A New 'Forbidden Dance' at L.A. Schools

Besides the dance's lurid origins, the difficulty of the Crip Walk and the potential to add original moves to it may have added to its broad appeal.

"I think it's also kind of a challenge — it looks cool whether you're part of a gang or not," admitted Schneider, the assistant principal at Manual Arts High. "It's a complicated dance."

The dance's basic move is simple, however. It alternates between touching heels, with your toes apart, and touching your toes together, with your heels spread apart. From there, dancers add a series of spins and pivots on the balls of their feet.

Related dances, such as the Harlem Shake and heel-to-toe, have sprung up in other parts of the country.

The Crip Walk is hardly the first controversial dance to confront school officials and parents. The tango first appeared in the seedy underworld of late-1800s Argentina before becoming a popular mainstream dance. Some historians say the polka and the waltz were originally considered scandalous because couples danced too close together.

In the 1980s, "dirty dancing" and the Lambada — a Brazilian dance — were deemed too risqué for many. And today many schools are banning "freaking" or "grinding" — dance moves with overt sexual connotations.

Crenshaw High School's principal, Isaac Hammond, said the Crip Walk is ultimately too dangerous to permit at the school.

"We will let them know that if they are caught doing that then they are going to be suspended from school, because it is for their own safety."

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