The Stanky Leg

Main piece: The stanky leg is a dance for smooth hip hop. What you do is you you leave one of your legs still and you bring the other leg close to that one by bending you knee. You start alternating legs and it will look like you are smooth and going with the flow. You can also bring you hands in the mix, waving them around in free flowing motion.

Background information about the piece by the informant: Troy is from Detroit, Michigan, where hip hop is a large part of the musical scene. This move is a classic when dancing to hip hop, and it has been popular since the genre’s origins in America. It’s partly based on the moves of Rock and Roll figures like Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley, but has been adapted to have a more relaxed look to it that fits the tune of smooth hip hop.

Context on the piece: The stanky leg is usually performed in a hip hop dance party when the music gets slow, and it has the purpose of seduction. Men usually dance the stanky leg to smooth hip hop to show themselves as relaxed and smooth, something that they think the females of the dances will notice and appreciate. It is meant to make women comfortable with the relaxed feeling, and this can lead to them getting close to the women and asking to dance with them. Sometimes, the roles are inverted with the women dancing the stanky leg to captivate the men, but its usually the males doing it. It can also be danced with no intentions of seduction just to feel more relaxed during the dancing session, and it is common that lone stanky leg dancer consume inhibiting drugs such as cannabis to help them with the relaxed motion of the dance.

Thoughts on the piece: Even though Hip Hop is a fairly modern brand of music, this dance move shows that the genre still follows many of the traditions of folkloric music. It is common for cultures across the world to have mating dances in which a member of one gender will attract the other with some sort of sensual move that shows confidence or implies sex, and this is no exception. It is the male equivalence in Hip Hop of twerking, in which the females move their bottom up and down to stimulate sexual desire. Although the stanky leg doesn’t necessarily have any specific sexual movement, it is meant to simulate a safe and relaxed environment for the females, for which it is considered a seduction/mating dance.