If you can help improve this page by providing pictures, steps or instructions on how any of the dances listed here were performed, or add to the names list, please get in touch!
Dance Craze Count:
|UK / US Sixties Dance Listing A-Z Dance Steps and Instructions Also see other site pages: 'The Birth of The Twist' Soho - The Swinging Sixties Ready Steady Go!|
arrival of rock'n'roll brought a major change to the social art of dancing.
Although contact dancing with a partner was still as popular as always (naturally!)
variations and speed became more frantic and less formalised. Non-contact
dances and those that could be performed solo became ever more popular,
particularly with The Mods. The styles and crazes changed with rapid regularity,
in line with new records and the changes in musical styles and taste . .
. . . the biggest and most enduring of these new dances was 'The Twist'.
Pioneered in the States by Chubby Checker and a group called Joey Dee and
the Starliters it was huge to the point where national competitions were
held. It found its way to British dance halls around 1961 with Chubby Checker's
chart-topping record 'Let's Twist Again' and its various follow-ups.
In the USA instructions for doing the Twist were enclosed, with every record sold, advising "Imagine you are stubbing out a cigarette with both feet whilst drying your back with a towel", which pretty well describes it. 'The Twist' was a song written and recorded in 1959 by Hank Ballard and his group The Midnighters, inspired by the way his backing singers moved as they sang. The original version was the 'B' side to 'Teardrops On Your Letter'. American DJ Dick Clark failed to talk Hank Ballard into performing the song on 'American Bandstand' so he persuaded his local Philadelphia record label, Cameo Parkway, to launch their own version of the song. For the recording session they used an unknown chicken plucker called Earnest Evans who was also an amateur song style impersonator. Before release, Dick Clark's wife suggested that Earnest adopt a stage name, maybe something like 'Fats Domino', so they substituted 'Chubby' for 'Fats', 'Checker' for 'Domino' and the rest, as they say, is history!
No other dance craze really came close to it, despite the best efforts of the television pop show Ready Steady Go! which broadcasted its (almost) weekly 'new moves' section to a huge audience. Resident dancers on the show were Theresa Confrey and Patrick Kerr who both invented and demonstrated new dances alongside 'members of the public' (chosen specially during their visits to the 'Sabre' club).
One of the main factors in the instant popularity of the Twist was that it was so easy to do. It could be performed by anyone, regardless of whether they had a sense of rhythm or not. Chubby Checker went on to release quite a few other 'dance craze' songs including 'The Mess Around', 'The Hucklebuck' and 'The Fly'. Many other acts also recorded versions of 'Twist' songs like The Isley Brothers' and The Beatles' 'Twist and Shout', 'Twistin' The Night Away' by Sam Cooke and the aforementioned Joey Dee and The Starlighters' many Twist records, including the huge hit 'Peppermint Twist'. Chubby Checker recorded versions in Italian, French and German, even devoting an entire multilingual L.P. to the dance called 'Twisting Round The World'. The Twist even made it to the big screen four times with the feature films Donít Knock the Twist, Hey, Letís Twist!, Twist All Night and Twist Around the Clock, which all premiered in 1962. Although hundreds of 'dance styles' were invented during the decade - (see the list below) - none were ever more popular or long-lived than 'The Twist'.
Step 1: Stand with your feet one or two feet apart. Your right foot should be slightly further forward than the left. You should shift your weight from your right leg to your left as you twist.
Step 2: Hold your arms away from the body, slightly bend at the elbows. The arms help to twist your body side to side.
Step 3: Just as you unscrew a bottle cap, twist your waist, hips and legs from left to right. Keep your arms stationary and move on the balls of your feet.
Step 4: As you twist, lean your body forward towards the front leg and then bend backwards shifting your weight on the back leg, as you continue to twist.
Step 5: Squat to the dance floor as you twist and move back up. You can twist with different speed and intensity, according to the music. You can also jump in the air slightly, and bend one leg to add style.
