The Northern Soul Scene - Sarah Raine

The Northern Soul Scene - Sarah Raine

I'm Still Looking for Unknowns All the Time: The Forward (E)motion of Northern Soul Dancing

The Northern Soul Scene - Sarah Raine

Paul Sadot [+-]
University of Chichester
Paul Sadot leads the undergraduate Dance course at Shockout Arts in Manchester. He is a PhD candidate at the University of Chichester researching UK hip-hop dancers in the space of theatre. Paul was the creator, director and choreographer of the acclaimed original 2003 stage play Once Upon A Time In Wigan and choreographer and acting coach for Elaine Constantine’s 2015 film Northern Soul and has appeared in numerous documentaries on the subject. Paul has danced to Northern Soul since the age of fifteen and, over the past four decades, has witnessed many changes in the shape of the form that now dominates the Northern Soul dance floor.


Drawing on the author’s embodied knowledge as a Northern Soul dancer, and his work as a practice research scholar investigating popular dance forms, this chapter investigates two distinct Northern Soul scenes: the ‘oldies’ and the ‘newies’. It places in dialogue notions of space, temporality and musical taste to examine how each scene constructs and relates to Northern Soul history and the different movement vocabularies that result. In doing so, the chapter discusses evolving musical diversity on the northern soul scene, set against notions of fixity, historical re-enactment and pastiche, and their relationship to a version of northern soul dancing that has gripped the imagination of outside UK media and academics for some time. It explores how these corporeal myths are often acted out by insiders on the oldies scene and examines the possible impact on the dancing styles of younger participants.

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Sadot, Paul. I'm Still Looking for Unknowns All the Time: The Forward (E)motion of Northern Soul Dancing. The Northern Soul Scene. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 292-310 Feb 2019. ISBN 9781781795583. Date accessed: 03 Dec 2021 doi: 10.1558/equinox.36971. Feb 2019

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