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I can vividly remember the first time that I danced with a girl. I was 14 or 15 and a few of my female friends and I were in my father’s recording studio in Diego Martin, Trinidad, with the music blasting in the sound-proofed room. I always had a little rhythm (I assume this is one of the side effects of having a father who was both a musician and a producer) but I wanted to ensure that I was ready for two of the biggest parties of my adolescent years – Bishops Dance and Fatima Mayfair. So learning how to dance, i.e. making sure that I could wine, was at the top of my priority list. And as I write this piece, I am keeping the younger version of myself in mind. Please note that this list is not exhaustive; the following is simply meant to be a starting point to true Soca enlightenment. However, I must warn you that the journey you are about to embark on is filled with many trials and tribulations but, in the end, you would be glad that you took this time to become in tuned to your inner West Indian. So here are 5 dances that you can do when Soca music is playing (& part 2):
#1 Wine (i.e Wining, Whining, or Winding)
Regardless of how you spell it, I wanted to take this time to dispel any myths by saying the following:
WINING IS NOT THE SAME AS TWERKING.
Ok. Now that we have that covered, let’s get to the fun stuff. A contributor at Spiceisland.com defines wining to be
“the thrusting or rotating of the pelvic girdle in a rhythmic pattern… It requires no teaching or no formal learning at a school of dance. It’s as natural as our language rhythm or cadence of speech. Unlike other genres of music that inspires the feet – such as “salsa’’ and “tango’’ – the dancing of soca music inspires the rhythmic movement of the waistline, more than any other body part.”
Got it? Good. While it may be intimidating to read that as a non-West Indian, do not be afraid. There is no true/definitive way to wine but there are a few tips that could help you arrive on the more positive side of the spectrum.
Tip 1. Wining comes from your waist. The rest of your body should remain stable (while in the act) and you can activate your core for more control. If you are bending your back or moving your shoulders at this stage… STOP IT. You are doing too much. Get the basics down before moving to the advanced stuff.
Tip 2. Both men and women can wine. People from any ethnic group or background can wine. There are winer-boys and winer-girls of all ages. You can think of wining as an equal opportunity employer so it is best to embrace it now.
Tip 3. It’s all about rhythm. Use the drum pattern of the song to maintain the tempo and not any other instrument in the music. If you are rhythmically-challenged, start with a 4/4 metronome at 120 beats per minute.
Tip 4. It’s about having fun and does not necessarily have to be a super sexual experience. Even though you may not be the top class bubbler (more on this later), once you and/or your partner are having a great time, then that’s all that matters. Well, unless you are on stage or competing in a wining contest of course.
Tip 5. There are different types of wining, and wining lingo that you should know about. Here are a few to get you started:
- Bubbling – This is the traditional wine. It can be performed solo, or as a pair, but the motion is fairly consistent with very few major tricks.
- Slow wine – This is similar to a slow grind dance in the United States. This wine is much more intense or intentional. Each movement of the waist is purposely exaggerated for maximum effect. Usually, this move is accompanied by face contortion and mild sweating. Some slow winers use their hands to ensure that the wine is either being disseminated or received effectively. Be careful when using this wine as many have found God and/or fallen in love due to this move.
- Bruking out – This is faster than the traditional wine and is usually done by a trained professional. In this type of wine, the moves are both fast and hard and tend to push the receiver off his/her feet momentarily. A famous version of this type of wine is the gouti-look-back (or agouti lookback) where the winer maintains a solid wine while looking back at the dance partner in a welcoming manner. In my experience, this move usually involves someone chewing of bubblegum of some kind.
- Social wine – As the name states, this is the type of wine that can be done anywhere but it usually involves a partner. The recipient may or may not be desirable to the winer and this dance usually does not last more than 1 song. One can think of this type of wine as giving a “bly/bligh”. This is also the type of dance used by people who would like to maintain a less-naughty image in public (even though they may be yearning to brukout inside).
- Front wine – The illustrious front wine is essentially the opposite of a social wine. This wine is probably the pinnacle of pubescent pleasure as it is meant to take the grinding element of the slow wine while both partners face each other. If done correctly, this dance can be particularly sensual. If done poorly, this type of wine can lead to the loss of good friendships.
Here are some pictures that can illustrate the traditional wining technique. You can find the original post here: http://www.wikihow.com/Whine-Your-Waist.
All the real top class bubblers know that wining is all about getting in tuned to the environment. The best way to do that is to make sure your shoes and socks are off and your feet are firmly planted on the ground (grass is fine). If done correctly, you will start feeling mother nature’s chakra transfer from the earth through your toes, up your thighs, and implant itself between your hips.
It’s all about the pink.
There is a pretty famous joke that goes like this:
What goes in hard and pink, but comes out soft and mushy?
The answer is… Bubblegum. And if you read the above post, you will notice that bubblegum plays a huge part in your journey to wining competency. Whether it is becoming a bubbler, or chewing bubblegum while doing the brukout move. Remember, it’s all about PINK. It is not a coincidence that Nicki Minaj’s albums are entitled Pink Friday, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, and The Pinkprint. The proof is clear. Nicki is Trinidadian and she knows how to wine. Therefore, one should start his/her training in PINK.
Multiple costume changes.
Every successful dancer knows that clothes are important. To learn how to wine like the pros, you would need to change clothes as often as physically possible. Please ensure that your costume changes happen within a 5-minute window as you do not want to lose any of the chakra that you have built up. Additionally, each costume change adds a level of static energy to your system which is then converted to potential and kinetic energy used for wining. And with every system, one must obey the law of conservation of energy – which states that the total energy of an isolated system remains constant- it is said to be conserved over time (i.e. winers never get tired – obviously). This is not magic nor a miracle, this is basic physics! Energy can neither be created nor destroyed; rather, it transforms from one form to another. And in this case, you are converting it to wine energy.
Ok. You got me. You do not have to do steps 1 through 3 in order to wine. At the same time, learning to wine by reading guides online sounds just as ridiculous to a natural winer as the above steps. The best way to learn to wine without embarrassing yourself too much is to practice in the mirror or with a partner who knows how to wine. That’s it. Wining is an art form and a mode of expression. It is not a science. The moment you start counting your steps and overthinking your rhythm is the moment you should stop. Have fun and wine however you want to.
Wow. Just talking about wining took a life of its own and for the sake of brevity, I will continue the other forms of dance on part 2 of this post. (Click here to read part 2)
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