What Is Slam Dancing

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Slam dancing is just another name for "moshing" or moshpit-style dancing. This form of dancing is popular among fans of ska and punk rock music as well as "metal heads." Coinciding with the advent of punk rock and ska music, slam dancing began around the '70s and '80s.

This style of dance can hardly even be called dancing. It mainly consists of jumping around and thrashing your body in an careless visually unstimulating manner. Participants throw random kicks and punches while jumping in the air and wiggling their bodies like fish out of water. Although the dance itself is visually unappealing, doing it can actually feel like a mental and physical release.

The dance is more commonly referred too as "moshing." It's mostly done at high-energy live concerts, and although it originated in the punk rock world, it has spread across genres. When moshing, crowds generally bounce around, push one another, and "crowdsurf" -- the practice of lifting people into the air and passing them along above the heads of other audience members. It's a high-contact style of dancing, and that can sometimes lead to some serious violence.

Some argue that the purpose of the dance is to let off energy in an non-violent manner. Early participants of this movement, will tell you that violence was never intended or the focus of its invention. But the problem is, slam dancing has proven that is can be extremely violent at times. It just takes one guy on drugs or with a bad attitude to turn the social dance into violent freefrall, instantly threatening all those within a close proximity.

There have been ample incidents in which audience members have been severely injured or killed. Take the 1996 Smashing Pumpkins concert in Dublin, Ireland, where a 17-year-old boy was crushed to death in a mosh pit. Many artists have come out against mosh pits, pleading with their audience members to refrain from moshing because of the danger it poses. Many continue to oppose mosh pits, but there are still many bands and fans that view the unique form of dancing as a type of crowd engagement and positive self-expression.

If your heading to a concert where you think slam dancing is highly likely, just know what your in for and be prepared. If you're going to do it, really go for it. Otherwise, steer clear because you will unavoidably be pushed, pulled, knocked around, and stepped on.

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