The Cavern Club in Liverpool had its own special dance almost forced upon it. Called 'The Cavern Stomp', it consisted of holding hands with the person nearest you and jerking backwards and forwards in an effort to avoid falling over. This was just about all that was possible due to the overcrowded nature of the venue!
There was also the dance to 'The Clapping Song' by Shirley Ellis (did it have a name?) and even The Charleston and The Hand Jive had Sixties revivals. "Kick your feet up, swing your arms up too, move your head both ways like you see me do" - 'Do The Freddie' was a US hit for Freddie and the Dreamers in 1965, reaching number 18, but the song didn't chart in the UK at all. It was a similar story for the 'War Canoe', in the style of Monkey and Jerk, a non-hit for the mighty Rolf Harris.
The 'Batusi' was a slightly sinister dance, based on the Watusi, using 'moves' mimicking the actions of television's 'Batman'. The Bop and The Shoulder Shake were still long-running standards for the Teds and the Rockers of the motorcycle fraternity, while line-dancers participated in whatever the local version was of The Stroll. For the handbag dancers there was always the Shadow Walk. The Hully Gully was a type of unstructured line dance popularised in the Sixties, but was mentioned some forty years earlier as a dance common in the black juke joints in the twenties. In its Sixties form it was revived by Frank Rocco at the Cadillac Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida.
The Olympics sang the song 'Hully Gully', in 1959, which involved no physical contact at all and the same tune was later used by the Marathons and entitled 'Peanut Butter'. Sam the Sham and The Pharaohs' 1964 hit 'Wooly Bully' was originally titled 'Hully Gully' but the band could not record it under that name due to the prior existence of a recorded song by that title and, in any case, the speed of the beat did not fit to the steps of the Hully Gully dance.
A local dance hall of the time and a fab site: The California Ballroom, Dunstable
The Hokey Pokey (or Cokey)
A 'leftover' from the Fifties, the participants stand in a big ring formation during the dance.
The dance follows the instructions given in the lyrics of the song, which may be prompted by a bandleader or another dance leader.
Specific body parts are named, and these are then sequentially put into the ring, taken out of the ring, and finally wiggled around maniacally inside the ring. After this is done one raises one's hands up to the side of the head, wiggles them, and turns around in place. Each sequence is followed by a 'chorus where everyone joins hands and rushes to the centre of the circle and out again until the next sequence begins, with a new named body part.
A sample instruction set would be:
You put your left ear in,
You put your left ear out,
You put your left ear in and shake it all about. You do the Hokey Pokey and you turn around, That's what it's all about . . . OY!
The Watusi / Wobble / Waddle
The Watusi / Wobble / Waddle
The Watusi / Wobble / Waddle
(Danced to a moderate tempo)
Stand with your feet about 12 inches apart. Keep both knees bent at all times. Pretend you are going to take a golf swing.
On the count of one, shift weight to right foot, making right hip move out to the right.
On the count of two, shift weight to left foot, making left hip move out to the left.
Move from side to side with hips swinging right to left to a 1-2, 1-2 rhythm.
Hold arms out in front of you as if you were holding a golf club.
Swing hands to your right, then down in a semicircular motion to your left, back to right, then to left, counting 1-2, 1-2.
Putting Them Together:
Now do the hand and hip movements simultaneously from right to left on a count of 1-2.
|Watusi Step Variation:
Do the steps forward and back instead of sideways.
Woman: 1. Right foot forward 2. Left foot forward and left 3. Right foot forward and right 4. You end up with your feet apart - and clap your hands
Man: 1. Left foot forward 2. Right foot forward and right 3. Left foot forward and left 4. You end up with your feet apart - and clap your hands
Repeat the same pattern, always starting with the same foot. You can just keep going in one direction until you run out of space, or change direction whenever you wish.
Watusi Hand Variations:
1. Popeye or Sightseer: Looking right, with your right hand over your eyes and your left on your hip; then looking left with your left hand over your eyes and your right on your hip, and repeat
2. Rowing the Boat: Hands reach forward and pull back the oars
3. Dean Martin: Figure this one out for yourselves.......
4. Dracula: Anyone, or anything, you can think of to pantomime
Rowing the Boat
Created for, and named after, a New York discotheque with Japanese decor.
