“It’s called shuffling…actually scientifically it’s called the Melbourne Shuffle. It is a now-popular dance form, recently popularized by the band LMFAO*…it’s mainly used to dance to electronic music at clubs, raves (mostly) and parties.
“It pretty much looks like a person who is running in place while sliding in a completely opposite direction at the same time.
“When I was in high school, sophomore year, a couple of my Filipino/Asian friends came over, we went into my basement and one of them just started putting on electronic music and started doing it [shuffling] and he showed me how to do it. And then after that I just learned from Youtube videos.”
My informant, who is a hobbyist freestyle dancer, tells me that the Melbourne Shuffle is one of the few defined moves that he uses in his freestyle dance routines. Other moves he uses do not have official names (to his knowledge) and are often improvised on the spot, but the Shuffle was one that captivated him enough to learn about and make a normal part of his freestyling. The popularity of the Melbourne Shuffle, according to my informant, peaked at about mid-2012, so it similarly captivated many others as well.
Concerning the state of the Melbourne Shuffle now, my informant explains, “it got mainstream pop, you know? It wasn’t as cool any more after that…it’s kinda out of style now, but it’s still fun to do.”
The Melbourne Shuffle has an element of mystique to it: the way the dancer moves his or her legs while performing the move seems to contradict what the eyes perceive. The mind-bending aesthetic of the movement perhaps contributed to its spread and popularity. Though my informant learned the move from a friend, he mentions that the videos he then went to to learn more have hundreds of thousands of views, showing the vast popularity of the move. The views did not necessarily have to come from people wanting to learn the move, because the mind-bending element translates well to the screen, similar to how Michael Jackson captivated popular culture with his videos featuring Moonwalking. The Melbourne Shuffle, however, is more fast-paced and frantic than the Moonwalk, perhaps showing origins in a bass-thumping, uptempo rave culture, where the move remains popular.
*Citation: LMFAO’s Party Rock Anthem, the music video my informant mentions here, which he attributes to the boom in the Melbourne Shuffle’s popularity, prominently features the move and references it in the lyrics (“Everyday I’m shuffling”). See 3:39 for copious shuffling.