Shuffling in its form

For anyone walking around Santa Monica College on Tuesday or Thursday afternoons, seeing a group of students dancing in a circle near the clock tower is common. The group of dancers, who call themselves the Melbourne Supremacy, can often be seen shuffling. The Melbourne Shuffle, commonly known as “the shuffle” in the United States, is a dance style that originated in the Australian rave scene, hence the name, and was introduced to the California dance scene a few years ago, according to dancers of the Melbourne Supremacy.

So what is “the shuffle”? Many people who are not dancers describe the style as “weird,” “all-over-the-place,” and “different.” Shuffling involves a lot of footwork while repeating basic moves, such as sliding, kicking and sudden arm movements.

SMC dance professor Angela Jordan says, “It seems like an altered version of the running man from the 1990s, which started in the United States and could’ve traveled through media, music videos, movies, television shows and artists touring.”

In early 2011, electro pop duo LMFAO released “Party Rock Anthem,” a music video that features themselves and dancers doing the shuffle while singing “everyday I’m shuffling.” The group is now associated with shuffling, which seems to be a common element of their music videos.

Los Angeles-based NSK Dance Krew member, Ron Myles, describes shuffling as “a style that’s based off of running in place.” “It’s more towards the younger crowd and the way LMFAO brought it out made it seem cool and hip,” Myles said.

Melbourne Supremacy member Anand Baasansuren says, “The two basic moves for shuffling are the running man and two-step, and then you can add other moves. My dance style is called hardstyle and is usually danced to trance or electro-fusion music,” Baasansuren said while demonstrating the basic steps and making sudden dance moves as he was being interviewed.

(Anand Baasansuren, an SMC student, shuffles in the quad on Nov. 22, 2011. Photo by Paul Alvarez)

"Hardstyle shuffling involves harder styles of music. It is faster and the ground is kicked with hard, fast kicks. It was meant to be edgy,” says Baasansuren. “The group began earlier this semester to serve as an outlet to relieve stress from school for some friends and me. Most of the people into the club are very much engaged in music and most of us love hardstyle, which is how we decided on the name. It all seemed to fit naturally.”

Melbourne Supremacy consists of over 23 members, four of whom are female. “Everyone in the group has their own style. So, besides shuffling, the crew has hip-hop, jump-stop, tick-tock, popping and break-dance elements,” says Baasansuren.

Baasansuren says the Melbourne Shuffle is “an underground dance and will probably be around for another five to ten years culture-wise, and we’re probably still going to do it even if it’s not popular.”

Recruit Lily Kuno incidentally learned about Melbourne Supremacy by eagerly walking up to Baasansuren during one of the clubs weekly meetings. Kuno says, “Although I have been taking hip-hop dance classes for years, since I have started at SMC, I have been looking into new things.”

“I thought shuffling was unique and by exploring it, I have expanded my world of dance,” Kuno says. In addition to her experience in other dance styles such as ballet, ballroom, and contemporary dance, shuffling is another capability that Kuno will incorporate into to her own style.

The crew is planning on setting up a flash-mob but is still working out all of the details. Anyone interested in joining the group should stop by the clock tower and show off their skills. Newcomers judged to be qualified may become part of the crew.

For video clips and more info about the Melbourne Supremacy, check out their website: