16 April 2009

Fluid: The Rave Dance

The vibrancy of a subculture can be specially noted in the dance forms it creates. Fluid is the dance style unique to rave culture. As the word indicates, its body movements are fast yet smooth, gentle and circular, as if the dancer were walking on clouds or, better, flowing through water. Reflecting electronic dance music’s polychromatic soundscapes, fluid is corporeally multi-layered yet not disjointed. It most figuratively expresses the pleasurable melting of the dancing body into the hypersensorial waves of digital dance music.

Although upholding its own distinctive character, fluid derived from the hip-hop dance style known as "popping" (- Yet, fluid differs in that it has dramatically trimmed the edgy strokes of popping while keeping its illusionist effects). In a sense, fluid embodies the American rave interface between Black inner city hip-hop and White suburbia electronica, the latter appropriating and resignifying the former into the digital age of soft, loved-up ecstasy.

The first distinguishable nodal center of fluid can be traced back to early 1990s New York City, but the dance almost instantaneously emerged across main US metropolitan areas. It enjoyed its highest popularity peak around 1998, particularly among teenage segments characteristically dressed as “candy ravers” (athletic jerseys, baggy trousers, baseball caps, pacifiers, and Teletubbie bags). With the demise of rave as a quasi-mainstream phenomenon in America, fluid virtually disappeared, and currently is largely unknown to the newer generations of disenfranchised ravers.

Among the best fluid dancers is legendary Eric of LPC (Liquid Pop Collective). Originally from Philadelphia, he now resides in Florida where he and the LPC team teach the dance, keeping it alive. Liquid Eric has produced a few videos on the matter, and maintains a channel at YouTube, linked here to an impressive performance of fluid dance:

Video: LPEric at Space, Philadelphia 1999


  1. Candy Ravers look normally pretty bad... sorry but I think that fashion is a bit wrong... teletubbie bags mmh... don't know about that.
    But the way some of they dance like Eric of LPC, makes you think you can forgive em!

  2. I think that 1990s candy ravers were much different than the current ones. The older generation was more genuine and collectively solidaire, whereas the current one looks more like a lost pastiche of the past, some sort of odd, surface carnival which often smacks at shallow consumerism...

  3. When I think about a Candy Raver, I picture 30 multi-colored bracelets on each arm, baggy pants, a shirt 2 sizes too small, visor cap, pacifier in mouth and glitter splashed about the face, arms and body.

    Without a few of those, someone in baggy jeans doing Fluid isn't a Candy Raver.

    This video brings back some good memories. I shared it with a couple of friends.