The dance is basically a 'Monkey' variation:
Hands: Extended, 'holding chopsticks' - use your imagination!
Facing your partner, you maintain a 'Monkey' beat, but go down, bending at the knees.
As you are going back up, your partner is going down, and vice versa.
American TV star Soupy Sales' dance is another 'Monkey' variation. What makes it The Mouse'?
Put your thumbs to your ears, wiggle your fingers, put your upper teeth over your lower lip and keep the beat with your knees. That's it!
Feet: A few inches apart - they don't move. Body: Bent forward, facing your partner, almost nose-to-nose. Hands: Keep them on your thighs. Basic Movement: Your head does it all. Move it forward and to the right, and back. Then forward to the left, and back. Keep repeating and hope that your partner is in time with you or it gets painful!
The music for this is the Mexican Hat Dance. Your hands can go on your hips or over your head, while doing the 'hat dance' steps. You can hold one, or both, of your partner's hands, or neither, but it may be wise to 'anchor' yourself for the ending, which is the whole point - you all fall down! Black or dark clothing recommended.....
Count: Step, tap - step, tap - walk, walk. Feet: Together Hands: Waist level Body: Straight
1. Step to the right with right foot
2. Bring left foot to right foot in a hard tap on the floor with the ball of the foot. 3. Step to the left with left foot
4. Bring right foot to left foot in a hard tap on the floor with the ball of the foot. 5. Step back with right foot
6. Step back with left foot (lean forward from the waist on the walk steps. Repeat.
Variation: Bring the toe to the heel in steps 2 and 4 instead of side by side
Cha Cha Cha
The basic pattern involves the lead (usually the man) taking a checked forward step with the left foot, retaining some weight on the right foot. The knee of the right leg must stay bent and close to the back of the left knee, the left leg having straightened just prior to receiving part weight. This step is taken on the second beat of the bar. Full weight is returned to the right leg on the second step (beat three). The fourth beat is split in two so the count of the next three steps is 4-and-1. These three steps constitute the cha-cha chasse. A step to the side is taken with the left foot, the right foot is half closed towards the left foot (typically leaving both feet under the hips or perhaps closed together), and finally there is a last step to the left with the left foot.
The length of the steps in the chasse depends very much on the effect the dancer is attempting to make. The partner takes a step back on the right foot, the knee being straightened as full weight is taken. The other leg is allowed to remain straight. It is possible it will shoot slightly but no deliberate flexing of the free leg is attempted. This is quite different from technique associated with salsa, for instance. On the next beat (beat three) weight is returned to the left leg. Then a chasse is danced RLR. Each partner is now in a position to dance the bar their partner just danced. Hence the fundamental construction of Cha-cha extends over two bars.
The checked first step is a later development in the "international cha-cha" style. Because of the action used during the forward step (the one taking only part weight) the basic pattern turns left, whereas in earlier times Cha-cha was danced without rotation of the alignment. Hip actions are allowed to occur at the end of every step. For steps taking a single beat the first half of the beat constitutes the foot movement and the second half is taken up by the hip movement. The hip sway eliminates any increase in height as the feet are brought towards each other. In general, steps in all directions should be taken first with the ball of the foot in contact with the floor, and then with the heel lowering when the weight is fully transferred; however, some steps require that the heel remain lifted from the floor. When weight is released from a foot, the heel should release from the floor first, allowing the toe to maintain contact with the floor.
The Mashed Potato(es) / Monster Mash
The Mashed Potato(es) / Monster Mash
The 'Monster Mash is essentially the same dance, done with creepy, ghoul-like arm movements and transitions.
Right knee bends, right foot lifts off the floor, weight shifts to left foot.
Pivot on left foot an eighth of a turn clockwise.
Left foot pivots a quarter turn counterclockwise.
Right foot steps close to left foot, then right foot pivots a quarter turn clockwise.
Left knee bends and left foot lifts off the floor.
Right foot pivots a quarter turn clockwise.
Left foot steps close to right foot, then left foot pivots quarter turn clockwise.
