Cover photo: Plastikete

Being open to observe everything that happens above and below the stage is essential for a rock-metal choreographer. Which natural movements do inspire music to the musicians and the audience? Mosh / slam, circle pit or wall of death … we will do a review of what happens when the metalheads decides to express themselves through movement and interact with other people, creating a collective movement.


Moshing or slamdancing is a style of dance where participants push or slam into each other, typically during a live music show. It is energetic and full of body contact, which sometimes can become violent. The soul of the moshing is the chaos in motion. Moshing has its roots in the pogo dancing associated to punk concerts, whose origin is attributed to Sid Vicious (Sex Pistols). It is common in concerts of other musical genres such as punk or ska and, inside metal music, it is usually associated with more aggressive styles such as thrash , groove or death metal. Anthrax, one of The Big Four of Trash Metal, used the term in their song Caught in a Mosh in 1987. Moshing usually happens in an area called the pit or mosh pit, near the stage.

Moshing has even attracted the interest of the scientific community. In the following video, you can see some mosh pits at metal concerts and Jesse Silverberg will explain you the physics behind them.


In this variant of moshing, participants move in a circle, in a counter-clockwise direction. In displacement, energetic and aggressive movements and body contact between participants are maintained.


A very descriptive name: wall of death! Here the crowd is split in half. At a given moment, both halves run to meet in a violent collision. The wall of death can be leaded from the stage by the music band, who organize the crowd and count down to the moment when the participants run to crash into the human wall.

Wall of Death – Hellfest 2014.


As choreographers, we must not ignore this kind of dances created by people. Certainly popular dances are not dances for stage, but we cannot miss this collective creation. How can we take artistic advantage of these trends? If we observe them, all require a certain number of participants and the individual identity is dissolved in the group, so we can translate them into group figures.  That means that if you have enough dancers, you can include mosh, circle pit or wall of death as part of your choreography, especially in aggressive instrumental parts. You should not abuse them because, like all dances of popular origin, these collective forms of dance are made up of very basic movements.

Protect you against injury

The violent contact involving all previous movements has led the participants themselves to propose codes and recommendations to avoid physical damage. However, incidents and even deaths continue to occur due to the risk of suffocation and crushing in very large audiences. For this reason, some metal bands opposed moshing at their live shows, claiming it is dangerous to their fans.

In a controlled environment such as a scenario, the most serious risks do not exist, but we must not forget the possibility of injury. For the execution of these movements as part of a choreographic piece, I would recommend you the study of techniques of stage combat, which simulate violence in an effective manner ensuring the integrity of the interpreters.