Dennis is a 25 year old dancer from Eindhoven, the Netherlands. He started practicing shuffle in August 2019 with his best friend. Together they practiced multiple times a week consistently and more friends started to join. One of these friends had asked them for help to teach a workshop at a youth center.
As there were no shuffle teachers at all in the Netherlands at that point, it seemed like something unique the youth center could offer. And thus before he knew it, Dennis was teaching shuffle there weekly to the youth. It didn’t take long for Dennis to realise that in order to keep teaching things to the group that was formed, he needed to step up his game. So the grind began, taking online classes from well-established teachers such as Marktore, Marbiik and Francis Vo to stay ahead of his class.
“Honestly, when I started out teaching just to help my friend with his workshop, I was a beginner myself and had no intention of becoming a teacher. However, once I actually started teaching, my view on the dance changed completely. I suddenly had to start understanding why to move a certain way, instead of just how. I fell in love with the depthness of this dance and decided that I want to keep learning about shuffle, and then sharing and spreading it as far as I am able to” – Dennis Backus
Dennis does not really identify with one substyle of the dance. He calls himself a “hybrid shuffler”, as he likes mixing things from all substyles.
“I love all shuffle styles. It’s really hard to choose. When freestyling, I do not think about staying within the boundaries of a substyle, but rather move like how the track makes me feel. To me, all the substyles are a part of shuffle and I’m proud to call myself a shuffler.” – Dennis Backus
His current hybrid style has influences from Cutting Shapes, Konijnendans, Melbourne Shuffle and Malaysian shuffle. This might also have to do with his taste in music, as he appreciates all types of House and Techno like genres.
“Dance is a way to express myself and release my energy. Moving as one with the music is what brings me joy, so that is why I dance” – Dennis Backus
A few weeks before Dennis and his best friend started learning how to shuffle, they met a woman at an EDM festival who asked them if they were professional dancers; because she found they moved very well to the beat. Confused, they had told her no; they only danced at festivals. She then replied with: “Well maybe you should be!” and then dissapeared again in the crowd. This random event, combined with seeing shufflers at that same festival, triggered them to try to learn how to shuffle.