I’m a big fan of Paris-based multi-genre dancer Joyss. He blows me and so many others away with his fusion of urban dance moves and vernacular jazz, performed with style and pinache. You may have seen him perform at Montreal Swing Riot, All Jazz Weekend, Camp Swing It in Korea, or many other events around the world.
Nowadays Joyss is on the fashion runway much more than the dance floor it seems, particularly working with legendary fashion designer Jean-Paul Gaultier.
Recently Joyss’ dancing was featured in a way that I never would have expected, in the popular online game Fortnite! Some of his signature moves are captured as an “emote,” a programmed dance which anyone can either purchase or earn in-game. So yes, you too, or at least your Fortnite avatar, can dance like Joyss.
Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the Fortnite emote and Joyss’ actual dancing.
And here’s the emote by itself, which is called, appropriately, “Slick.”
Finally, check out the full routine from Montreal Swing Riot 2015 that was the inspiration for this emote. Always a treat to watch this again!
Dancing in Fortnite is not with out controversy. Several dancers who’s moves were brought into the game and monetized complained that their art was being used for profit without their consultation or payment. Some even sued Epic Games, the owners of Fortnite, for using their work without permission. Several have argued that this is another example of companies appropriating the art of Black artists and other people of color without crediting or compensating them.
We checked in with Joyss yesterday about how he got into the game. He tells us that he was contacted back in November by Epic Games for permission to use his dance moves in the video game. After negotiating a fee and terms — where he retains rights to his work — they agreed on a contract. Then they digitized a short segment of Joyss’ performance and brought it into Fortnite.
So it looks like Epic is trying to make it right with dancers moving forward.
UPDATE 8/30: Andrew Munoz tells us that there’s ANOTHER jazz emote. And here it is, the “flapper.” Pretty generic, but a jazz dance nonetheless.