Sanchez revives old dance styles at SMC
As the clock neared ten a group of eager students crammed inside the dance room to participate in the special master class led by professional "punking" and "wacking" teacher Anna Sanchez on Thursday, April 28. Anna Sanchez has been teaching dance classes since 1989 and her specialty is punking and wacking.
"My brother used to practice his dance moves with me when I was young and he'd throw me and spin me and I just loved it. When I was 15 years old I would sneak in the clubs and practice the dances I learned and I really fell in love with punking when these two professional dancers, Tinker and Arthur, entered a contest and they really brought out the songs and I liked the attitude," said Sanchez.
The style of dance Sanchez teaches originated in LA and was introduced in the mid 1900's. This style of dance is all about behavior and attitude and "riding the beat."
"It's all about emotion and using what you got. If you aren't using your clothes then take it off. I remember when Tinker took his belt off and whipped it around and rolled it through his tongue. It's a real shocker," said Sanchez.
This type of dance does not have any particular moves that would isolate it from other styles of dance because it incorporates traits from other genres but it does, however, use a lot of arm movement and rolling of the wrists. There is a formula that helps break down the form of punking and wacking. Punking comes first, which mainly focuses on gestures such as rapid wrists movements and emotional acting, then posing to create a dramatic reaction, followed by wacking which is all about the bigger movements. The trick to perfecting this style of dance is to know many forms of dance to incorporate.
SMC dance student Ahreum Cho has taken three semesters of dance classes and was excited to learn this new style.
"I've been dancing for one year and the class that I am in is a modern and ballet dance class. This is the third master class this semester and it's very different from the modern and free movement master classes," said Cho.
There is no specific genre of music that goes hand in hand with punking and wacking, but generally hip-hop and other energy filled songs are more befitting. Dancer Libby Marquis is very familiar with the underground style of dance.
"I learned this type of dance from watching movies and music videos and from my family. It's mostly danced to hip-hop and it's really all about attitude," said Marquis.
There are a lot of transitions and tight, rapid movements that, when mixed with strong facial emotion and attitude, produce what is known as punking and wacking. Aside from this style of dance, Sanchez also teaches locking, a style that is characterized by wrist rolling, control, and precise stops.
"I'm a specialty choreographer which means I only choreograph part of the dance. I've worked with Tina Turner, Diana Ross, and I choreographed ‘Over My Head' with Toni Basil," said Sanchez.
Sanchez currently teaches at Evolution Dance Studios twice a month, and is in the process of starting lessons at a nightclub in Hollywood where students can learn a certain style of dance, and then practice it all night on the dance floor.