Posted by: D.A.S. Chicago | May 5, 2011

Jerk Movement: From the West Coast to Chicago’s North Side

Remember the interview with the New Boyz and how they were discussing the Jerk and reject dance? Ever since they have been popular, they have not only taken the west coast by storm but also the Midwest. Many students, mostly high schoolers and first year college students, have taken the trend and have started to not only learn to jerk but to also infuse the popular dance with the Chicago urban dance known as the footwork. Footworking has been a Chicago trend ever since break dancing in inner city became popular. In an earlier post, you can find Travis McDaniel discuss in further detail about Foot working.

After I chatted with the New Boyz at Metro, I went into a local McDonalds to grab a bite to eat before the show started. Many students from DePaul and Loyola started to come into it as well discussing the show that night. Most of the fans of the New Boyz that were male, discussed with me about what the jerk movement brings to Chicago. “Jerking brings a style that we can use in our techniques with our dancing, it’s like something new and fresh” says Sean Jordan, 18, of Oak Park. Sean was with some friends who also were rocking some pretty tight zebra print jeans that the New Boyz was very popular from. “Jerking brings out a competition, people love seeing how you can infuse the new dances of jerking, the footwork and the dougie” One female that was in the group, Allaina Roberts a former Vibe magazine intern, discussed to me about how big the jerking movement has been in Chicago “Man its had a huge influence in Chicago, its amazing how dudes went from saggy and baggy jeans to tight leggings!”

(Male in skinny jeans, who is associated with the Jerk Movement)

The jerk movement in Chicago has been an influence on a lot of the younger generation that were once afraid to be away from the norm. “Kids who like to skate board, like small tees and fitting jeans now feel apart of the popular kids because of the trend” says Briana, 18, that attends Walter Payton High School. “They aren’t weird or lames anymore, they are now cool and trendy”. I asked her what she felt about the movement as a whole from the clothes fitting than hanging off and she says, “Some guys take to the extreme, I see more dudes wearing jean leggings I might purchase than females that need to!”

The jerk movement seems to have mostly target urban kids than live on the north side more than students than live on any other side of Chicago. “Theres more stores like Leaders (672 North Wells Street) and Jugrnaut (427 S.Dearborn) on this side of town who carter to our lifestyle of clothing. They understand what our generation likes and whats popular” says Sean. As soon as the New Boyz came out, Sean and his friends started doing fancy tricks on the dance floor as soon as “You’re a Jerk” came through the speakers.

“Doing the Reject and Jerking is just something fun, something you can entertain your friends with”, ends Sean once the show began.

-Jelani Whitehorne

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