I grew up dancing this step at weddings and parties with my Cambodian community across the world – Holland, Australia, Cambodia, Germany – with grandmas, aunties, uncles and kids. We referred to it as ‘the Madison’. When I stepped foot in a club in Brixton a month ago, I saw a bunch of black girls do this slide on Cameo’s Candy. After speaking to several friends of different black heritage I realised this step had travelled through different black communities as well. I was dazzled about the fact that a ‘line dance’ had been so immersed in different black and Asian communities at different times – especially since I had experienced dance in such a way Piper had described in her essay* and assumed most of my friends did too. I decided to teach it on the Street of CSM and was joined by more then 70 people.
“(Funk dance as a medium) of expression has been largely inaccessible to white culture, in part because of the different roles of social dance in white as opposed to black culture. For example, whereas social dance in white culture is often viewed in terms of achievement, social grace or competence; or spectator-oriented entertainment, it is a collective and participatory means of self-transcendence and social union in black culture along many dimensions, and so is often, much more fully integrated into daily life.”
Adrian Piper, Notes on Funk 1 (1985), ‘Notes on Funk II’ (1983), Out of Order, Out of Sight, Volume 1; Selected Writings in Meta-Art, 1968-1992 (Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 1996) 195-8; 204