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The Dance

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    The Dance’s Groundbreaking Post-Punk Art-Funk Makes US Landfall Modern Harmonic is proud to give The Dance’s complete catalog a reissue, most of which despite its ‘80s NYC panache and its NME buzz, has never been released in the States. In Lust (1981) and Soul Force (1982), both of which were originally released internationally on Statik Records, finally make landfall domestically. Joining those two coveted post-punk platters is Do Dada, which takes its name from a cult classic track on their...

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      Preorder now! This title will be available July 2022. Please note that orders containing any items that are on preorder will ship in full when all items are in stock. The Dance’s Groundbreaking Post-Punk Art-Funk Makes US Landfall Modern Harmonic is proud to give The Dance’s complete catalog a reissue, most of which despite its ‘80s NYC panache and its NME buzz, has never been released in the States. In Lust (1981) and Soul Force (1982), both of which were originally released internationally...

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      Item #: CD-MH-257 -

        The Dance’s Groundbreaking Post-Punk Art-Funk Makes US Landfall Modern Harmonic is proud to give The Dance’s complete catalog a reissue, most of which despite its ‘80s NYC panache and its NME buzz, has never been released in the States. In Lust (1981) and Soul Force (1982), both of which were originally released internationally on Statik Records, finally make landfall domestically. Joining those two coveted post-punk platters is Do Dada, which takes its name from a cult classic track on their...

        Product Shot
        New!
        Price: $24.98
        Retail: $24.98
        Availability: In Stock
        Item #: LP-MH-8257C -

          Preorder now! This title will be available July 2022. Please note that orders containing any items that are on preorder will ship in full when all items are in stock. The Dance’s Groundbreaking Post-Punk Art-Funk Makes US Landfall Modern Harmonic is proud to give The Dance’s complete catalog a reissue, most of which despite its ‘80s NYC panache and its NME buzz, has never been released in the States. In Lust (1981) and Soul Force (1982), both of which were originally released internationally...

          Product Shot
          New!
          Price: $16.98
          Retail: $16.98
          Availability: In Stock
          Item #: CD-MH-258 -

            The Dance’s Groundbreaking Post-Punk Art-Funk Makes US Landfall Modern Harmonic is proud to give The Dance’s complete catalog a reissue, most of which despite its ‘80s NYC panache and its NME buzz, has never been released in the States. In Lust (1981) and Soul Force (1982), both of which were originally released internationally on Statik Records, finally make landfall domestically. Joining those two coveted post-punk platters is Do Dada, which takes its name from a cult classic track on their...

            Product Shot
            New!
            Price: $24.98
            Retail: $24.98
            Availability: In Stock
            Item #: LP-MH-8258C -

              Preorder now! This title will be available July 2022. Please note that orders containing any items that are on preorder will ship in full when all items are in stock. The Dance’s Groundbreaking Post-Punk Art-Funk Makes US Landfall Modern Harmonic is proud to give The Dance’s complete catalog a reissue, most of which despite its ‘80s NYC panache and its NME buzz, has never been released in the States. In Lust (1981) and Soul Force (1982), both of which were originally released internationally...

              The Dance 1979-1983

              The Downtown New York City music scene of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s was a renaissance, a coming together of ideas and influences from all the arts and from cultures around the world. Rock fused with funk, reggae, free jazz and salsa into an urban tribal music, a music of liberation and freedom. The DIY aesthetic of punk rock had attracted many visual and conceptual artists to the immediacy and energy of live music, and they brought with them a media-awareness and a taste for direct statement, as well as a healthy disdain for flashy musicianship. From the humble beginnings of CBGB and Max’s Kansas City, the music scene grew to be dominated by the “dance/rock emporiums” Hurrah, Danceteria, Peppermint Lounge, The Ritz, Mudd Club, as well as myriad smaller clubs like Tier 3 and Club 57.

              Among the first and most prominent bands of this era in NYC was The Dance, a band that made a unique form of poetic beat music, combining musical influences from minimalism, funk, hip-hop, reggae and rock with lyrics that use wit and startling candor to explore paradox and sexual politics. Like many of the bands in this scene, The Dance was racially and sexually integrated. They performed regularly at all the top New York dance clubs and at similar venues throughout the Northeast United States. They were the “opening band of choice” for a great many of the more commercial British bands including The Cure, Depech Mode, Duran Duran. Releasing two LPs on the Statik UK label, their largest audience was in Europe where they toured only once.