Right knee bends and right knee lifts off the floor.
Left foot pivots quarter turn counterclockwise.
Right foot steps close to left foot, then right foot pivots quarter turn clockwise.
Left knee bends and left foot lifts off the floor.
Right foot pivots quarter turn counterclockwise. Repeat.
|A slightly manic
dance, as you'd expect, 'invented' by Freddie and The Dreamers, who did
it as they sang. On the dance floor, you do it facing your partner (you
don't need to sing!)
Count: An even 1-2-3-4
Body: Straight Feet: Together Hands: At sides
Basic Movement: Leaning your body side to side in one place and......
1. Raise your right arm straight out to the right. At the same time, raise your right leg straight out to the right, leaning your body to the left so all your weight is on your left leg
2. Return to your original position
3. Do the same thing with your left arm and leg, putting your weight on your right leg
4. Return to your original position
5. Repeat from '1'
You and your partner can do this in the same direction, i.e. you are raising your left arm when she is raising her right, or you can do it in opposite directions. You can also do this back-to-back
1 . Taking a fighter's crouch, face your partner and stand with feet apart, knees bent.
Bend arms and close fists, thumbs up.
2. Bend forward from waist to the left, raising right arm. As your body bobs, your head
also bobs forward on each count. The whole effect is jerky.
3. Straighten up to original position.
4. Bend forward from waist toward your partner, facing centre, switching arms as you
5. Straighten to original position.
Hands and head should give impression of monkey holding two bananas.
6. Bend forward from waist to the right. Straighten to original position.
7. Bob back to centre, bending at waist and again switching hands.
8. Repeat entire pattern. Counts are double time, hitting every accent in the music.
The Hullabaloo Dance Video: Hitch-Hiker, Twist and Boston Monkey
and also see ..... How to dance The Monkey
1. Stand with feet together and put right heel out.
2. Jump back into place with right foot, landing with left toe on ground, left heel raised.
3. Put heel of left foot out to left side.
4. Jump back in place with left foot, landing with right toe on ground, right heel raised.
Repeat over and over in place. The body moves easily from side to side by dropping the opposite shoulder each time the foot goes out.
The counts are 1-2-3-4. Repeat it over and over
Note: The hands are raised, the fingers snapping on the beat.
The Chicken is a popular American rhythm and blues dance, dating from the 1950s, in which the dancers flapped their arms and kicked back their feet in an imitation of a chicken.
The dance featured lateral body movements and was used primarily as a change of pace step while doing the Twist.
The chicken dance gained even more popularity when Rufus Thomas wrote The Funky Chicken in 1970.
Fly-away step 1 Swing step 1 Fly-away (group)
Basic Blue-Beat Swing - same steps for boy and girl
Stand with feet apart, hands at side of body 2 or 3 inches from side.
1. Swing weight over onto left foot, both knees bending over to the left, swinging arms across each other at the same time.
2. Swing weight over onto right foot, both knees bending over to the right, uncrossing arms and swinging them wide open away from body.
Continue this swinging movement left and right, keeping time to the very definite background beat that you can hear in all 'blue-beat' music. Keep arm swing sharp and defined.
Blue-Beat Fly-Away (can be danced before or after the basic swing)
1. Straighten right knee, raising left foot in sharp, small kick in front of right foot
2. Step onto left foot, lowering it in front of right foot
3-4. Transfer weight onto right foot, then left foot, in a rocking action.
5. Straighten left knee, raising right foot in sharp, small kick in front of left foot.
6. Step onto right foot, lowering it in front of left foot.
7-8. Transfer weight onto left foot, then right foot, in a rocking action.
Created by the music programme 'Hullabaloo' for their dance book:
Feet: Turned out as far as you can, heel to heel
Body: Straight, either in front of, or back-to-back with your partner
Arms: Outstretched, or bent at the elbows, hands out flat, palms up
Movement: Bend side to side from the waist. Your partner should be
doing the same but in the opposite direction
Variation: Face your partner and arch your arms over your head.
