We have watched their videos, we have admired their style, now we have received the inside story on the beginnings of an amazing empire.
Edith C. Rivera hosted local shuffle meet ups in New York public parks and studios for years. Almost every week, the meet ups brought shufflers and people together who wanted to learn. She built a bond with people who kept coming back, learned new things together and watched them grow into amazing dancers. “We had strangers come up to us and ask if we were professionals which was an unfamiliar territory for all of us since we just did it for fun. Eventually our skills attracted a couple of paid gigs. We’ve performed for a film premier party, Bose product launch party and more. We had reached a level of shuffling that hasn’t been reached before so we decided to make ourselves a team,” said Edith.
New Empire shufflers currently has over 20 members and they host video auditions every 6 months. Edith stated that they have certain guidelines that must be met in order to join. “Skill is only one part, but we also look for people who are passionate, friendly, have a unique trait in their style which we believe can inspire others and we give priority to people who give back to their community (host meet ups, run shuffle pages, teach people, etc). In some cases we recruit ‘trainees’ whom are learning shufflers we see potential in and mentor them. NES trainees don’t have to participate in tryouts,” said Edith.
“With NewEmpire Shufflers we strive to be a role model to the community and hope that we can inspire everyone out there with what we do and the way we keep evolving.”
(Spring 2017 Meetup Recap Video: “You can see all different styles and levels in one spot. Main thing we have in common that brings us together is the love for dancing,” said Edith.)
Before the Empire was built and established, Edith had her own beginning and she told it how it was! “I decided to go to my first underground rave. I wasn’t sure what to do there since I didn’t know how to dance, I wasn’t into drugs and I was always told that taking shrooms or molly is main thing to do there. I decided to go with the former so I searched on Google “how to dance in raves”. I saw tutorials for Jumpstyle, Tektonic and Shuffle but shuffling seemed to be the easiest option,” said Edith.
“I didn’t even like EDM music, but the more I practiced the dance the slowly I fell in love with it. Now it is all I do and think about everyday.”
I asked Edith about the group atmosphere and what it’s like when the group gets together and dances. She explained it perfectly. “When we get together we are like a big family excited to shuffle and the rest of the world gets muted as soon as the music starts playing. We get so comfortable with each other, feed off each others vibes that we wind up learning from one another and it feels like we can dance forever. By the way, we love strangers too. As soon as we see anyone near our bubble, we encourage them to also join in the fun. Who knows, shuffling might make a difference in their lives too, right?” said Edith.
Shuffle Advice: “For people who have just started shuffling, an advice would be to practice daily. The more they do it the easier it gets. Also practice to music that they love and keep it fun. Youtube and Instagram are great platforms to learn more about the shuffle scene, learn new moves and connect with other shufflers that can also give feedback or support on their progress,” said Edith.
(The video above is of a shuffle battle between two members, Tenshi vs. Prime “which rocked the shuffle community with the amount of never before seen creativity these guys put out. In the end it was all love and laughter,” said Edith.)
When it comes to which music is the best to shuffle to, Edith says each genre is the best! “I’ve seen people shuffle to House music, Hardstyle, Electro-Swing, Dubstep, Bachata, 90’s hits, you name it and I’ve seen it. Shuffling is one of the fastest evolving dances in the world, beyond the basics there are no rules set in stone and I believe that it could be interpreted differently by everyone. So dance to what ever makes you feel like dancing,” said Edith. So, don’t hesitate if yo find yourself wanting to shuffle to something different!
“Our main goal is to inspire others by showcasing our talent, passion and pushing the boundaries of shuffling. Although shuffling was once an underground dance, we want to show the rest of the world what we can create with it.”