Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Tyrone Proctor Interviewed - The Origin Of 'Waacking'

Tyrone 'The Bone' Proctor belong to the first generation of Waackers that came out in L.A. in the early's 70's. He was a member of the 'Outrageous Waack Dancers' with Jeffrey Daniel, Jody Watley, Sharon Hill, Cleveland Moses Jr,and Kirt Washington. Tyrone is one of the last of the pioneers who named this dance style. This is a great honour an opportunity to spend some time with him to clarify some points about waacking while answering a few questions.

Barcelona Dance: 'How, when and where did the 'Waacking' style was born?'
Tyrone: 'Waacking came from the gay community in the early's 70's on the West Coast and it evolved from what the gay community was doing all along. At this time no one could imagine that this dance would be so popular as it is today. The dance was mainly danced by The Black and Spanish Community. It evolved from two things, Drag Queens performing, and Still Pictures and Musicals of old Females Stars from the 1920's to the 60's icons like: Greta Garbo's, Rita Haywards and Marilyn Monroe to name a few.

The word from what I remember, came from me when I was describing the movement, I always told the people that when you wanted to move, you had to 'Waack' your arm, Jeffrey Daniels then told me that we had to put 2 a 's instead of one because we did't want to get it confused with the word 'wack' in english, means something that is not good. This way with 2 a 's we gave this word could have an all other meaning. 

Early 70s in the gay clubs were: The Paradise Ballroom, Gino's 1, Gino's 2, The Other Side, The Gas Station to name a few, where lots of dancers could be seen doing the style that will be called later Waacking or Punking. Some of these dancers would appear on Soul Train's. The dance moves you would see in the clubs would always end up on 'Soul Train'.

To name some of the first generation where: Lamont Peterson, Blinky, Micky, Andrew Frank, David Vincent, Arthur, Tinker, John Pickett, Gary Keys, Dewayne Hargrave, Billy Goodson, Billy Starr, Lonnie (gymnastics), Abe Clark, Michael Angelo and many, many more...'. 

Barcelona Dance: 'What is 'Punking?'

Tyrone: 'To make a long story short, punking is a straight person's version of Waacking. Outside of the locker Tony Basil, there were a few straight people going to gay clubs and literally sit and watch them do the dance and while they were doing that it enabled them to perfecionate the dance themselves. 

There was a difference in the way the dancers would dress: About the dress, Andrew would wear big oversized Jackets to add more movement to Waacking. Arthur would like to wear high boots with his pants inside the boots. Tinker would like to wear tight shirts with short sleeves roll up or just cut off. The Women of Soul train would wear high heels and full skirts so when they turn the skirt would fly up to the beat.

Punking, the dancers would dress up like in the 40’s with high wasted baggy pans, tight shirt with big hats. Also the Waacking style was a lot more emotional. Punking is smooth and precision orientated.  

Barcelona Dance: 'Is there a link between 'Locking' and 'Waacking'?'

 Tyrone: 'Many people think that Waacking started with Locking and this is not true. You have to understand the climate back then, Waacking was danced by people who were not socially tolerated, it came with a different music style: the Disco. The Waacking scene was underground and nothing came out mostly because people would be labelled as 'gay'.

Tyrone believes That when the Gay Community abandoned Waacking in the late 70's that same time people were being introduce to a dance called Locking and some of the people who had been teaching Locking were also teaching Punking at the same time.

All my respect and love to Don Campbell for creating the 'Locking style' that had such a prolific influence on the dance scene. The Lockers were all straight guys but they had respect for gay people. I admire them all of them. Actually Scooby-Doo taught me how to Lock.

Thanks to Toni Basil, dancer like: Andrew, Lonnie, Billy and Tinker at Gino's were so good that they ended up dancing with celebreties like Diana Ross. Some of the members of "The Outrageous Waack Dancers". were in the group "Shalamar", Jeffrey Daniel and Jody Watley

Barcelona Dance: 'Tell us about your best experiences'

Tyrone: 'The first one was when I arrived in L.A. , it was on Tuesday September the 22 1972 at 10h22pm, it was milestone in my life. As soon as I arrived I was immediately become friends with the Soul Train gang. I met Little Jo Chism who took me to all the clubs and to the Paradise Ballroom in L.A. where I first saw "Posing" dancing.

The second high light of my life was to have the chance to enter Soul Train as a dancer the same year and also to tour with Don Cornelius and the Soul Train gang with famous groups such as Eddie Kendricks, The 'Whispers and the Monents'

I would like to say that thanks to Soul Train because many dance styles came out to public such as Locking, Popping and Waacking and all this was made popular from this one show.

The dance moves of John Travolta in Saturday Night fever were directly taken from the Soul Train Show (Locking and Waacking).