Move your head left and right as far as you can without turning it to one side
Another dance created by the music programme 'Hullabaloo' for their dance book: for those too tired to dance or just want to chill a bit.....
Every movement is to two beats - half time.
1. Stretch your right arm in front of you, palm down, parallel to the table top
2. Do the same with your left arm
3. Right hand to left shoulder
4. Left hand to right shoulder
5. Left hand to left knee
6. Right hand to right knee
7. Clap twice
8. Stretch your left arm in front of you, palm down, and look at the hand as you put it out
9. Repeat with right arm
10. Turn left palm up and look at it
11. Repeat with right palm
12. Clap twice
13. Right fist to left elbow, tap twice
14. Left fist to right elbow, tap twice
15. Left hand passes over right twice, 1 beat per pass, in front of you, close
16. Right hand over left, twice
17. Clap twice. It's a lot easier than it sounds - a sort of 'hand jive'.
The Pony is from Chubby Checker's "Pony Time". The beat is 1&2, 3&4, etc, with the feet comfortably together. Various arm and hand motions can be done when Pony-ing, as if using reins, and movement on the dance floor can occur; however, there is no line-of-dance. Couples do not touch, and they are generally facing each other, but turns and chase positions are also possible.Counts are 1 and 2 (right foot pony) 3 and 4 (left foot pony)
The Madison / Madison Time
Typical music is 'The Madison Time' by The Ray Bryant Combo, available on various CD compilations. The tune is in regular 4/4 time.
The dance consists of a basic step and a series of figures. Each figure occupies a fixed number of beats, but they are all different. Don't expect the figures to start on the first beat of a bar or at the beginning of a phrase as they go all across the music.
The basic step occupies 6 beats or one and a half bars, so the step weaves pleasantly in and out of the tune. Always complete the basic step you're doing, then go straight into the figure, whatever the tune may be doing.
Madison Dance Instructional Preview
The Basic Continental Madison Step (1.5 bars)
It's six beats and it goes like this. Step; close; step; tap; tap; tap.
Stand slightly sideways with your left shoulder to the front.
(1) Step LF to the side.
(2) Close RF to LF without weight and clap.
(3) Step back on RF to place.
(4) Cross LF in front of RF and tap.
(5) Uncross LF and tap.
(6) Cross LF in front and tap.
On the clap, reach forward with both arms. On the taps raise the hands to shoulder level and wave from side to side.
Dancin' the Madison on "The Buddy Deane Show"
Basic British Madison Step (1.5
Note: There are two basic Madison steps, the Continental and the British.
The standardised British version, danced to Twist or Jive music, is very similar:
Step 1: Step forward on left foot. Rhythm count 1 or Quick.
Step 2: Close right foot to left foot without weight. Rhythm count 2 or Quick.
Step 3: Use right foot again and step back on it. Rhythm count 3 or Quick.
Step 4: Close left foot to right foot without weight. Rhythm count 4 or Quick.
Step 5: Point left toe forward without weight. Rhythm count 5 or Quick.
Step 6: Close left foot to right foot without weight. Rhythm count 6 or Quick.
Now step forward on left foot and repeat from step 1.
Step 1 - Feet slightly apart, straight ahead.
Step 2 - Partners stand about one and a half feet apart, facing each other.
Step 3 - Snap your fingers.
Step 4 - Slide your right foot back, then forward stomp, do it again.
Step 5 - Slide your left foot back, then forward stomp, do it again.
Step 6 - Repeat.
More Madison Figures
Two Up, Two Back, Big, Strong Turn (4 bars)
Chasse to the left (L, R, L, pause) then the chasse to the right (R, L, R, pause). Turn anticlockwise on the spot with 4 steps (2 beats per step), L, R, L, R.
During the turn, flourish the arms, raising the R arm with the R leg.
Two Up, Two Back, Double Cross, Rifleman (5.5 bars)
Chasse left and right as before. Walk forward with 4 steps (2 beats per step) crossing free leg in front of the other. Drop down (2 beats).
Jump up and shoot the rifle (2 beats). Step forward LF. Step back RF, then back to the basic.
