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Historically, many of TikTok’s most popular dance crazes have been slick and graceful, like the polished sequences for “Say So” and “Renegade.” But in the last week, a new dance move that’s nearly the opposite of smooth has skyrocketed into virality.
“Glitching” is all about making quick lurching motions that make you appear to be malfunctioning. It’s quickly become the hottest TikTok dance of the summer thus far.
The trend was launched by Vanessa Clark (@glitchgirlmaster), a 17-year-old student at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Science who is from Worcester, Mass.
On June 19, Clark posted her first glitch-dance video on the account @glitchgirlmaster and released a string of additional videos that exploded in views. The account has ballooned from 20,000 followers to over 1.4 million in the last week. Fans have dubbed her TikTok’s “Glitch Queen.”
Since tiktok banned me from posting on my other acc🙈😔
Initially, “glitching” was just one move, which became Clark’s signature — a clip sped up three times with TikTok’s speed filter showing Clark’s outstretched hands swiftly jerking back and forth in a hypnotic motion as if she were explaining something in a conversation and suddenly began to buffer like a YouTube video loaded with poor Wi-Fi connection.
Clark, who told Insider she has no formal dance training, said she came up with the now-iconic move by accident.
“The first video I did wasn’t really a glitch, it was a shoulder dance,” she told Insider. For the second video, she moved in sync with the fast, sputtering beat, which made her look like she was glitching. Within a few days, that video racked up millions of views.
#duet with @poloboy granted polo🙈
Clark admits that other TikTok users have previously performed glitch-dancing, but she thinks that her “chill,” no-frills demeanor sets her videos apart.
“When a lot of people glitch, they do transitions, but I don’t,” she said. “I just sit down on my kitchen counter and it looks cool, and I think people really like that.”
One crucial aspect of the trend’s appeal is its versatility. While most major TikTok dance trends hinge on a single song, these moves can work with any song and transcend genre boundaries. As proven by Clark’s song choices, the dance can be performed with distorted trap, ’90s hip-hop, groovy R&B, and even chaotic hyperpop. Songs just need to have a repetitive element — such as a stuttered vocal sequence or a rapid spree of drums — for a dancer to flick and snap their limbs to.
This one was a little challenging!
The song that was first used by Clark and is most commonly associated with the trend is Luci4’s trap tune “Kurxxed Emeralds,” which Clark helped blow up. The song currently has over 1.5 million plays on Spotify and soundtracks almost 100,000 videos on TikTok.
But with “glitchcore,” creators mostly used editing software for their videos, while TikTokers like Clark say they’re performing the glitches in real-time without any special effects, aside from TikTok’s built-in speed filter.
Clark said she has a few ideas for how to innovate the dance even more, like experimenting with walking and running glitches. But mostly, she’s just thrilled to see how many people are performing her routine.
“Everyone’s having fun with the challenge … I see people [glitching] not just from America, but internationally,” she said. “It makes me happy that people all over the world are doing it.”