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Barefoot Doctor on Teaching Dancefloor Psychology

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Last week Skrufff chatted to Traktor Ambassador / Dubspot top teacher DJ Shiftee about the practicalities of learning ‘advanced dance-floor psychology’?


“Dance-floor psychology and being able to read the crowd certainly comes largely from experience, but it’s not a given that someone will go into a DJ situation even considering how important this is,” Shiftee pointed out.


We want to get the gears turning in our students’ heads. We want them to think actively about the narrative of a night, the journey of the audience, and how different songs can fit within this story.” ( ) Barefoot Doctor, however, is ambivalent . . .



Barefoot Doctor: “I totally understand people wanting to teach, and people wanting to learn, the psycho-mechanics of working a crowd.


Public speakers get coached. Actors take classes. Musicians train in ‘feel’. And now DJs can learn the art of being perceptive to, and optimizing, energy dynamics on the dance floor. So I get it and am sure it’s inspired by the best intentions.


But being privileged (and just old enough) to have born witness firsthand to the explosion of creativity in the London-San Francisco scene of the late 60s and beyond, it’s always struck me that no matter how slick you get your act by carefully modeling your craft on the techniques and methods of the great innovators, when it comes to generating that primal excitement that makes the experience what it is at its best, it’ll never replace true originality or genuine inspiration.


Sure training might even accelerate a career or two but my sense though is that the ones who’ve got the talent to start with would’ve succeeded anyway , and even some of the ones without the talent would succeed too, as happens without any training.


In any case, surely real training comprises actually going out and doing it, messing up, misreading the crowd completely sometimes, reading them like a genius other times, and developing that mysterious, and I believe untrainable, inner rapport with the muse, that all great artists depend on for their magic.


I know I’m probably being Luddite for saying so, and with the X-Factor factor encouraging a gross tendency for slickness over substance, and (not so) cheap thrill over real soul, there’s also room for training in dance floor psychology.


Being more positive about it on the other hand, refining you skills in reading body language, determining audience energy and temperature levels and generally learning to focus on serving the audience rather than your own self- importance is always useful for anyone involved in any kind of performance work. Hope I’ve been of service spouting all that, so saying.”


Questions by Skrufff.




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