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Everybody Was Kung Fu Dancing

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Ok let's do it.

 

In Masons documentary Fran (RIP) says that the guys were doing kung fu inspired kicks. In the new film it is intimated that kung fu was behind some of the dance moves.

In "Who shot Liberty Valence" there is a line that says "when the lie becomes the truth - print the truth". In countless film reviews, I am reading that the dance moves were/are kung fu inspired. 

Between us we should be able to arrive at the truth, or at least 'a truth' that we can agree on.

 

Firstly, this style of dancing pre-dates the arrival of kung fu to the UK. As a child of about eight or nine (1966) I saw guys dancing like this when my (Wheelie) sisters took me to a local club/coffee bar. I am sure there are guys on this forum who can confirm this. So let's look at alternatives:

 

1. the dance move was 'picked-up' from various travelling soul stars and glimpses of black Americans dancing on films and newsreels.

 

2. The move was a progression from the Teddy Boys dancing. Even I remember watching some of those guys kicking and back-dropping in the working men's clubs - whilst I sat under the table with my crisps and bottle of orange.

 

3. We actually invented it! N. Soul dance is basically free-form jazz dancing with a few basic steps, why could it not be that it just started with some bloke thinking "I need to kick to this break".

 

This has nothing to do with Wigan, etc. We are trying to find out how it started.

 

We need the older guys to chip in on this one. Come on fellas, what's your thoughts?

 

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Every time Kab Darge is a talking head on one of these documentaries, he trots this Kung Fu statement out.  It may be his opinion, but it makes me cringe every time I hear it. Its bollox as far as I'm concerned. Just my opinion though. The TV series made KF popular was broadcast in 73/74.

 

Paul

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My view is that probably all of the factors mentioned in the original post played their part.

i.e.

NS Dance has evolved from other styles of dancing. Seeing Soul Artistes dancing and performing elaborate moves, live or on screen, had a great influence in the direction the style of dance evolved. The ability of some dancers to embellish their moves may have been due to the stretching and high kicks that they practised in their Kung Fu or Karate classes which were around certainly before '68 when I first took them up. (Maybe those that sought something different out of life applied this to 'sport' as much as music). The fact that NS and Martial Arts simultaneously enjoyed a certain popularity in the early 70's is a mere coincidence, but a fortunate one for those that had the energy to be involved in both.

 

:hatsoff2: - Kev.

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I blame Sandy Holt. Early floor artists back-dropped to Funky Street but the Allnighter acrobats lifted floorwork to greater heights. By the time Wigan was ultra-commercial, Dragon Films and David Carradine had left their mark on plenty looking for a twist to their choreographed routine. Sandy popularised the move in his Wigan dance competitions as a prelude to a sequence of tricks. Kev has immortalised the concept in a documentary contribution admitting that martial arts fans inevitably used moves from practises in their dance routines. The move continues to plague the scene - it should have died out with the Tiller Girls but it's still popular at the Moulin Rouge and Yorkshire discos, weddings and football matches.

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I blame Sandy Holt. Early floor artists back-dropped to Funky Street but the Allnighter acrobats lifted floorwork to greater heights. By the time Wigan was ultra-commercial, Dragon Films and David Carradine had left their mark on plenty looking for a twist to their choreographed routine. Sandy popularised the move in his Wigan dance competitions as a prelude to a sequence of tricks. Kev has immortalised the concept in a documentary contribution admitting that martial arts fans inevitably used moves from practises in their dance routines. The move continues to plague the scene - it should have died out with the Tiller Girls but it's still popular at the Moulin Rouge and Yorkshire discos, weddings and football matches.

That struck a chord with me ,you mentioning guys back dropping to Funky Street ,as the first time I witnessed this style of dancing was to that very record ....

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That struck a chord with me ,you mentioning guys back dropping to Funky Street ,as the first time I witnessed this style of dancing was to that very record ....

It did have the instructions, " you jump up and down and you turn around, bend your knees half way down to the ground".  If I remember correctly

 

Paul

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That struck a chord with me ,you mentioning guys back dropping to Funky Street ,as the first time I witnessed this style of dancing was to that very record ....

