This dance is simple, but its implications are not. It’s quite the package of contradictions: a public display of intimacy, a common sight that retains an air of taboo sexuality, a product of newfound sexual liberty that still perpetuates age-old heterosexual gender roles. Grinding exists wherever young people, pulsing music and alcohol intersect. You can witness it happening in house parties, concert venues, music festivals and clubs with flashing strobe lights. Now, gender roles, silent signals and awkward body-to-body interactions govern the dance floor.
Grinding is a form of dancing that is typically found at a club or a party where a man typically dances behind a woman while they both move their hips in the same circular motion.
Grinding can be a bit intimidating for girls. They may not know how to let a guy know they want to grind, where to put the guy’s hands, or how to move their hips. But don’t worry – grinding doesn’t have to be hard and you don’t have to get too intimate with your dance partner, especially if you don’t know him. If you want to know how to grind with sexiness, class, and style, just follow the next steps.
*note that we’re discussing this type of dancing in the common heterosexual setting between a guy and a girl but this works in any couple situation, and we intend no discrimination or exclusion of anyone.
Where did it start?
Grinding goes back to some cultures in the Caribbean. We can trace it back to hip-thrusting dance moves labelled as “whining,” “wining” or “djuking”.
but it is it’s adoption by the hip hop culture that brought this dance style to mainstream America. It eventually “moved to high school and middle school dances (especially proms) in the US and Canada where there have been cases of administrators attempting to ban it due to its explicit nature” as one Wikipedia entry noted.
“Everywhere, boys in baggy pants and girls in tight ones gripped each others’ hips, from the front or the rear, and pushed, pushed. Pairs of girls entwined thighs and swiveled low to the ground. Groups of dancers formed “freak trains,” lines of tightly pressed bodies undulating through space.
All the moves had two elements in common: hips and friction.” As this article on Education Week noted back in 2001.
In 2015, a high school principal in Maine cancelled school dances because of students’ dance moves and the, “culture of grinding,” reports CBS Boston. “It is by no means the students’ fault, but the dancing they have witnessed on MTV/VHS/movies involves primarily only sexually suggestive grinding,” Record explains in the letter.
A predecessor to grinding as a sexually charged high-contact social dance was “The Bump”, which was popular in the 1970s, in which the contact between partners generally involved the hips or buttocks of one dancer “bumping” those of the other dancer in temporary contact. Other predecessor elements of grinding may be attributed to the 1987 film Dirty Dancing, and the famous lambada dance which became famous in the 1980s that featured grinding actions.
One additional note to keep in mind is that grinding is a form of dance that overlaps with a multitude of genres. You’ll see hip hop fans grinding, but also on dance music festival grounds with Trap music, Dubstep, and many others sub-genres including EDM.
Time To Learn How To Grind
You need to learn to grind dance (sometimes people call it freak dance or freaking) if you want to be able to get a little freaky on the dance floor. If you’re a beginner and want to know how to grind with a guy, or how to grind with a girl, this is section is for you.
First and foremost we need to mention that sometimes this form of dance will lead to unwanted actions that would happen without the partner’s consent. Please make sure there’s a sort of agreement with the other person before proceeding with such a dance as it is quite intimate in nature as we have just discussed.
The beginning of the dance
Unless you already know the guy you want to dance with and he’s led you to the dance floor, you’ll have to approach the dance floor on your own first. But if you already have a guy, then you can skip this section. Start by dancing with a friend or two. Someone you trust and from your initial circle. Here, it’s all about doing your own thing and having a good time.
Even when you’ve found your target, avoid looking around desperately. Instead, you’ll make sure the guys see that you’re having a a great time and they’ll come to you. Positivity like this is infectious and you’ll want people who want to be with you on the dance floor. Add to the attraction by showing off your dance moves with your friends. Let the guys see how you can work your body, follow the rhythm and enjoy your time.
Found your guy? Great! Maybe it’s a good idea to lock eyes with him from across the room, this will show your interest without much effort (we’re pretty sure you know what we mean here). You’ll want to start moving closer to him, do it with the group altogether, that way it will look like a natural, gradual move, and nothing very creepy. Then, it will be a matter of waiting for him to come closer to you, too. If you lock eyes from across the room for one second and then one inch away from him the next, you won’t look cool. So avoid that.
Extra tips to keep in mind: move towards him during the course of a song, it looks better and more natural that way and avoid crowding the guy, so maybe your friends would follow but keep some distance.
At this point, some sort of physical move needs to be done.
The Brushing Up
You should look at him and start some sort of interaction with him. Lock eyes with the guy, and maybe even give him a cute smile and then look away. Then, move even closer to him and let your body brush up against his, whether you’re facing him and touching him with your hands, or turning away form him and occasionally brushing up against him. This will communicate your interest and signal to the guy you intend to dance.
Begin The Grind Dance
Step in front of him so that you lock eyes and know you’re going to dance with each other. Spend a minute dancing in front of him, moving to the beat, and then slowly begin to turn so he can start dancing behind you and you can officially begin to grind.
First, you have to get in grinding position so step in front, facing away from him. Though you can mix it up once in a while, the typical grinding position is when a guy stands behind a girl. You can leave about a foot between your bodies and don’t have to get incredibly intimate to start grinding (especially if you don’t know him).
Next, both you should bend your knees so that you’re lower to the ground. If the guy is much taller than you, then you won’t have to bend your knees very much. If the guy isn’t much taller than you, however (happens if you’re wearing high heels for example) then you should bend your knees a bit further so he’s a bit above you.
Now it’s time to move your hips and butt in one continuous circular motion, continuing to move from side to side while moving your legs up and down just a bit while keeping your knees bent. If the guy knows what he’s doing, then his hips should find a similar rhythm to yours. Both your hips should be moving in the same direction to the beat of the music.
Feeling bold? Know the guy you’re dancing with? You can touch the guy’s front side with your butt as you move it from side to side. But you can also maintain your distance. There are no obligations, keep in mind this is your move, and the dance is under your control.
The next thing to do is to move your arms and chest to the beat of the music, rotating your arms and chest in the same fluid motion. Look ahead or slightly down as you continue to work your arms and chest while you move your hips. You can bring your arms down so they’re on your knees or near your waist, and wait for the guys hands to land on top of yours or around your waist as you continue to dance.
These are the basics in general. To help make things even more clear and give you extra pointers, we’re providing below some additional training:
Learn These 3 Simple Grinding Moves
Guys, These Important Secrets Are A Must-Know!
What about the guys? Most men are beginners and somewhat clueless when it comes to grinding on the dance floor. The video below will show you some secret moves that will have you grinding with the best of them!
Grinding can be very tasteful and not raunchy at all, dancing partners don’t have to be very touchy while grinding especially when they don’t know each other. Bottom line, respect each other and have fun!