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Jacking, or the jack, is a freestyle dance move in which the dancer ripples his or her torso back and forth in an undulating motion.

Jacking developed in the late 1980s, and is especially associated with Chicago house music.[1] Just as house music evolved from disco, jacking came from the expressiveness of disco dancing.[1] As house music evolved, the dance and movement associated with house also began to change. Thematically, house music endorsed an abandonment of subjectivity and self-will, promoting the ecstasy of being enthralled with the beat.[1] Post-sexual delirium is reflected in the Chicago dance style known as "jacking".[1] Jacking replaced the pelvic thrusting and booty shaking of disco with a whole-body frenzy of polymorphously perverse tics and convulsive pogo-ing.[1]

In Europe, jacking caught-on as a move for more uptempo house music, and was sometimes performed as a sexualized partner dance.[citation needed]

Pop culture[edit]

Jacking's early exportation from the U.S. to Europe spawned a repatriation of sorts in the early 1990s, along with the spread of house. Janet Jackson's "Rhythm Nation" and Madonna's "Vogue" include quintessential jackin beats that had crossover pop appeal. Like most jackin' moves, however, both singers' corresponding videos featured highly stylized, "hard" motion choreography which characterized both singers' careers in the '90s.

More recently, some well known House artists like Jamiroquai have made use of Jack beats, often incorporating them into house tracks. Much growth of the current underground American Jack beat scene has occurred in the Acid and Deep house / Soulful house veins, where jack rhythms are often fused with the deeper, polyrhythmic melodies from Afro-Cuban Jazz and WorldBeat genres. Many of these jacking-influenced tracks and jack hybrid rhythms are often listed under Soulful House, Deep House, or in cases where disco or even neo-soul melodies are used, Rare Grooves.

American, European and other worldwide mainstream audiences have the most contact with jack music and dance forms in contemporary prime time productions of the myriad dance shows like America's Best Dance Crew. Other more highly stylized forms of the dance have found their way into house and break sessions of all kinds all over the world, with many performing dance performing art magnets incorporating both jack music into more traditional styles of modern dance.


  1. ^ a b c d e Reynolds, Simon (1999). Generation Ecstasy: Into the World of House Music and Rave Culture. Routledge. pp. 1025–1039.

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