Memphis Jookin ‘wins Red Bull Dance Your Style competition – VIBE.com
When asked to describe the perfect jookin performance, Memphis legend, Three 6 Mafia DJ Paul, replied clearly: “Dude, do you know how they really kill him?” This is when they float. Some of these guys look like they screwed up. They’re on tiptoe, but it’s like they’re floating in the air. You have guys here who are going to do a crazy ride and a crazy float. I love stuff like that because we all grew up watching Michael Jackson walk on the moon.
All this and more is exactly what the competition brought to red Taurus Memphis’ Dance Your Style qualifier earlier this month (October 10). Hundreds of enthusiastic viewers gathered in the outdoor section of the local Railgarten spot to watch 16 sets of one-on-one dance battles between performers from across the country. Hosted by New Orleans artist-entrepreneur-producer Pell and artist and dancer from Memphis Myles Yachts, the event pProceeds from ticket sales were donated to Hurricane Ida relief efforts organized by MaCCNO (The Music & Culture Coalition of New Orleans).
Hyped by Pell and Yachts, a dense crowd surrounded the dance floor to choose the toughest dancer at each turn. The Memphis dancers had home court advantage, which was evident in the crowd-voted results. But the skills, talent, and sensational moments of the crowd were the ultimate sale. The intricate jookin ‘freestyle routines were hard to beat. The final two performers, DanceBeastElise, 16, and Jadyn Smooth, 18, brought the local dance style of jookin ‘to the fore, placing second and first respectively.
Jookin ‘is a style of dance born on the streets of Memphis. It focuses on footwork and should not be confused with Chicago style of footwork or Detroit style of jit movement. Jookin ‘has evolved from gangsta walking and incorporates the poise and poise of ballet, the swagger of hip-hop, and the elegance of Michael Jackson’s best moonwalk.
“It’s something that was created in our hometown, it’s something that was created that originated in our city. He is protected by knowing the good story behind him, ”Yachts shared. The musician and dancer shared his famous Memphis jookin ‘story with ATMOSPHERE ahead of the competition.
“It was before my time. It was like, in the early 80’s. I wasn’t even born yet… let’s start with the gangster march. These guys walked the way and showed the steps of the gangster walk and make it something today. Without the gangster march, there would be no jookin ‘.
When looking to learn more about the distinct dance, most Memphis dancers and jookin ‘fans will point you to LaShonté Pop, dance teacher and performer. As a competitor in the red Taurus Qualified as “Dance Your Style” in Memphis, she was eliminated in the first round, beaten by Jadyn Smooth, one of her students.
For LaShonté Pop, jookin ‘isn’t just a celebration of Memphis culture; She uses dance to mentor the young people. It’s also an extension of her creative prowess as not only does she dance to records created by southern hip-hop groups, but she is also primarily fueled by her own music. As a little child in the 90s, she went to the Crystal Palace, a popular ice rink now closed with her mother walking around in gangsta.
“My only goal and objective is to provide opportunities for people who have succeeded me,” she shared after the competition ended. “I taught in the school system, I taught over 5,000 children, and a lot of them were in the neighborhood… in the ghetto. It is [dancing] just the way they naturally express themselves. It was my job to polish and refine them, and make sure they knew their purpose.
“The same focus and the same things that I want to make sure the world knows [Memphis]. I make sure my students have the same mindset. So when they go out into the world they teach the same and make sure people know the basics [of jookin’] come from Memphis, know that it is a whole culture and that it is not a trend or a TikTok dance. This is certainly how I treated the students, taking them under my wing and guiding them as they grow up.
DanceBeastElise finalist and winner Jadyn Smooth both learned from Lashonte Pop and are involved in Memphis dance circles and communities. All shared the pride and appreciation of their opponent and their hometown after the competition ended with Jookin ‘reigning supreme.
“I really don’t care if I lose because I lost my brother so it’s okay,” shared a excited DanceBeastElise. She revealed that a hiccup for her in the tournament was not knowing some of the music. DJ Mikey Offline created a mix of old and new records of all genres, leaving the Gen Z performer to guess what each song would bring.
“I was really trying to get second (Laughs) so that I can learn the rhythm quickly. When I dance to new music, I always try to find the background beats and other stuff to feel like I’m catching things that people wouldn’t hear in the song.
Smooth added, “The fact that we do this together every day. I work with Elise every day at rehearsals… Lashonte has taught me since I was a kid. Being able to make her understand that was amazing… a real one. teacher versus student moment.
As the winner, Jadyn Smooth left the site fully prepared for the upcoming battle in the nation’s capital, both confident and talented. After defeating the array of challengers presented to him, the Memphis dancer had every reason to feel satisfied.
“The top four go to Washington no matter what,” he reflected on his state of mind after taking first place. “I was like, as long as I get the top, boom… I’m straight. But in fact, I knew I was going to win.
The Red Bull “Dance Your Style” competition continued with the final regional qualification in Miami on October 17th. The Red Bull BC One US National Final took place in Washington DC on October 22-23. Angyil mcneal won the trophy for going forward and representing the whole country at the Red Bull “Dance Your Style” World Final in Johannesburg, South Africa, December 4-5.