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Moshing is a closely related form of dancing characterized
by its aggressive nature: the movements consist of violent
contact with other dancers, swinging the arms and legs,
and jumping in a staccato fashion to the beat of the
music. The contact with other dancers may range
from reasonably gentle yet firm shoving to
aggressively throwing one's body into other dancers
(except emokids, nu metal kids and posers).
Moshing is typically done in a mosh pit or circle
pit. Originally this was just a group of people
typically directly in front of the stage who were engaged
in this form of dancing. It is now more frequently an
area specifically set aside for the purpose of moshing.
The term "mosh
" has often been
attributed to Vinnie Stigma of the hardcore group
as an acronym for "March Of Skin
Heads", but most authorities cite Darryl Jennifer
bass guitarist for Bad Brains
as the term's
originator, from his Jamaican-accented pronunciation of the
" in "Mash down
Mosh pits first appeared in 1981, if not
earlier, at punk rock concerts. The dance form later spread
to the heavy metal scene, where head banging and crowd surfing
were incorporated. By the time of the disastrous Woodstock
1999 music festival, moshing had degenerated in some circles
into what amounted to a full-scale riot. To alleviate these
problems, venues that expect moshing now typically provide
crowd control, including having concert rules (see
Rules of Moshing below), removing problem-causing audience
members, and a "T-barricade" that separates the
pit into two halves as well as from the band.
Originally, there were different types of "slam dancing."
One type was the slam dance itself, which is now referred
to as moshing. However, there was also the "pogo",
where dancers jumped up and down, as if on a pogo stick,
and sometimes bumped into each other.
Moshing means different things within different genres of
music. Moshing at hardcore punk performances is frequently
different from moshing at grunge or metal performances. Typically,
moshing at a hardcore show will be much faster and more formulaic
than the style found at other kinds of shows.
types of moves are often seen in certain passages of music
(for example the "two-step
floor-tom breakdowns). Hardcore can also include people windmilling
(rotating their arms in wide circles in time to the music),
moves resembling aggressive breakdancing
and solitary martial arts maneuvers
latter are often frowned upon by other dancers, however, especially
if attempted at non-hardcore concerts. Another form of hardcore
dancing involving the whole mosh pit is called the "circle
" in which people skank at running speed
around the circumference of the pit.
Moshing can be referred to by several different names,
depending upon the subculture in which it is found: hardcore
dancing, violent dancing, hardmoshing, moufloning, throwdown,
mashing, or most simply, moshing. The
mosh pit at a metal show is normally much larger, as these
shows tend to draw a larger crowd. Ska music or ska-core
often attracts a type of slam dancing known as skank. The
more obscure grindcore also has its own style of dancing,
often referred to as the grind (not to be confused with
the highly sexual urban dance style), which resembles a
blend of skanking and more formulaic moshing.
» Click here to learn some moves
most participants consider moshing innocent fun, it
can be dangerous to people or emokids, nu metal kids,
posers in and around the mosh pit, and minor injuries often
occur. Serious injuries requiring emergency treatment and
hospitalisation, while reasonably rare, are a definite risk
for those participating in moshing or approaching too close
to the mosh pit.
Critics have charged slam dancing with inciting or condoning
violence. Supporters argue that slam dancing can establish
friendship and camaraderie. Supporters
say that critics who report deaths or serious injuries in
a mosh pits are actually talking about crowd surfing or
The supporters report that moshing is a completely
which the media confuses with death
and destruction. In reality, supporters say, moshing is
quite safe. Critics, in reply, note that the violence of
the dance floor will inevitably lead to some injuries, which
can lead to an escalating cycle of retaliatory violence.
Both positions are much disputed by the other side, and
there tends to be some conflation between the actual dangers
of moshing and the types of behavior which its critics say
it causes. However, it should be noted that even moshing's
most ardent supporters agree that there is some physical
risk associated with the activity
, but usually
compare it to the risks of any physically challenging sport.
Moshing in all of its forms can be dangerous, sweaty, and
intensely physical. Therefore, certain practices are recommended
by veterans of the mosh pit to help ensure that the
experience is fun instead of unpleasant.
best upper-body clothing for moshing is either a band
t-shirt, fishnet, or no shirt at
all. This will allow your skin to breathe
and allow perspiration to evaporate easily. Band t-shirts
are often considered optimal as they are well-balanced between
being protective to the skin and light-weight.
If you plan to mosh you should only wear clothing
that is expendable, as it may be ruined or missing
by the end of your mosh pit session.
» Click here to see
some clothes & accessories for the pit
It is very unwise to go into a mosh pit drunk
If the drunk dancer falls over and there are others in the
pit who do not follow mosh pit etiquette (see
Rules of Moshing below
), injuries will result. Also, alcohol
consumption can lead to more rapid dehydration. Instead of
alcohol, it is a better idea to drink some water beforehand
Water is the preferred drink of the mosh pit. One should
drink a lot of it, as it will definitely be needed for anything
longer than the briefest trip to the pit. There is nothing
more uncomfortable than being in a crowd of people while
dehydrated. Not only is it much harder to mosh, it is also
physically dangerous. See dehydration.
It is a good idea to "prehydrate", or drink
a bottle or two of water before the show starts.
This will allow the dancer to last longer in the pit.
There are a set of almost universally respected rules that
accompany moshing. They are:
1. If someone falls over, stop
moshing and immediately help the person get up.
2. Remove any spike bands, joint
rings, or similar jewelry before entering the pit if there
is any danger of it injuring others.
3. No groping or sexual assault
is allowed in the pit (moshing is by no means a male-only
4. Kicking and punching is generally
regarded to be a breach of Pit Etiquette, shoving or pushing
with the forearms or elbows is preferred. This rule has
an exception in hardcore pits.
5. Don't enter the pit drunk. We're
not here to babysit you.
6. If you are at the edge of the
pit, you are assumed to have taken on the task of shielding
those outside the pit from any persons whom might come flying
out of it, voluntarily or othewise. If such a person does
not appear to be actively seeking a way out of the pit,
it is general etiquette to push or throw them back in.
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