Erratic beats and synthesized sounds of techno music are much too often heard in the culture of today's youth. However, a more disturbing fact is that following the increasing levels of techno music came the reemergence of the so-called dance technique of "shuffling."During winter break, my friends and I went to the movies to catch a late showing. Before walking into the theatre, we could not help but stare at a group of younger students, probably from middle school, standing around in a circle with their iPods in their ears while stomping their feet, a few of them even tripping over their own foot. As we walked closer, we could hear the beats of techno music blasting from the iPods, and it dawned on us that they were not just extremely uncoordinated kids as was suspected, but were actually attempting to shuffle. Shuffling outside of a movie theatre, must I say more? This is when I came to the realization of how mainstream techno and shuffling has become. Not that I didn't have my suspicions before, particularly when every high school party now consists mainly of the drowning techno beats, as I found myself feeling claustrophobic, seemingly suffocating under the feet of the masses that were attempting to shuffle. I am not exaggerating, either. As soon as the techno music comes on, all the "shufflers" swarm and form a circle, as one by one they take turns shuffling in center, as the viewers mindlessly watch and sometimes give a nod of approval here and there. Last time I checked, students went to parties to socialize and dance with other people, not to stand in a circle and watch some random guy stomping his feet. And yes, attempting is the proper verb, for a very small percentage of the shufflers today actually have any ability to do so. Because it is now the "cool" trend, suddenly everyone thinks they magically gained some shuffling talent overnight. "I think shuffling is overrated, and half of the people that shuffle can't even really do it," said senior Natalie Bedran. "Plus, I feel like it just leads you to wanting to go to raves, which is not safe." Shuffling, originating back in the 80s, first crept into the rave and club scenes, and remained there as a popular dance style. Recently, however, shuffling seems to have escaped the clubs and intruded into the high school "house party" scene, as techno began replacing hip hop music. For those that have been lucky enough to be sheltered from the world of today's mainstream shuffling and do not know what shuffling is, the name says it all: people merely shuffle their feet, and maybe add in a little spin or some hand movements. Oh but of course, it is classified as a dance move because music is added. The Age, a broadsheet Australian newspaper, described shuffling as "a cross between the chicken dance and a foot-stomping robot," a pretty accurate description, I would say. What further amazes me, however, is how shuffling seems to have surpassed the club, rave, or party scene and has altogether jumped into our schools, movie theatres, and other local arenas. Yes, unfortunately, even our schools have been infected by the shuffling epidemic. Merely a week ago, I was sitting in class, when the desks began to shake as the ASB was booming techno music out in the quad during lunch time. To my unpleasant surprise, as soon as I walked out to lunch, there had already been a shuffling circle formed in the center of the quad, as more and more people joined in as either viewers or as shuffling participants. The question is, will this Shuffling Epidemic ever cease? Or are we all doomed to become mindless chicken-dancing , robot-stomping shufflers? In the meantime, protect your loved ones, or else next thing you know they'll be pushed into the center of a massive shuffling circle, mindlessly conforming to the Shuffling Epidemic.
********** Published: January 15, 2010 - Volume 8 - Issue 39