Yep, me too. A few older lads were bopping around a car park and had a Bush Discassette with a small carrying case of soul sounds. Arthur Conley was played again and again by popular request by us youngsters who were not only too young to get into clubs, but had never danced a step and were knock-kneed at the prospect of even asking a girl to dance at the school disco.

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Always thought Northern Soul and Kung Fu was an awesome combination - and that association goes back to my teens in the 70s.

 

Cheers

 

Richard

It looks awesome on the picture sleeve of the Edwyn Collins 45 A Girl Like You. Anyone got a scan or know the dude? Now KF is being mentioned by every other media contributor, it's time to squelch the rumour.

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Ok let's do it.

 

In Masons documentary Fran (RIP) says that the guys were doing kung fu inspired kicks. In the new film it is intimated that kung fu was behind some of the dance moves.

In "Who shot Liberty Valence" there is a line that says "when the lie becomes the truth - print the truth". In countless film reviews, I am reading that the dance moves were/are kung fu inspired. 

Between us we should be able to arrive at the truth, or at least 'a truth' that we can agree on.

 

Firstly, this style of dancing pre-dates the arrival of kung fu to the UK. As a child of about eight or nine (1966) I saw guys dancing like this when my (Wheelie) sisters took me to a local club/coffee bar. I am sure there are guys on this forum who can confirm this. So let's look at alternatives:

 

1. the dance move was 'picked-up' from various travelling soul stars and glimpses of black Americans dancing on films and newsreels.

 

2. The move was a progression from the Teddy Boys dancing. Even I remember watching some of those guys kicking and back-dropping in the working men's clubs - whilst I sat under the table with my crisps and bottle of orange.

 

3. We actually invented it! N. Soul dance is basically free-form jazz dancing with a few basic steps, why could it not be that it just started with some bloke thinking "I need to kick to this break".

 

This has nothing to do with Wigan, etc. We are trying to find out how it started.

 

We need the older guys to chip in on this one. Come on fellas, what's your thoughts?

It had nothing to do with Kung Fu. More to do with kids replicating teddy boy backdrops and copying travelling soul artists and invention. 

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I remember lots of guys dancing like they were Kung Fu fighting - indeed these guys were fast as lightening - and if I'm honest it was a little bit frightening........

Edited by Zed1

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Every time Kab Darge is a talking head on one of these documentaries, he trots this Kung Fu statement out.  It may be his opinion, but it makes me cringe every time I hear it. Its bollox as far as I'm concerned. Just my opinion though. The TV series made KF popular was broadcast in 73/74.

 

Paul

I feel the same myself,its an illustration ,a very good one of how history can be distorted and lie become truth,you know what is really great about this movie,and it is a cracking one too,Northern soul the movie has brought more than a few folk on the forums stating how it was as concerning the use of gear,the style of dress,the true story behind  you can coco's(clown like half mast chestbanded big,big baggies),who wore what,when they wore it.Now the myth about kunf fu and martial arts being the reason northern soul dancing has acrobatic moves in it,some peoples style of dancing that is being critiqued and good ! because we are not one big mass of clones who dress ,dance and have the same beliefs and behaviour towards drug taking,no we are individuals who made, up make up the greatest music scene ever the only thing we can say for certain that we all to a man or woman do is love our music.Great to see so many folk coming forward and stating the truth with such strong emotions.

Edited by manusf3a

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Anyone for Carl Douglas? Disliked Kung Fu Fighting at the time but quite like it now. Hope the latest wave of recruits to the scene don't bring any Ninja Turtle moves into their dance routines, or come to think of it, any Funky Chickens either...

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I've always been of the understanding that most of the moves were already there before the Kung Fu craze came along but those who got involved in it were able to enhance there moves on the floor due to the Kung Fu training & take them to a higher level.I've never believed it was the origins of the moves themselves,always thought they evolved from what was said in the original post?

Just as I've had to use my rugby training on occasions with the odd hand off when some Whirling Dervisher has bee hurtling towards me :D

Martyn

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It's frustrating but I am starting to get used to people rewriting the history of the Northern soul scene, to suit themselves.

Never ,Never mate never become used to it!inches and miles comes to mind,theres already been enough creeping malaise!

