5 Types of Rave Dances Beyond Shuffling

Photo by Stephen Arnold Via Unsplash
| June 05, 2023

Dancing is at the core of electronic music — it is in the center of the acronym EDM, after all. Going to a show and feeling the bass in your chest, moving your feet to the drums, waving your arms to the synth, and feeling the energy of the surrounding crowd is what the scene is all about. 

Since its emergence several decades ago in black and queer spaces in Detroit and Chicago, along with offshoots in Europe, EDM has evolved into countless sub-genres and subcultures, each with their own distinct norms, habits, rave wear, and dance.

There are commonalities that unite these genres, especially the underlying commitment to peace, love, unity, and respect (PLUR), but the deeper you get into the music, the more you notice the nuances. When it comes to faster paced beats, shuffling seems to be pervasive. Dancers at house and techno shows regularly stretch out their legs and jump and twirl around amid impromptu dance circles.

YouTube tutorials, evening dance classes, and TikTok festival recaps all seem to suggest that learning how to shuffle is a natural progression of EDM fandom. 

But let’s face it: shuffling is hard. It is easy to get down the simple running man steps—but to do it in a way that is elegant is another story. Not to mention the intricate and highly technical steps that elite shufflers maneuver through when in the zone. 

There is a steep learning curve to shuffling; you need to practice for hundreds of hours on your own to get good. It is always impressive when someone strings together a shuffling sequence, but it is also fine to just appreciate the dance style as an observer.

No matter how you choose to dance at a show, as long as you feel empowered and free to express yourself, you are doing it right. But if you want a tried and true dance alternative to shuffling, here are five options to test out.

Check out iEDM's 5 Types of Rave Dances Beyond Shuffling below.


1) Freestyle

Photo by Michael Benz via Unsplash

Freestyling is pretty self-explanatory: listen to your body and move to music. Freestyling can involve intense, even acrobatic, movements – think of professional interpretative dancers – or it can simply mean vibing with a two-step.

Freestyling can also relate to improvising a specific dance style – such as shuffling, salsa, or swing – rather than following memorized movements. At the end of the day, just have fun with it and respect the space of those around you. 


2) Muzzing

Originating in Australia, muzzing is a type of rave dance that primarily involves arms and hands. Basically, you are moving your arms and hands in parallel movements in time with the music. Generally, your arms are stiff at the shoulder or elbow as you separate and bring them together at different times.

It kind of looks like a Transformer shifting rapidly. You can pick up a few muzzing movements to elevate any dance style or you can delve fully into the technique and develop your own sequences. 





3) Flow Dance

There are all sorts of ways to engage in flow dance, which is essentially when you have an object – a hula hoop, laser gloves, specialty whip, etc. – that you move to the music with. Not only can flow dancing look really cool when done well, but it can also help you get out of your shell on the dance floor.

 Gloxfx, Space whip

As you focus on keeping an object in time with the music, you enter a flow state and you forget about the chaos of the world around you.


4) Wavy Flow Dance

Wavy flow dance involves an object that drags in the air, like a ribbon or piece of fabric. This follows the same logic as flow dance, but it is more sensual as the object streams and swirls in the air like smoke. 


5) Headbanging and Hardstyle

Photo by Colin Lloyd via Unsplash

If you are strolling through a festival and you suddenly pass the bass stage, you know what headbanging and hardstyle looks like. Basically, you are turning your body into a puppet that the DJ hurls around, your limbs loose as you fall and rise with the crashing bass.

Few things are more cathartic and fun than letting go and throwing your body around as everyone around you does the same.


Take a dive into iEDM's top flow items HERE!


Update your summer wardrobe with iEDM apparel and accessories. Check out iEDM's New Rave Arrivals HERE!

Joe McCarthy


Joe is a writer based in Brooklyn, who resides with his wife and two chihuahuas. You can find him dancing most weekends at the Knockdown Center, Elsewhere, Good Room, Brooklyn Mirage, and other prominent house and techno venues. Joe is constantly searching for new artists who experiment with genre and is excited about the ways in which EDM is evolving.

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