Fresh Paint – Flexing by Michael Jagdharry

As we’ve progressed into the future, dance styles have become decreasingly orthodox. We’ve gone from traditional ballroom dancing, ballet, and even flamenco baile to breakdancing, robotic techno dance (here’s an example, and just completely random and unique dances such as gangnam style. But recently a new style of dance has emerged called “flexing”.

Flexing, also called Bone Breaking, is a form of dance in which flexors (those who practice flexing) perform rhythmic contortionist movement. That is, they bend and flex their bodies beyond human’s normal range of flexibility in rhythm with whatever music is playing. Typically hip-hop or rap music accompanies flexing, however the dance style did not emerge from this genre of music. Flexing originates from a Jamaican style of dance called brukup, which is characterized by popping and locking, and is accompanied by dancehall and reggae music. Brukup also incorporates flexing; here is an example:

At the Dumbo Arts Festival in Brooklyn, a flexing event was held called “Flex is Kings Live”, in which 20 dancers showed off their flexing skills. Flexors often perform shirtless for showmanship. One dancer aliased “Flizzo” removed his shirt to reveal his name, which was tattoed across his belly.  Flexors also incorporate hats in their performance to add zest and give a new flavor to old flexing routines. Some hat tricks include spinning the hat around one of the fingers, throwing the hat up into the air so that it can be caught in rhythm with an elbow or knee, and simply transferring the hat to different parts of the body in a smooth, fluid motion that is in rhythm with the music.

So what are your opinions about flexing? Or about the general evolution of dance? Will there be a limit to how strange and odd these new styles may become? Will older styles of dance such as ballroom dancing one day become extinct? Interesting things to ponder.


12 thoughts on “Fresh Paint – Flexing by Michael Jagdharry

  1. The brukup dance performance looked really cool. Good idea to embed a video as an example. I think flexing seems pretty interesting. Personally, I find street dancing much more interesting than traditional forms of dances. It tends to be more improvised which offers an original and fresh performance each time.

    I feel like the more conventional forms of dancing won’t exactly become extinct but over time they will definitely change. I feel like Hollywood movies like Step Up have helped encourage people to incorporate new innovative styles to traditional dances to bring new excitement to the performance. Much like fashion and technology, dance too will just improve and modify over time.

  2. If Flexing is anything like Brukup, my opinion is it’s terrific. I love the Brukup video, but it looks like those dancers are contorting their bodies in the way you describe as Flexing. In any case, as a geographer, I wonder where Flexing came from and where it is happening and evolving right now. Just Brooklyn? Jamaica too? The rest of the US? It seems like the south had almost a monopoly on new American dance crazes for a while, is NYC making a come back?

  3. This is truly interesting. The way that these dancers can twist their bodies is incredible. I agree that dance has evolved so much over the years just in America by itself, yet alone in all countries around the world. But I have to say, this type of dance is a but unusual.

  4. I agree with Phoebee, new dance styles are being encouraged by society, and just like any other facet of life, dance will change over time.

    In response to Owen, Brukup originated in Jamaica and moved to New York around 1994. It was founded by a man named George Adams. As for the geographic movement of this dance style over time, I’m not sure. But, as this is a Jamaican/West Indian style of dance, it will probably follow people of this demographic wherever they go.

  5. I think flexing is really interesting. It’s amazing to see the ways that some people can move their bodies. The evolution of dance is fascinating to me and I think its really cool to see new dances up against ones they grew out of. I think that dance will continue to branch into even stranger styles since anything new seems strange. And I don’t think older forms of dance will go out of style because there is still admiration for them, and instead I think there will just be an ever-increasing selection of styles to choose from.

  6. Flexing is a really cool, fresh dance type. You ask if we think older, traditional styles of dance will eventually becomes extinct. My answer to that is that they will not. First of all, to be a flexor you need to be extremely flexible by nature, which most people are not. I don’t see flexing becoming a dominant dance style because it’s so hard to master. Traditional ballroom dancing, on the other hand, does take a lot of practice, but almost everyone can physically do it. Second of all, art in general is a never-ending cycle between old and new. While an art style may gain or lose popularity as time goes by, it is never completely lost. When people get bored of what is now “modern,” they often go back and revive the “old.”

  7. I think flexing is quite interesting. Is incredible to me how some of the flexors in the video you embedded can bend and move their bodies. The evolution of dance has been captivating to me. Looking from the traditional ballroom to the now popular Gangnam style the definition of dance have definitely changed. I think in pop culture nowadays, anything strange and new can and may become popular. However i dont think that traditional forms of dancing will die out because people will always admire dancing such as ballroom.

  8. Honestly, I didn’t find this type of dancing to be as interesting as everyone else seemed to have. It certainly is incredible how flexible these dancers are and the crazy positions they can get into, but overall it just wasn’t very entertaining to me.
    What I do find fascinating is how dance has evolved over the decades. It’s crazy to think about comparing traditional slow dancing next to typical dancing that we see today at concerts and in music videos (yes Amy, like Gangnam Style).
    As for whether or not traditional dances would eventually become extinct, I agree with everyone else in saying that it will not. Just like the fact that we still listen to and enjoy the beautiful music that was created all throughout the last century, I feel like traditional dancing has, and will always have, a place in modern society.

  9. I think the flexing thing is pretty cool. It almost looks like they’re hovering a little bit over the ground and the transitions are really smooth.

    As for old styles of dance becoming extinct, I doubt it. I feel that as time goes on different dances become popular, but there is always a following for older styles. Older styles can also be mixed with modern styles to create new styles. One way or another, I feel the older styles of dance will be kept alive.

  10. Flexing just reminds me as a type of break dancing or hip-hop dance. It reminds me a lot of the dancing I would see on the train. I think it’s cool and entertaining to watch, but I don’t see much that separates it from break dance or hip hop. As for the evolution of dance, I think it’s nice to see dance evolve and change throughout the years. I think dance is a lot like art in the sense that it’s timeless. People will still enjoy a classic waltz ten years in the future the same way that we now enjoy looking at the Mona Lisa.

  11. I don’t think that older forms of dance will ever disappear. With flexing, the old dance of Brukup was brought back to life. Although not in its original form, it was incorporated into flexing to create a new and mixed style. Even though these new styles may seem strange and odd, it is only a matter of taste. With each new generation comes a new way of thinking and a new way of performing. Art, which includes dance, is eternal and ever changing in my opinion.

  12. I also believe that “older” dance styles will never become extinct because “new” styles are just recreations of the “old.” A mix of elements from older styles of dances are usually seen in newer dances.
    Flexing is not as popular as other dance styles probably because it is difficult to master. Not many people are flexible, even dancers, and forcing oneself to become flexible is extremely difficult.

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