Another highlight of my life as dancer was to be meet Sharon Hill as my dancing partner we won a national contests dancing together. Also another highlight was to be able to travel to Japan with the 'Outrageous Waack Dancers' including Tammy, Cleveland Moses, Kirtland Washington, Sherry Green and myself. 

 At this time only I think only "The Lockers" and a group called "Something Special" had been there.  My other following great experience was to go to New York and to be part of a group called "Breed of Motion" which was the first "Waacking" singing group including the late great Willie Ninja.

After that, Jodie Watley called me in N.Y asking me to do the music video in Paris called 'Still a Thrill' and that was actually the first music video ever to incorporate "Waacking". Then from there I had the opportunity to choreograph another music video from Taylor Dane 'Tell It To My Heart' which is the first video ever to have Voguing in it (1987).

Barcelona Dance: 'How were the castings organized to appear in Soul Train?'

Tyrone: 'The were auditions in a recreation center in L.A on a Saturday. The teen coordinator at this time was called Pam Brown, she would come with Don Cornellius (the Creator and Host) a week before the TV show and would pick up some dancers passing through a Soul Train line set up for the audition.

The people who were selected would be listed on the TV studio's guest list. If your name was not on the list you couldn't get into the dance studio. We taped the show one weekend a month they would tape 2 shows on the Saturday and 2 on Sunday.

Barcelona Dance: 'Where did you get your name Tyrone 'The Bone' Proctor?'

Tyrone: 'This is actually Don Cornelius from Soul Train who called me 'The Bone' because I was very thin at this time.

Barcelona Dance: 'What came first Waacking or Voguing?'

Tyrone: 'The first was Posing, I still remember them playing the track "Papa was a rolling Stone", on each 'boom' of the track the dancers were doing a different Pose, you could see all these dancers on Posing, this was phenomenal, then Waacking then Voguing.

They all have a common point, they come from the gay community. On the straight community you would have the Funk and Soul which evolving to the Hip Hop meanwhile on the gay community you would have Waacking with Disco that was popularised in the early 70s it also evolving to Voguing with House Music the early 80s. Both styles had sylables that were seen in the gay community before they were set as dance forms.

The big differente between Disco and House is the BPM (Beat Per Minute) is that Disco was a lot faster (aprox. 127-145bpm) than House (aprox. 112-121bpm) and also the content is different, in the Disco you have a lot of hornes and violins and other instruments that you interprete with the dance. Voguing is more concentrating, more competitive, angular and a less emotional.

Voguing was popularised through the medium of Super Models such as Iman, Beverly Johnson, Janet Dickinson , Grace Jones, Pat Cleveland, you had all these girls that would be on a runaway walking up and down.The gay community would emulate that on the street, pretending to be these super models. The Egyptian culture had a big influence on vogueing. Also remember of Willie Ninja that was watching a lot of Kung Fu movies and would apply some of the moves in his Vogue style of dancing.

Barcelona Dance: 'How did you start teaching Waacking?'

Tyrone: 'It's actually Jeffrey Daniels who initially told me that I should start teaching Waacking when he was in Osaka Japan in 1991. Then Brian Green kept asking me to teach Waacking. I was reluctant but he insisted so I started doing it. I am one of the last of the living pioneers and with the Resurgence of Waacking. I am extremely lucky and honoured to have met in my lifetime some of the greatest dancers in human history.

Barcelona Dance: 'People call you the creator of the Waacking, do you agree with this?'

Tyrone: 'I appreciate that, but I can't take credit for it. It's very difficult say who created Waacking because it came from different minds and it was a variation of different styles. I put a name 'Waack' so people could understand the movement. My part is to secure dancers such as Lamont Peterson, Blinky, Micky, Andrew Frank, David Vincent, Arthur, Tinker, John Pickett, Gary Keys, Dewayne Hargrave, Billy Goodson, Billy Starr, Lonnie (gymnastics), Abe Clark, Michael Angelo and many, many more, because many are no longer with us.

I want everybody to know who were the real Pioneers in this dance form called "Waacking" I just loved the dance and loved to see young people dancing it. I just can say that I am honored and humble that people would remember me that I was there. But you also have people like Anna Sanchez, Angel Pioneer and Toni Basil who came a little bit after me but still are a valuable source of information on Waacking and Punking.'

Barcelona Dance: 'Is there anything you would like to add?'

Tyrone:I always tell people that they need to follow their dream because their dream should set them free. Aus, Shake, Eva, they are like my babies, I love you guys! Just keep growing what you're doing!

Thank you for this interview Tyrone, it's been a pleasure to meet you! 

Author / Source: 
Philippe - Barcelona Dance

Contact / Reference: Imperial House of Waacking: www.waacking.com Email: imperialhouseofwaacking [at] gmail.com
Imperial House of Waacking (Spain): Jesus Coca - Email: jesuscoca [at] hotmail.com