What is Tutting?
Tutting is a type of modern dance wherein body and arm movements are based on mathematical and/or geometric angles and shapes. This street dance style is also said to be interpretative in nature and some movements, especially those of the arms, are taken from hieroglyphics, or ancient Egyptian wall writings. The movements involved in tutting are done to mimic various angles and shapes and these are done along with the specific music beat or rhythm, making the whole dance routine somewhat robotic. On a viewer’s point of view, it will seem like the one doing the tutting move is showcasing different shapes and angles. Some moves of tutting are called “King Tut”, which probably evolved from the dance’s reference to Egyptian art and the Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamen.
It was in the early part of 1980s when tutting became popular on the streets of the US, especially among youngsters. Tutting moves can be considered “big moves” wherein the whole body is involved in forming various angles and shapes. But tutting can also be done in “small” ways, particularly in doing what people call “finger tuts”. And over the years, tutting moves have evolved into a more freestyling kind of dance, with variations and new techniques added along the way, depending on one’s personal style. But before one can do some freestyle tuts, it is said that one has to learn the basic moves and shapes. The most basic move of them all is the 90-degree angle. As with the ancient Egyptian wall writings, the arms and legs are positioned at 90-degree angles against the body. Another basic move is called the wrist roll, which involves basically rolling the wrist in a circular manner or side to side. And since tutting is supposed to be a dance rather than a generic posing technique, it is encouraged that the whole body is incorporated in the whole routine and not just do hand movements.
Today, much of tutting is still alive especially with electronic dance music. Those who do the tutting dance call themselves tutters.