“A landmark documentary...delineates how virtuosity becomes identity”
- Debra Cash, NPR/WBUR
In a city that has instigated hostile laws to control the actual clubs, Underground clubs are defined more by what takes place inside. Underground clubs (as the name suggests) seek to stay under the radar. If someone wants to find the best club party, they have to actively seek information about when and where that might be occurring, which heightens the aura of being secretive and exclusive to a special group of people.
In NYC, and this is true for many clubs in America’s big cities, different nights are dedicated to different crowds, with music and dance specifically catered to their particular tastes. Instead of having loyalty to one particular club, Househeads seek out which “party” to follow. “Parties” are fluid events whose organizers/promoters throw special House-music and dancing nights hosted by well-liked DJs. Dancers also shift and navigate through a series of clubs on a single night, staying in one place until it closes or they get bored, then they move on to another club that stays open later or has a better vibe.
A dedicated Househead has to be in, and stay in, the loop to know which party is happening on which night. Parties do little advertising beyond the internet, FaceBook, word of mouth, and maybe some postcards or fliers handed out on the sidewalks. Within the hierarchy of Underground-House clubs, there are different levels of visibility. Serious dancers tend to patronize the lesser-known and less visible spots. In NYC, hard-core house dancers keep away from the heavily publicized clubs, which claim to be “underground” but which the real House dancers consider too “touristy.” “Touristy” means that club attracts a non-dancing crowd that chooses a club because they believe it is “in” rather than knowing it is a great place to hear music and dance.
On the floor, strobe lights pixilate space and action, light cones probe the darkness and whirling light-flecks reflect off mirrored balls to produce visual and physical disorientation. Everything is in motion. The only way to get balanced and centered is to move your feet. House music is produced and EQ’d to be listened to with the body. The person is acknowledged and recognized not by their name but by how they move.
ADDITIONAL CLUB DANCERS