              The Dance was formed in New York City in late 1979 when Steven Alexander and Eugenie Diserio, both visual artists with MFAs from Columbia University, dissolved their first band, the notorious Model Citizens who’s eponymous EP had been produced by John Cale, to refocus their musical ideas toward more visceral rhythms and a more poetic integration of words and music. After several early personnel changes, they recruited bassist Louis Watterson, whom they heard at a jazz/funk loft party in Chelsea. The combination of Louis’ sinuous and popping funk bass with the minimal and repetitive patterns of Steve’s 12-string guitar and Eugenie’s electric organ became the defining characteristic of The Dance’s music, and formed an exotic and dynamic context for Eugenie’s distinctive lyrics and vocals.

              The first recording by The Dance was Dance for Your Dinner EP, recorded at Unique Recording in New York and released in 1980 by GoGo Records of Philadelphia. At that time, The Dance was Eugenie, Steve and Louis, along with Fred Maher on drums and Jim Martin on percussion, 2nd guitar and sax. The song “Do Dada” from that first EP was later re-issued by Soul Jazz Records on the New York Noise Vol. 1 compilation CD.

              In the next year, Jim Martin was replaced by Tomas Doncker on guitar, and Fred Maher was replaced by Robey Newsom on drums. This five-piece lineup recorded The Dance’s first LP, In Lust, released by Statik UK in 1981. Recorded in Surry, England at Strawberry Studios, and co-produced at the label’s insistence by John Walker (a young and inexperienced engineer), In Lust presented The Dance's characteristic songs with a murky and more sterile quasi-commercial funk sound. It was well received by fans and press, particularly in Europe where it had major label distribution. But The Dance’s true originality had not yet emerged on record.

              Shortly after the release of In Lust, The Dance pared down to a four-piece band of Eugenie, Steve, Louis and Robey, streamlining their sound and embarking on a highly successful European tour. It was during this tour they were invited to open for The Clash in New York City at Bond’s, but they chose to decline the invitation and continue their tour in Europe. In London at the end of the tour, The Dance, energized by the European audiences, entered Basing Street Studios to make what would be the first recordings of the Soul Force LP, an extended 12” single of “Stay Down” and “Dubbin’ Down” b/w “You Got to Know”, released by Statik UK in early 1982.

              Returning to New York City, The Dance resumed their ongoing tour schedule, playing the top venues in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, D.C., and all points in between. They also made two very successful trips to the West Coast, playing to packed houses in San Francisco and Berkeley. But without a domestic release in the record stores (In Lust was only available in the US in specialty import shops in major cities), the scope of their tours had to be limited.

              In April of 1982, The Dance entered Celestial Sound Studios in New York City to self-produce their second LP, Soul Force. Recorded and mixed in an intensive two-week session, Soul Force was comprised of eight songs, many of which were worked up spontaneously in the studio from musical or lyric fragments, and some that had been seasoned through many live performances. The resulting record is The Dance at their most focused moment, confident and at home in the studio, and collaborating with fluidity and openness. The songs on Soul Force are simplified and direct, deeply felt and eloquently articulated. Eugenie’s lyrics, at once emotional and detached, highly personal and universal, cryptic and resonant, are sung with urgency and clarity. The guitar, bass, organ, drums and percussion lock together in a churning, undulating rhythmic flow, exotic and street-savvy. This record was indeed of its time, reflecting the fusion of international sounds and attitudes that was Downtown NYC in 1982. But Soul Force consistently transcends its local scene, achieving a timeless relevance by eschewing the cliché and the familiar in favor of true and essential impulses.

              Like much of the most original music made in the U.S., Soul Force was met with critical praise but little or no support from the record company. Again available in the States only as an import, the record had broad distribution throughout the rest of the world, but left The Dance in a difficult position at home. Statik was unwilling to support the band on another tour of Europe, where their audience was large and enthusiastic; and the American labels were unable to see the viability of Soul Force for the U.S. market.

              In late 1982, with a beautiful new record stuck in the import bins, The Dance began again. Steve and Eugenie entered Shakedown Sound Studios in New York City with hip-hop producer Arthur Baker to record extended mixes of a new song “Into the Future”, a trippy, hedonistic incantation. The record was immediately signed to Island Records by Mark Kamins, a well known DJ who had also signed Madonna to WB and was now A&R for Island. But in 1983, a month before the record’s release, a shake-up at the Island label left Kamins on the outs, and “Into the Future” on the shelf, where it remained. At this point the rigors of touring and recording without domestic label support became progressively more difficult, and The Dance project reached a natural conclusion.

              Now The Dance’s complete catalogue will be reissued by Sundazed/Modern Harmonic Records, and available for the first time in all formats. The music in these recordings is possibly even more relevant today than in the early '80s, and is certainly just as alive and true as the day it was made. For many in the U.S., it is the first availability of this important piece of the history of New York underground music. But the music of The Dance is not just a piece of history; it is a vital piece of contemporary art that continues to speak with humanity and love to anyone who will listen.