just bitching. There is a dance workshop at Grasshopper underground we are putting on Oct 6th. Jay Daniel and R. Deane are playing as well. Ever heard of them? We run this website, make music, DJ, and are putting on some killer events. We have booked Monty Luke, JTC, Todd Osborn, Norm Talley, Delano Smith, as well as up and coming locals. What are you doing? Bitching about someone elses opinion online. Come on now!

  10. Your article is the truth with or without the drugs if that’s going to be an excuse we have to work even harder and stay true to the original love of the urban format and culture which made house popular in its original flavor yes I do agree it has been distorted but it takes individuals like you to project to the next generation it’s a battle we all as househeads fight! Many Blessings – DJ Eddie Fludd……..

  11. Getting loose is what it’s all about!! – I need to know where to go in the D!!
    From out of town – need a list of places where I can get off on house music – thanks – BP

  12. The idea sounds great, but trying to push a specific style or way of dancing is just plain wrong. We all need to move how we feel good and not to impress others. Dancing is personal and if someone looks like they are flopping about, doesn’t mean they aren’t having a great moment using their body to do what they can. Dancing is NOT a competition or something we all need to “work” on so we can impress the people next to us. It’s about expression and we all do it differently.

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