Grinding Your Gears: An Examination of the Teenage Dance Phenomenon

Sammy Warshaw ’12 and Kelsey Landaur ’12
Staff Writers

The well-respected scholar Pretty Ricky once sang the words “Grind on me” in the 2005 hip-hop single.

This one song addresses the popular form of dance known as “grinding” or “freaking.”

This risqué dance is made up of a male approaching a girl from behind on the dance floor, and pressing his hips and pelvis into the girl’s back.

After both parties are in palce, the male will swivel, or “grind” his pelvis into the girl. 

This dance has made its way into today’s teen culture through music videos. Some music videoes include grinding tutorials to help less-experienced grinders. 

These movies never hesitate to display as much skin as possible, turning this dance, which is already sexualized, into something that could be considered profane.

The art of bumping and grinding on the dance floor has been a trend for Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, Sweet Sixteen’s, and even school dances well throughout the past two decades.

The Beginning

Ever since the hip-hop era  has became world–renowned, and especially popular in the United States, teens have been attempting to duplicate the monumental success of rap videos such as 50 Cent’s “In Da Club.”

The grinding of the dancers in music videos has inspired kids to bring it to the dance floor. However, some videos have almost crossed the line between just dancing and blatant vulgarity. Videos such as Nelly’s “Tip Drill” may be a contributing factor as to why some kids have no problem doing a little more than the “Cha-Cha Slide” out on the floor.


The Reaction

Some parents are shocked as to how their young children learned these erotic dances. The aspiration to imitate the moves of Britney Spears, Shakira, and Beyoncé has become an inevitable force from the music industry.

Adults often feel a little uncomfortable when watching their son, daughter, or even student rub their bodies against other students’, which can certainly be  hard to watch.

At school dances, the sexuality of this move is under fire.  Some teachers have a problem with the sometimes lewd dance. 

This move during a school dance appraoches being innapropraite and overly sexualized, which some teachers don’t approve of.

“I just don’t understand why they’d feel comfortable doing that in front of people,” said English teacher Michael Fulton. “What’s romantic about it?”


The Female Reaction

Many girls have been caught off guard one the dancefloor when a guy begins to grind with them.

Guys take note, this is not always appreciated. 

“It freaks me out,” said Marina Mitas ’12. Some girls don’t appreciate the surprise grinding. Others, however, are not afraid of pairing

up with a guy and “get jiggy with it,” as Jessie Ambrose ’12 put it.

The Male Reaction

Boys look at grinding from a different perspective. While the female dances in fear of the male predators, the guys get all the glory.

“It’s just fun,” Tali Laifer ’11 said. “It’s our way of expressing ourselves on the dance floor.”

Some guys even do it for pure pleasure.

“To be honest, it feels kinda good,” Tom Karrel ’12 said. 

While some boys may love the art of grinding, others are opposed to the fact that some teens consider grinding an actual form of dance.

“I’m usually the person standing in the corner of the room watching people grind, and not wanting to be involved,” Scott Grundei ’10 said.

The Aftermath

While it may be assumed that the post–grind period would cause sufficient awkwardness, others tend to think quite the opposite. “It’s a great way to make friends on the dance floor,” Ben Platt ’12 said. With the right attitude, grinding can be considered a social aid. On the other hand, it can be awkward  the morning after. 

Despite the varied standpoints on the latest form of dance, the tao of grinding is practiced across the nation.

Against the will of opposing parents and guardians, nothing has stopped this craze.  Grind on, Staples.