Edited by manusf3a

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Definitely qualify as one of the 'older guys' on here so here are my recollections of first seeing kicks & back drops on the dance floor.

Between 1965 & 1967 we frequented a dance hall in Halifax we called Pailings after the owner (officially the Princecess Ballroom?). At that time it played mostly what now would be called Club Soul and attracted mod types, however presumably because a few years earlier it was a Rock & Roll venue a few Greasers hung around which caused a bit of tension!

To appease the Teddy Boys the DJ played 2 or 3 records for them halfway through the night and they did kicks, back drops etc in the middle of the floor whilst the rest of us looked on in amazement, really bizarre thinking about it now.

In my mind this is where this element of NS dancing comes from, nothing to do with Kung Fung at all.

Towards the end of '67 the more uptempo records increased in popularity, no doubt influenced by Wheel attendees and essentially the dancing evolved from basic shuffling from one foot to the other to a faster more fluid 'floaty' style with spins (for those that could) and hand claps.

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Outside the Casino one saturday night , a bald adolesent asked me out for a fight , he was no bigger than a twopenny fart , he was a deft exponent of a martial art :thumbsup:

 

 

 

:P

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Definitely qualify as one of the 'older guys' on here so here are my recollections of first seeing kicks & back drops on the dance floor.

Between 1965 & 1967 we frequented a dance hall in Halifax we called Pailings after the owner (officially the Princecess Ballroom?). At that time it played mostly what now would be called Club Soul and attracted mod types, however presumably because a few years earlier it was a Rock & Roll venue a few Greasers hung around which caused a bit of tension!

To appease the Teddy Boys the DJ played 2 or 3 records for them halfway through the night and they did kicks, back drops etc in the middle of the floor whilst the rest of us looked on in amazement, really bizarre thinking about it now.

In my mind this is where this element of NS dancing comes from, nothing to do with Kung Fung at all.

Towards the end of '67 the more uptempo records increased in popularity, no doubt influenced by Wheel attendees and essentially the dancing evolved from basic shuffling from one foot to the other to a faster more fluid 'floaty' style with spins (for those that could) and hand claps.

Hear ,Hear! history becomes made clear as myth falls away,Yip man and co did not influence  truely  hip man and co from the style of dancing they  got done to the early sounds being spun on this great scene of ours in the days of its early beginnings in the sixties,good post mate!!myth and kung fu  k o ed by truth from the words of one who was there .The link to the Teds in my opinion is strong!! the evidence is there!Lets hear more from the folks who were there! in those early years.

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...here you go

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=dKy9ulkIPgo

Keb Darge once told me he learnt all his moves from this.

(Not to mention his taste in shirt fabrics ...)

When I was in approved school called Ardale in Essex way before enter the dragon the black lads from London would put records on the radiogram in the house,reggae from Jamaica import style not available in yer hmv etc shops here in the uk,certainly not commercial.There was some real fast uptempo stuff as well,these lads would dance to it  with a very fast two step shuffle,do backdrops,swallow dives drop a hanky on the floor while dancing and go into a splits to pick it back up again  always keeping time,this sort of dancing and moves like the teddy boys did  had been around for years in the illegal house  blues and underground clubs in London no doubt other parts of the country as well .At that time if you asked any of the lads  ,did you get those moves from watching Bruce Lee the answer would be along the lines of "Whos he mate?wheres he live"! My good mate Steve Walters (best mate in the school really)from Battersea was really brilliant though all the lads were the biz ,Used to have some early funky stuff played as well,though they did like our style of soul but not as much as funk or reggae.Think at the time that style of reggae and dancing was widespread as part of the black culture in the UK,big cities and towns anyway with London at its centre!

 

Oh yeh , watched Steve and the lads at least two years before carl douglas's kung fu fighting hit the Uk nearer three.I bet for the lads and lasses going further back having grown up round black culture they would have seen this style of dancing as well with the acrobatic content so here another source of possible filtering through into our scene along with the big influence of the teds , again no, "Hi ya,chop suey  boot the hat of the baddies head kunf fu , thats what s behind that way of dancing going on!"

