Yolo! Ya know, there has been one concern on everyone’s mind as breaking made it into Olympics. Is it good or bad? Genuinely I think it’s a huge achievement for all of us. Inner us is actually proud of this but we also tend to rethink on this topic – like, would breaking lose it’s cultural essence and become just another sport? I feel this could only happen if we decide to abandon the rocking element in breaking as well as in us. That feeling, that groove makes us a true BREAKER.
In the year 2016, Prince Kenswift had been to India for judging Delhi Funk Circle jam. That was exactly when I had the honours to meet this really humble rocking gem and take his workshop. Ever since uprocking has always been on the back of my mind and so is here as the Part 2 of an earlier blog post “Uprocking Back to History”.
Breaking or Rocking?
My my! This topic is troublesome. How could anyone pick one of them? In the blogs earlier, we have very well discussed about Rocking/Uprocking being the precursor of Breaking. So how could there be a choice? Both are essential for each other. Aren’t they?
Yet there has been one legendary battle between two well-thought-of dancers – Bboy Alien Ness (Mighty Zulu Kings) vs. King Uprock (Dynasty Rockers). See how it went down >>>>
Who do y’all think must have won? Nah nah, I ain’t asking you to judge them but after watching the video do y’all think breaking vs. rocking is actually a thing to have a rift on. Yep for fun, for exchange it is all good. But according to me, breaking plus rocking makes a wholesome pack. If one is the precursor then other is the predecessor; none is complete without the other.
Music is dance!
If there is dance, then there has to be music. They are married ya know! The father of American Ballet, George Balanchine once said –
Definitely, uprocking had the same history. Uprocking and uprockers were greatly influenced by rock, soul, funk and disco music. Many of the original rockers were Puerto Ricans and Latinos and so they all grew up listening and dancing to this kind of music. Thus their dancing is also portrayed in Brooklyn and Bronx uprocking. So just knowing the hip hop music or breakbeats doesn’t help you dig into the roots. If you wanna gain access to the roots then you need to listen to all those nasty classics that make your feet tap and your soul Rock… Oopsy! I meant, Uprock 🙂
Along with an uprocker, the DJ must be knowledgeable as well in order to play music for rockdance battles. So both the DJ and the dancer need to be hip for this one. One can’t just play some random mixtapes.
We all have heard the hard driven beats in this popular track by Jimmy Castor – “It’s Just Begun”. Not a human on this planet could stop themself from rocking to it. Another such rocking classic is “Apache” by the Incredible Bongo Band. Kenswift had made us rock to “Galaxy” by War in the workshop I attended in Delhi jam. And the song has stayed my favourite since then <3. And do not forget all the James Brown tracks. He wasn’t just an artist; he is a mood! Another all time favourites is “Get Down On It” by The Gap Band. They are VIBE baby!
Anyways, there are many such classics and now in this era with 24×7 internet access it’s easy to find them. Youtube Music is real blessing. We have been saved us from the ‘music record hunt’. So make sure y’all use this at advantage and dig in more. Hip hop is nothing without these nasty gems!
Infact, as Kostek Rocker says in his article – one can jam to all the “rockable” records. Just keep an open mind and music will find it’s way to you.
Uprocking the fundamentals first!
We break to certain part of music and also not for a long time. Unlike so, uprocking goes on for the entire song. This is one of the reason why an uprocker should have adept knowledge of music. The music works like your weapon to burn your opponent. Saying so, let us leaf through the basics of this style.
- Burns – We express ourself with hand gestures and other story telling visually understandable expressions.
- Freestyle – We can do whatever we feel like to the music, but sticking to the flow of uprocking. We can find inspirations from other dance styles like Latin, House, Hustle, etc. But stick to the uprocking flow of movement.
- Jerks & Drops – These are powerful moves to go-down in uprocking mostly performed at breakdown parts of the music as they look impactful.
In general, people in the sceen think of rocking as just jerks and burns. But in reality there’s a lot more to it. There are many other unknown elements like spins, freezes, shuffles, folds, downrocking (aka Boing oing) and much more in rockdance. The Uprocking plus Downrocking parts further evolved together into Breaking.
And please do not miss the rightly said – Battle of Gods here. Ya know this is called a worthwhile show. They tease, burn, inspire and have fun. Such sportsman spirit! Do read the description below the video in Youtube for their introduction.
All the above action has one place to bring onto i.e. the Apache Line. Unlike the battles in breaking, uprocking is always done on the Apache Line. Basically opponents stand on the either sides on the line and dance off. Anything is allowed as far as there is no touching each other. Each rocker must abide by the rules. For example, a rocker should stick to their line until he/she is tapped on the shoulder so as to switch with the next dancer in order to keep the battle line moving.
Also a rookie rocker needs to battle all the other members on the Apache line created for him/her on their initiation as an uprocker. These are some signs of respect amongst the rockers.
Know more about uprocking…
First of all to know more about the dance, first go through the whole blog written by Kostek Rocker here. Watch the movies suggested and follow the crews mentioned by him. Learning and experiencing in person is a much better way of seeking knowledge. If that’s not possible then online learning is good. Apart from Youtube, follow a few Instagram handles of some known rockers and rocking crews.
Mind that these are just a few references. Refer Part 1 of this blog for more names. Y’all need to dig in deep in your own ways to know more about the style as well. Follow some big event Youtube channels like Freestyle Session, Rock Dance Russia, V1 battle and many more to find more about how uprocking battles go down. Keep deciphering! See y’all next time.