From fist-pumping to dabbing: the evolution of dance in the 2010’s

Where did dabbing come from, and why is everyone on our campus' Snapchat story doing it?

Dancing and I have a weird relationship. Most of the time I assume that my dancing skills are similar to Tinashe’s, when in reality they’re more like Carlton in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Flailing my limbs in all directions, I wind up injuring those around me both physically and psychologically. For those of you wondering why everyone on our campus’ Snapchat Story is “dabbing,” we’ve compiled a brief timeline of the decade’s most popular dance moves, and how they came to be.

2010: The Year of the Fist pump

2010 was a good year for doctors and chiropractors everywhere. From the whiplash resulting from Willow Smith’s “Whip My Hair” to the pulled leg muscles of the “Stanky Legg,” 2010 marked a year of aggressive dance statements and long medical bills. Also, Jersey Shore was going through its second season, inspiring it’s audience to fist pump their way through the nightclubs. Needless to say, it was the worst of times.

2011: The Year of the Dougie

Remember the Cali Swag District? Of course you do. The short-lived rap collective was responsible for an infectious dance move called the Dougie that defined 2011. Chances are you couldn’t do it, but there was at least one student in your high school class that could pull it off surprisingly well. Nonetheless, you weren’t alone; after all, the song was titled “Teach Me How To Dougie”.

2012: The Year of Gangnam Style

YouTube views skyrocketed, parody videos ran amok, and before you knew it, everyone was singing along endlessly to K-pop artist PSY’s “Gangnam Style.” The song was undeniably catchy, to the point that everyone around you was shouting “AYYYYY SEXY LAD-AY” while riding an invisible horse. Despite the dougie-ing and fist pumping that preceded it, nothing was ever quite as ridiculous as Gangnam Style.

2013: The Year of the Harlem Shake

If it wasn’t for the Harlem Shake, the Gangnam Style dance may have never gone away. It seems as though the only thing that can put a cork in one popular dance move is another, perhaps crazier dance move. Even better, the ‘Harlem Shake’ required collaboration with others in order to pull it off. At one point, an entire Con Hall lecture participated.

2014: The Year of the Twerk

Although twerking rose to fame in 2013 when the word was added to the Oxford Dictionary, the release of Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda” brought new meaning to the art. It was at this point that twerking not only required a low-to-the-ground stance and speedy hip movement, but allowed for other options as well, such as the infamous wall handstand.

2015: The Year of Hotline Bling

Thanks to the “Hotline Bling” dance, our cherished 6ix God crying at the club became not only acceptable, but stylish as well. Fake-calling your ex and pretending to use a tennis racket became the highest form of art.

2016: The Year of the Dab

This brings us to the Dab. After years of trendy dance moves, the Dab is nothing but another brick in the wall, and perhaps the defining move of 2016. Unlike the previous dance moves, which are awkward and difficult to muster, the Dab is perhaps the simplest dance move yet, begging the question of whether or not this actually qualifies as a dance move. As the illustration instructs: stand up straight, point your arms upwards on a diagonal axis, and look down at your feet. Congratulations, you’ve just dabbed.

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