 

In fact as well as reading  Murgs post I would to see some comment by me  mate Mr  Paul Brennan of Luton early stalwart of the scene sixties and wheel era.Paul was a top dancer now aged sixty five he can still move on the floor but back then was doing the whole gammut of acrobatic moves including front dives off tables,running up walls etc and as he and other's tell me he wasnt the only one as there was some brilliant dancers from our part of the world,northants,beds,cambs, though I was to young to see them in action early on at nighters  remember a little later being at  soul nights at the northpark and corby bowl when soul was played round about the time of  harboro nighters(To young for them but manged to do soul nights though well under age) era when I was about thirteen and used to go to those places and  lads they were to my mind eyes etc fantastic and instant heroes to me for their stye of dance,dress etc and of course the music they were dancing to.Right starting to stray a bit there so back hard on track,Paul and the others werent influenced early days by the chip chop suey man and his movies I am pretty sure of that,anyway I hope he comments on this thread as he was certainly one of those there and doing it early days and I respect his knowledge and accounts of the then scene.Come on Paul if you are reading this tell it how it is,I am going to pm you about it anyway mate.

Edited by manusf3a

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Tom Jones, and Frankie Vaughn used to do kicks, are we to suppose they'd first been watching one of Run Run Shaw's epics? I wasn't at the Wheel, but just can't see a conversation along the lines of, where did you get that dance move, oh it was some chinese guy on the Green Hornet. It's got to be that the drops and moves were originally seen at performances by black artists, copied and then enhanced. Maybe those doing martial arts incorporated some of their training, but to claim that as the origins, just doesn't ring true with me. 

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Some dancers use Martial art moves in their dancing and it shows, but these must have been incorperated in the style after the influence of Movies like "Enter the dragon" (1973 ). I guess  alot of kids took up Martial arts and found the NS scene shortly after that.

I should imagine the earlier NS scene was inspired by alot of other styles , especially Jazz.(as mentioned earlier )

I've seen some early footage (on TV ) from the States of  young  Black kids dancing on street corners, busking for money (1950 's). Those moves seem more relevent than alot of other dance styles. 

The various NS dance styles out there are a mixture of many types of dance moves , I guess we adopt the style that best suits our own physical capabilities.

 

Mines down to a shuffle now !  

Edited by Bossfourpart1

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I blame Sandy Holt.

 

Before any egos get involved here, this move pre-dates Sandy, Keb, Wigan, the lot of them. Just because they did kung fu doesn't mean that is the birth of the move. Next thing you know we'll have an ice skater claiming he invented the spin.

 

I'm starting to lean towards the Teddy-boys picking it up from maybe Lindy Hoppers. I think murgs is on the right track.

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Tom Jones, and Frankie Vaughn used to do kicks, are we to suppose they'd first been watching one of Run Run Shaw's epics? I wasn't at the Wheel, but just can't see a conversation along the lines of, where did you get that dance move, oh it was some chinese guy on the Green Hornet. It's got to be that the drops and moves were originally seen at performances by black artists, copied and then enhanced. Maybe those doing martial arts incorporated some of their training, but to claim that as the origins, just doesn't ring true with me. 

Me neither!Winnie!

Edited by manusf3a

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Before any egos get involved here, this move pre-dates Sandy, Keb, Wigan, the lot of them. Just because they did kung fu doesn't mean that is the birth of the move. Next thing you know we'll have an ice skater claiming he invented the spin.

 

I'm starting to lean towards the Teddy-boys picking it up from maybe Lindy Hoppers. I think murgs is on the right track.

So do I .

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What have you done with Manus, he doesn't write 3 word replies... :D  :P

I also stayed quiet for very long periods of time while sitting next to Kimbo,Mark and Lisa on Wednesday night here at the the showcase cinema.Though they didnt say I think  they all may have thought something was wrong or certainly unusual about the extended quiet periods of time exhibited by myself.Thats it Winnie I will now blame Northern Soul the movie for that outburst of three word replies ha ha.Actualy as I have already written numerous times,certainly more than three across the forums already we had a great time and really enjoyed the movie.In my opinion it has sparked off some great discussion across various threads with no doubt lots more to come,isnt OUR scene great!!!!!!!

