“The Whoa”

--Informant Info--
Nationality: African-American
Age: 18
Occupation: Student
Residence: University of Southern California
Date of Performance/Collection: April 18, 2019
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

Background: The following informant is a young adult college student who is well-versed in social media and internet trends. Her perspective represents that of many teens in today’s internet age. She describes a recent dance trend that has begun to take over social media. This is a transcription of our conversation (C is the informant and I am identified as “me”):

Piece:

Me: Okay, so tell me a little about “the whoa.” Like if you had to describe it to someone who had never heard of it before.

C: The “whoa” is a dance, I guess

Me: How do you do it?

C: It’s like turning the wheel of a car, you go from nine and three to twelve and six *demonstrates said movements*

Me: When do you do the whoa?

C: You do it to the beat of a song or if you just feel like it

Me: Where did you first hear about it?

C: Twitter

Context: This conversation took place in my dorm room one evening. The informant and I were discussing popular “internet” dance trends from our childhood and ended up discussing this most recent dance trend and where we first learned about it. The informant is active on social media and has knowledge of many trends prevalent on particular apps, such as Twitter or Instagram so I feel that she is a decent authority on the typical young adult social media experience.

Thoughts: Folk dances used to be shared in person through communal engagement. They were a way for people to unite and share their perspectives. Today, dances like “the whoa” are spread through the internet and can be learned by any and everyone. They don’t have a particular significance or meaning but rather develop different uses. “The Whoa” is often done when someone does something well or to signify that a song has a really strong beat. This particular dance was originally popular among the African-American community on Twitter, however it has spread to popular, mainstream culture. I find that it is typically performed to hip hop music, however it has become a trend to do the dance to more unrelated songs or without any music at all. Dance trends change all the time and every year has a particular dance that defines it. The dance of 2019 is definitely “the whoa.”