Waack/Punk is a form of dance created in the LGBT clubs of Los Angeles, during the 1970s disco era. This dance style was named punking because "punk" was a derogatory term for gay men in the 1970s. Naming the style punking was a way of turning this negative term into something positive. A "whack" was a specific movement within the punking style. Although the heterosexual dance community enjoyed punking, they did not want to associate themselves with the negative, violent, and sexual connotations of punking and therefore called the dance genre "waackin". Later, Jeffery Daniel added the "g" to waackin to make it "waacking".
Waacking consists of moving the arms to the music beat, typically in a movement of the arms over and behind the shoulder. Waacking also contains other elements such as posing and footwork. Waacking puts a strong emphasis on musicality and interpretation of the music and its rhythm. It also took inspiration stylistically from movie stars such as Lauren Bacall, Marlene Dietrich, Bette Davis and James Dean.
Waacking was popularized by Soul Train and influenced the creation of Outrageous Waacking Dancers, a Los Angeles-based waacking dance group. Waacking gained renewed attention through the American TV series So You Think You Dance in 2011 when a dance routine was choreographed by Kumari Suraj.
The typical music of choice for Waacking is 1970s Disco. The originators of Waacking were said to have danced to underground Disco music and records imported from various European countries.
The style of dance is famously performed by the character Garnet in the cartoon show Steven Universe as a catalyst for many of her magical powers, including summoning magical weapons and fusing with other characters.
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- Outrageous Waack, Ebony, August 1978, p. 64-66.
- Fogarty, Mary. "Waacking, (Punking), Recycling, Schooling: Disco Dance on the Move". The Association of Dance of the African Diaspora.
- "I am Rebecca Sugar, creator of Steven Universe, and former Adventure Time storyboarder, AMA!". Interviewly. Retrieved 2016-08-22.
- http://www.waacktitioners.co.uk/ - the UK's first official Waacking crew, formed in September 2009