Hey Danny, who are you and what do you do?
My name is Danny Son and currently live in Frankfurt/Germany. I am one of the founders of the House Roots community, a platform which helps German individuals work on holistic approach to deep house culture. I see myself as a cultural ambassador and an active part of German house dance culture.
You and house. When and how it started?
I first came into contact with house dance in 2008. I attended the Juste Debout Germany event. I entered the room when the house dance pre-selection was running and was completely overwhelmed by this dance from the first moment. At that time I was trained in all urban dance styles by my first coach Rob Lawray, but in 2009 I focused on house dance style. In 2011 I was at the SDK event for the first time, where I was able to learn from the pioneers of house dance culture for the first time. It quickly became clear to me, that a certain house dance style, that was influenced by Rabah Mahfoufi from Paris/France, appealed to me. This was also the beginning of my love for the deeper understanding of house.
Since then I had taken every opportunity to learn from Rabah, so that I could proudly say that I was a student of his. To this day he has laid my foundation for a special interpretation of this dance culture, which I try to represent on an equal footing – the path of “Deep House Dance”.
Where, how did you learn about House music? And what role has house music in your life?
I think, in hindsight, my first emotional contact with this music was when I first heard “Weekend” by Michael Grey. It was quite unconscious, when I was young and this track was on the radio often. But even then the song had triggered something in me.
I really got to know music through dancing. At first I couldn’t really say what appealed to me about this music, I just felt it. And it was definitely more of a means to an end. The love for music definitely came slowly. If you deal with the dance you have to deal with the music. After all, as you know, this is a club dance. I would say Kerri Chandler definitely influenced me in the beginning. And so my love for deep house crystallized out. When I was at a Kerri Chandler gig for the first time in 2013, I think I understood how to dance into a trance for the first time.
From then on the change slowly began. Where the music became more important than the dance itself. More consciously searching for the depth and the essence of this culture. And gradually I understood more why this music and thus this dance appealed to me. I could identify with the depth of the repetitive rhythms and the warmth of the soulfulness.
Rabah once told me about a response from a friend who was asked what House was to him. He answered: “House is a loop”.
That simple answer clarified a lot inside me… it’s a loop… just like life. A construct that is always repeated, which is perceived with a deeper understanding at every repeated point. More like a downward spiral. For me, house isn’t life. But it reflects very closely to how I look at life. And so it is the best medium to give my life artistic liveliness.
Please describe this picture. What does it mean for you?
This picture describes the different levels that we can stand by, when it comes to music. So to speak, on which levels we synchronize with the music. The more we manage to synchronize our dance (which is a construct of our experience, training, passion, understanding, fitness, etc. – in short: a product of our whole self) with the music, the more we speak our true self out of the music. If I fully understand the music, I can be it.
I’m not a slave of it anymore. No longer behind it but next to it… with it. And so I am the music itself. And when two things become a third thing, magic happens. This is synergy!
How to know what is good house music? Do you have any recommendations?
That is purely a matter of taste. Personally, I have always had moments in which I understood which style of house music I liked better (because I could identify with it more).
For example, I had the last big realization in 2016 when I first heard “Trust is Key” from Chaos in the CBD. This deep and warm, driving mood was exactly the mood, that I wanted to translate into dance. Nowadays, my taste is extremely influenced by the Detroit and Chicago sound. People like Mike Huckaby, Glenn Underground and Patrice Scott would now be well known representatives of my tastes.
What is important to know, when you dance house?
The question is difficult because priorities change over time. But aesthetics used to be very important to me. Then authenticity was very important to me. And today it is important to me to discover aesthetics through authenticity, I guess.
Can you show us your favourite house dance videos? What do you like about these videos? Why they are your favourite?
I generally like to watch videos, where the dancer goes on a journey of discovery. This often happens in intimate situations like training or smaller sessions.
For example, I watched this video by Daneshiro very often. This gracefully flow paired with focusing on playful hips create an insane lightness In the footwork, which inspired me a lot.
For example, this video by Rabah shows an incredible understanding and control over the dance, space, music and situation. Only if you really control these factors… you can play with them. And this “play“ can be seen here. A play of depth.
House battles. What is your opinion about them? If you agree with them – do you have any preferences for how they should be created?
Basically, it’s very difficult to present the full range of this culture in a competitive format. A competition is inherently competitive. And house is inherently connection-oriented. These two things are already quite opposite. Nevertheless, in my opinion, there is a small framework in which the two things are compatible. Looking at battles from a playful point of view connects it with the playful character of house dance. It’s just a game. If you take a game too seriously, you lose. Specially you lose yourself.
For me, a good house event would be the one, where the rules and surroundings are set in such a way that they give as much space as possible to create an authentic safe space for the dancers.
An intimate atmosphere, good sound system, good DJ, curious audience, experienced judges are of the highest priority.
Who will be the DJ and who will judge?
I think that’s the most important question for me right now. Especially today I don’t understand how ignorant many organizers make their bookings. The DJ and the judges are extremely important in creating a safe space for a house dancer.
Especially when it comes to DJ selection, many fail and thus often the event.
Stop putting your friends up just because they’re cheaper. There’s a lot more to being a good DJ. A good DJ reads the room and accompanies the mood with his selection. This requires a lot of experience and understanding.
My top 3 favorite DJs for battles:
- Tijo Aime
- DJ Yanee
- DJ Crash
Which house dance events are good?
Deep in House Camp – Poland
Deep House Mission – Paris
Party at House Dance Forever – Amsterdam
House Your Body – Italy
Is there something, that annoys you in house dance?
Do you have any message for present or future house dancers and DJs?
Learn the form,
fall in love with the form,
let go the form.
Kristína Gromová (Skaja) – Instagram
Danny Son – Instagram
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