What Is Fortnite?
Fortnite is a video game released in 2017 by developer-publisher Epic Games. It has three game modes: a player-versus-environment mode called Fortnite: Save the World, a player-versus-player mode called Fortnite Battle Royale, and a sandbox mode called Fortnite Creative. Fortnite is available on PC, Mac, PS4, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, Android, and iOS.
After the release of Fortnite Battle Royale, the game shot up in popularity. Over 125 million players downloaded the game in less than a year. Fortnite was also a critical success, winning several video game awards and getting nominated for dozens more, including “Best Ongoing Game”, “Best Multiplayer Game”, and “Ultimate Game of the Year”.
Celebrities, Pop Culture, And Fortnite Dance Moves
Even people who have never played the game are familiar with Fortnite because it’s become a cultural icon. Famous Hollywood stars, international-level athletes, social media personalities, and even politicians have jumped in on the Fortnite trend, copying the ‘dance moves’ within the game. Unless you don’t check Instagram or Facebook, you’ve probably seen a video or GIF of someone doing a Fortnite dance.
But what IS Fortnite dancing, and where did it come from? Well, Fortnite incorporates dance into the game through ‘emotes’, which are unique move sets/gestures that you can make your character do on the battlefield. Most, but not all of these emotes are dance moves copied from famous dances, iconic movies, or online videos.
Emotes (like other ‘cosmetic’ in-game items such as skins) are bought using real-world currency. They don’t impact gameplay, but sometimes the developer will release ‘challenges’ that involve using emotes. This was most recently seen during last year’s ‘Fortnitemares’ challenge where players were tasked to dance next to ‘gargoyles’ scattered across different locations on the game map. In exchange for completing the challenge, players were rewarded with in-game items.
All Fortnite Dances
Created by: Russell Horning a.k.a. The Backpack Kid
Flossing is perhaps the most famous dance move from Fortnite. Katy Perry featured ‘The Backpack Kid’, the dance move’s viral video creator, on her Saturday Night Live guest performance.
Created by: Marlon Webb
Created by: Turk (from Scrubs)
The default Fortnite emote comes from a scene in Scrubs, where Turk makes up a dance on the fly.
Popularised by: Michael Jackson
Isolation and popping are a subset of dance that’s been around for decades, but it was none other than King of Pop Michael Jackson himself who brought this move into the mainstream.
Created by: Carlton (from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air)
Fortnite copied this dance from Fresh Prince star Alfonso Ribeiro, who is suing the company for copyright infringement over the move.
Popularised by: Irving C. Miller’s Liza
This move set is similar to the Charleston, a famous 1920s dance.
Created by: Gabby David
Dance YouTuber Gabby David created the Electro Shuffle. To avoid another lawsuit, Fortnite settled with David to keep using her choreography.
Created by: The Migos
Dabbing is one of the internet culture’s biggest contributions to the world of dance, and it even made its way into Fortnite’s emote options!
Created by: Napoleon (from Napoleon Dynamite)
Fans of Napoleon Dynamite will recognise this iconic dance.
Popularised by: Tony (from Saturday Night Fever)
Epic Games honoured John Travolta’s disco classic by creating an emote based on his dance moves in Saturday Night Fever.
Created by: Kane Hendrie
Fortnite included a lot of popular breakdancing moves, such as the Worm.
Created by: Orange Shirt Kid
In 2018, Fortnite held a ‘create-your-own emote’ BoogieDown competition. Orange Shirt Kid’s video entry didn’t win, but fans petitioned the developer until the viral dance move was finally included.
Ride The Pony
Created by: Psy
Korean pop star Psy broke out into the mainstream with his music video for “Gangnam Style”, where this now-famous dance is from.
Floss, Dab, Shuffle, Groove
A lot of people who don’t play the game find Fortnite dancing annoying, but at the end of the day, it’s all harmless fun. So if you suddenly feel the need to floss or dab, don’t let anyone stop you. Emote away!