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Hey, kids! Want to look cool at shows? Want to sneer at your fellow ska-enthusiasts for skanking? Want to talk about how ska is too commercial these days and how there are no more rude boys left? Here's a few tips:

The Music

Best to avoid second wave ska (except maybe early Specials or maybe the Special Beat; Ranking Roger is cool) and third wave ska (except for maybe Hepcat or the Scofflaws). Try some early Skatalites, like Freedom Sound or Lucky 7. Better yet, how about some the Wailers while they all still shaved their heads and had a horn section?

The Fashion

Black suits, thin black ties, black dancing shoes, white shirts, and porkpie hats. Try wearing shades. Look mean.

The Dance

Ready for the big step? The dance, the ska, started out in the mid-50's in Kingston. Try this:

  • Bend Forward: Not too far, just let your spine loose, at about a 30 degree angle or so.
  • Bend your knees and elbows, keep a clenched fist to show you mean business. Look more like you're about to go running than skiing.
  • Move your feet shoulder-width apart, with one foot forward.
  • Got the beat? Start moving your arms and get your hips swinging. Your feet shouldn't be moving too much, but shift your weight as your arms move; if your right arm is forward, your weight should be on your right foot.
  • Variation is key? What's the ska? That's it, above; it's more reserved than modern skanking, and not nearly as rigid or controlled as dance classes usually teach it.
Variations:

  • Skinhead Moon Stomp: start lifting your feet more, so that your boots come down, hard
  • Rocksteady: it's too damn hot for the ska. Same basics, but almost all the movement is in the hips
  • Two Tone skank: lift your feet, and kick forward with each step; the precursor to the modern skank, that 'running in place' thing. Hands should move forward to opposite legs.

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