Chinese Skanking

Some wisdom I gained the other night:

> You can teach your Chinese wife to skank to old Less Than Jake tunes, but you can’t make her really enjoy it.

OK, I’ll admit, I don’t enjoy Less Than Jake now nearly as much as I did at the Gainesville shows back in the day. Despite the somewhat disappointing outcome, it was more than worth it to see my wife skanking. (Has anyone ever been to a ska or ska-punk show in China where the whole crowd was skanking?)


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. Ska in China? That’d be awesome. Sinosplice should form a band.

    Saw ska in Japan, the whole crowd was skanking, and dressed up like 1940 pimps.

  2. Am I the only person here that has no idea what you are talking about?

  3. @Jeffrey: It would indeed be awesome.

    @Matt: That’s why there’s a link.

  4. No, I don’t know what he’s talking about either.

  5. I forgot about skanking! Man…I used to skank like none other.
    Looking back, it’s a bit ridiculous. I love the ska that seems to exclusively sing about skanking. “Skanking to the rhythm! Skank to the beat! Hu-hu hu!”
    I think a room full of Chinese people dancing would bring me to skank again. I swore I never would….
    I miss the good old days.

  6. Wait…I mean a room full of Chinese people skanking…

  7. Thanks to this post and a subsequent search on Youtube, I’m now “cool” again. It’s amazing what “the kids” are into nowadays.

    Thanks, internet pal.

  8. Jason,

    How can you forget about skanking?? It has got to be one of the funnest forms of dance, where you get a great workout, get really into the music, and it’s almost impossible to feel self-conscious because it’s so inherently goofy.

  9. coljac,

    You may be relieved to know that skanking hasn’t been cool for quite a few years. Unless… maybe it’s on its way back? I wouldn’t really know.

  10. We need to stop talking about skanking making a comeback, and start making it happen!

  11. Heh heh skanking…I saw Less than Jake back in the day, quite the rollicking good time. I was an avid attendee of hardcore concerts in my American life (though I was not a sexually confused hardcore kid) and I was always amused at the kung-fu inspired hardcore dancing. I haven’t been to any hardcore shows in China- does this style of pit dancing exist here? I bet they would kick Americans’ asses.

  12. From my observations, most of China is still stuck on the bunny hop. Give them a couple years and skanking might come about. My guess though is that the twist will catch on first.

  13. Maybe a video of people skanking would be helpful.

  14. I picked a short video at random ( to learn what exactly was being talked about.

    To be honest, it seems kind of dangerous. All that flailing. Sure, it’s fine in the States, but what if you had 1.35 billion people doing the skank? Risky business…

  15. More evidence that #2 in your “Life in China is Like an RPG” is true. Really, skanking? Please tell me some of you guys went a little deeper than Less Than Jake. What about The Ethiopians, Clancy Eccles or even Desmond Decker?!? If not, time to go back and see where it all came from.

    Yes, I’m old.

  16. Impotent Sea Snakes

  17. Skanking?….didn’t Bob Marley have a song called “easy skankin’ “

  18. Sloppyzhou: You skanked at Desmond Dekker concerts? Awesome.

  19. …. Is that skanking?…. better illustrated through visual than a description.

  20. The word Skank has very negative meanings here in europe, it kind of mean dirty prostitute.

  21. sloppyzhou,

    We went deeper, but stıll not real deep. Not much deeper than the Specials and Madness. My favorite were the Pıetasters…

  22. Heilong,

    It means that in the USA too, but that’s a noun, and this is a verb.

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