T.O. Waacking

T.O. Waacking/Whacking is a Toronto-based dance community collective that strives to respectfully practice and evolve the street dance called “waacking.” Our members include street dancers, choreographers, dance educators, DJs, interdisciplinary artists, and more. The queer roots of waacking remain strong as queer dancers find safety, support, and freedom within the style, culture, and community.

Waacking/whacking is a dance style from the 1970s that emerged in Los Angeles’s queer night club scene as a form of self expression for queer racialized men. Waacking can be recognized by its powerful arm movements, dramatic poses, and emotive expressions. Derived from the original style “punking,” it takes inspiration from 1920s Golden Era films, superhero action movies, cartoons, and various pop culture icons. This eclectic mix of influence shapes the essence and storytelling elements of punking and therefore waacking. The first element of punking is posing, and the second element if the whack. To “whack” is to “strike with force”. As the dance and society developed over the years, it evolved into the style now commonly known as “waacking” in mainstream media and dance industries.