Alex Gutierrez Blog

The Electric Slide Syndrome

Anyone who has been in the DJ business for a long period of time can probably describe at least a half dozen or so ” Dance trends” that have graced our dance floors . But without question the most enduring and to some ” annoying ” trend that has lingered since it was first choreographed by Richard Silver in 1976 is The Electric Slide. An 18 step Line Dance that continues to be a favorite and guaranteed dance floor filler at most private events that has recently found it’s way into some nightclubs.Line dancing has always had a Wild West image, and it was danced mainly to country-western music. This has been changing since the 1970’s, when the hustle line dance was depicted in the Disco Themed movie ” Saturday Night Fever” where club  patrons danced in unison to the Bee Gee’s track ” Night Fever” It was also a weekly feature of the popular television show ” Soul Train” The famous ” Soul Train Line”   . The are many variations of contemporary Line Dances such as Cha Cha Slide,Cupid Shuffle,Wobble Macarena and a few other regional variations with their own local names.Chicago-Style Stepping, or steppin’ as it is also known, was created in the 1970s as a lower BPM cousin ( 70 to about 105 BPM) to Disco ( 110 – 126 BPM). Hispanics have also adapted their own style with such hits as ” The Macarena” and ” El Meneaito- Gaby”  Asereje – Los Ketchups, Bomba – Azul Azul   Excluding High End Dance clubs or those that program EDM or House, crowds are ” Sliding” to just about any track you can imagine regardless of genre. The only requirement is a steady 4 on the floor beat reasonably paced from 110 to as far up as 128 BPM. The trend is particularly prevalent in women over 45.
Maria Elena Gonzales 48 of Miami Beach , Florida comments ” You go to a party or a lounge with all your single girlfriends . Most guys can’t or won’t dance, so we have to make our own party on the dance floor and The electric slide allows all of us to participate and have fun”
Paul Anson age 51 from Ft. Lauderdale ,Fl ” I see a group of people in a line dance and it’s a social way to interact without being threatening,it’s not like I’m dancing with any particular person ,but it lets them know I’m there”
Many Djs both Mobile and Clubs are beginning to notice this trend with mixed reactions. Of course a packed dance floor is always welcomed but is line dancing welcomed to all enviorments where music is played?    DJ AJ Falcon from Miami, Florida reacts  ” I call them Sliders…not talking about succulent Mini Burgers here, but people who choose to do the Electric slide to whatever song you’re playing. I definitely have mixed feelings about line dances on the one hand as long as people are having a good time and the floors full, great, but I’m just so over it sometimes and wish they were doing a more “cool” dance than a line dance. As far as mobile Gigs go one of the most common Do Not Play categories are line dances yet inevitably guests will come up and request some and I handle that in various ways. I prefer to see the individuality of a person expressing themselves on a dance floor in their own creative way rather than a choreographed dance and I think there are many people that feel the same way. As far as the actual electric slide phenomenon with people dancing to it to any song I really don’t see that too much. Occasionally with a middle-aged to older crowd it happens more often . Hope people will keep creatively expressing themselves on the dance floor with their own unique moves.”
Mister Q 305 from Miami “: Of all the club/party group dances, starting with the “Bus Stop” and continuing through the years including the “Macarena”, “Wobble”, “Gangnam”, “Nae Nae”, “Cupid Shuffle” etc. etc..The “Electric Slide” seems to be the most adaptable, popular and enduring. The song gets the widest demographic on the dance floor at any party.
The fact that certain people at certain events or clubs (mostly restaclubs) are willing to do the dance all night regardless of song being played attests to the song/dance’s popularity. It is possible that it could look boring to someone standing at the DJ booth looking over at the dance floor but then again the DJ doesn’t have to be entertained by the dancers… it is the other way around. Dance On…”

On one hand, the ease and the amount of people attracted to this spontaneous crowd response makes ” Sliding” attractive and creates a feeling of connecting without the personal interaction ( it is not required to request to join a line dance) Some in the industry s though see this as ” Contamination from the Mainstream”  ” Hundreds of thousands of dollars go into creating an exclusive environment in nightclubs . Lighting ,Decor and Sound System. Another important factor is the clientele that contributes to the overall experience. Call it the ” Cool” factor where the target audience is the “trendy” or ” the beautiful people”  . Introduce line dancing into this mix and you might as well have chickens and bushels of hay in the middle of your dance floor. Don’t get me wrong I am guilty of participating in a line dance or two at a relative’s party , but a nightclub setting is no place for this. ‘ responds a local club manager. Club DJs also have a different take than their more understanding ” Mobile” counterparts. ” Lots of work goes into constructing my sets, track selection,  mood , mixing. This is my career . Line Dancing detracts from what I am trying to express through my music. To a certain degree it denigrates my performance. It relegates my ” Club” performance to a common house party. ” it is not surprising that these individuals asked for their names and businesses not be used further fueling the Mobile vs Club DJ friction that has existed for many years.
The bottom line is this that this activity cannot be controlled . Line Dancing or ” Sliding” seems to be on the rise. With the exception of very few styles this dancing technique can be applied to any moderately paced genre. Limited only as to how fast dancers can execute the steps. Do Not Play lists cannot be Do Not Dance lists.Contemporary tracks such as Get Lucky- Daft Punk, Blurred Lines – Robin Thicke, as well as classicPop favorites like Billy Jean – Michael Jackson to name a few have become crowd favorites to Slide to. It seems that ,  You Can’t Hide , From The Slide
Alex Gutierrez