They say there’s nothing new under the sun. And for the most part, that’s true. When you break things down into pieces, each tiny bit has probably been done before. But it’s how you put those pieces together that leads to innovation and new ideas. Dance is a fantastic place to explore that concept.
For 12-year-old Adilyn Malcolm, the moves she’s doing are all associated with a popular form of electronic dance music called dubstep. But if you break her dancing down into pieces, you can follow the history of the moves all the way back to folk and tribal dances in faraway places like Ireland and Africa. Much of the dancing “Amazing Adi” does is rooted in street dances like “popping,” or “Memphis jooking.” But those styles of dancing evolved from the wild, unbridled, popular dances of the ‘20s and ‘30s like the “jitterbug” or the “Lindy hop.” In fact, much of the footwork in many modern forms of street dancing are in many ways the same moves as the jitterbug, sped up and combined with other concepts.
But what trully makes what Adilyn is doing so amazing and new is not the dancing itself, but how she arrived at it. The young motocross racer was doing a school report on Michael Jackson, happened across a dance video she liked, and has spent untold hours teaching herself how to dance flawlessly. At no time in history has there ever been more freely available material for dedicated and committed people like Adi to teach themselves how to do things. YouTube and the Internet in general have changed the game in a gigantic way.