Edited by manusf3a

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I recall reading an excellent article somewhere years back that explained very logically the inspiration for many of the moves we associate with Northern Soul dancing.

 

The steps, the article stated, were copied and adapted from the choreographed routines performed on stage by many groups such as - in the 60s - the Temptations. Acrobatics have their origins in countless sources and trace a lineage back to troubadours, minstrel shows and so on. Wherever there's been entertainment there's been acrobatics and acrobatic dance routines (witness the NIcholas Brothers, Bill "Bo Jangles" Robinson and many, many others).

 

In the days of the variety shows at places such as the Apollo, many entertainers specialised uniquely in performing dance routines. To stay on top of your game - and win that much needed applause from the audience - you had to innovate; come up with new moves and combinations of moves. Your routines had to be fresh.

 

Musical groups quite naturally incorporated acrobatic routines into their choreographed dance moves. People, wanting to impress their peers, copy these moves, invent their own and in turn these are copied by other people. Next thing you know you have a whole new dance style.

 

The article that I read said that one of the most influential 'dancing groups' of the 60s was Alvin Cash and the Crawlers. Apparently their on stage routines were something to behold. 

 

Did martial arts influence Northern Soul dancing? Of course it would have done - for some people, but not everyone. And once somebody does a 'martial arts' move for the first time, the person copying or adapting it won't see it as being a 'kung fu kick' or whatever. It's just a move.

 

At the end of the dancing day, Northern Soul moves have been inspired and copied from many sources. Once copied though, moves and styles are adapted and become something unique by itself. Northern Soul dancing is Northern Soul dancing no matter who in history first thought of doing a spin, a backdrop or a high kick.

Edited by Russell Gilbert

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I also stayed quiet for very long periods of time while sitting next to Kimbo,Mark and Lisa on Wednesday night here at the the showcase cinema.Though they didnt say I think  they all may have thought something was wrong or certainly unusual about the extended quiet periods of time exhibited by myself.Thats it Winnie I will now blame Northern Soul the movie for that outburst of three word replies ha ha.Actualy as I have already written numerous times,certainly more than three across the forums already we had a great time and really enjoyed the movie.In my opinion it has sparked off some great discussion across various threads with no doubt lots more to come,isnt OUR scene great!!!!!!!

It's excellent, even though the denials of certain aspects, and the myths about certain others are surfacing at a rate of knots.  :thumbsup:

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ek9-HGHT1Pk

 

And this man dancing like this since the early 60s and Jackie Wilson too , both influencing the moves of other Soul artists and onto us.

 

Cheers

Manus ( t'other one)

From Manus the other one what a phooking magical mover James Brown was,superb dancer.Cheers for posting the vid its a real treat to watch.

Edited by manusf3a

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It's excellent, even though the denials of certain aspects, and the myths about certain others are surfacing at a rate of knots.  :thumbsup:

Its te discussion and surfacing of those things at such a rate that I think is such a healthy thing that the movie has sparked off,all for more of the same.

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From Manus the other one what a phooking magical mover James Brown was,superb dancer.Cheers for posting the vid its a real treat to watch.

 

Hello Manus , yes James Brown sure knew how to pack some power into his music and his moves , all the best Manus ( t'other one)

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Before the 'northern" branding we back dropped like fury to Funky street,six by six and owt that had a good break in it,hands got filthy mind

From my earliest northern soul nights at the youth club as a lad Funky Street was THE record (still love it btw) - literally used to sprint to the floor from wherever you were... then it was mostly backdrops and semi-splits(!).

 

No kung fu influence at all from anybody I used to dance with..can't remember any martial arts style kicks as such - it was organic, we danced like the older lads and lasses we'd seen in the discos, they danced to the older kids they'd seen when they were starting out and so on. Any high(ish) kicks were just to punctuate the music now and then, but not kung fu or (God forbid) sporty moves!

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If it was Kung Fu orientated.. how come I never saw anyone jump from the floor the balcony at Wigan .. like Bruce Lee did  when he ended up in that tree..

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If it was Kung Fu orientated.. how come I never saw anyone jump from the floor the balcony at Wigan .. like Bruce Lee did  when he ended up in that tree..

More pertinent, how come none of us were dubbed badly when we were speaking to one another :)

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