M and Erase It (8 bars)
Trace the letter M on the floor with chasses to the left and right. There are 4 chasses to draw the M and another 4 to erase it.
T Time (2.5 bars)
Chasse to the left and close with RF. Star jump to arms outstretched (T) position. Jump back to normal arms down position.
Chasse right to place, extending arms on each step R.
Cleveland Box (4 bars)
This is a box step, but it's a bit more complicated than the 4 step box used by line dancers and The Shadows.
Imagine a compass rose on the floor about 18 inches across. You start, not in the centre, but at the S mark, and visit four points around the circle, as follows:
Step LF to SW. Close RF. Step LF to NW. Step RF to NE. Close LF. Step RF to SE. Step LF to SW. Close RF. Each step is two beats.
Where's the pattern in that, you may ask. Well, you need to visit each of the four points by stepping onto each then closing with the free foot. However, in some cases a close will put you on the wrong foot for the next side step. You therefore omit the close when it would trip you up on the next step. Try it and see.
Whilst you're doing this you bend forward from the waist and revolve the hands rapidly around each other. When you close with the feet you don't simply bring the feet together. You bring your free foot directly behind the standing foot and spring on to it, knocking away the other foot.
On every close, you stand upright, then bend forward for the next step. Needs a bit of practice, but don't ask me to demonstrate!!
Basketball with the Wilt Chamberlain Hook (3 bars)
Chasse to the left dribbling the ball. Jump to shoot the hoop turning anticlockwise (2 beats). Jump back clockwise to front (2 beats).
Chasse back to the right, calling out the score. ("Two points").
Jackie Gleason (2.5 bars)
Chasse to the left. Throw R leg out to the front, then swing it back in front of L leg. Launch forward on to RF with arms outstretched (2 beats). ("Awaaaaay we go").
Step L, Step back R to place.
Birdland (6.5 bars)
Totally freeform. Walk around doing various bird impressions as you wish.
Two Up, Two Back, Double Cross and Freeze (4.5 bars)
Chasse to the left and right. Walk forward crossing free leg in front (2 beats per step). Freeze.
A Spanish oddity from 1964 by Johnny and Charley
by kind courtesy of GoShagging.com and Mike Rink
'"Milk a cow" with your hands from a crouched position, swaying from the hips. Keep the rhythm, moving slowly
up and down, occasionally lifting one foot up high. The Stricken Chicken - Don't wait for Oktoberfest. Bend your
arms so that both elbows stick out at a 90-degree angle. Flap your arms like wings while squeezing your knees
together and strutting around. It only sounds silly, it looks cool!
Dancers move to a Caribbean rhythm, then lean backwards and 'dance' under a horizontal stick without touching it. Upon touching it, or falling backwards, the dancer is "out". When several dancers compete, they travel in single file and the stick is gradually lowered until only one dancer, who has not touched either the stick or the floor, remains.
The Shimmy is a dance in which the body is held still, except for the shoulders, which are alternated back and forth. When the right shoulder goes back, the left one comes forward.
It may help to hold the arms out slightly bent at the elbow and, when the shoulders are moved, keep the hands in the same position.
The Mouse is another monkey variation. Put your thumbs to your ears, wiggle your fingers, put your upper teeth over your lower lip-and keep the beat with your knees.
That's the whole mouse.
Slide, touch, slide, touch, slide, touch, slide, touch. Lock steps for eight counts.
Walk forward with a kick, walk back with a stomp.
Hop forward, hop back, hop forward, hop back, hop forward, hop back with a one-quarter right turn.
Got it? Begin again.
The Peyton Place After Midnight
Extend your left arm in front of your body as if you're holding reins.
Wave your right arm in a circular motion above your head while galloping in place for two counts.
Bend slightly at the waist and stick out your rear.
Make the circular arm motion by your knees while continuing to gallop in place for two counts.
This is basically the Monkey, but with your arms and hands moving as if you're leading a band - crossing your wrists in front of your chest, then sweeping out-in time, or at half time, with your body movement, to the count of four. Your hands are up at face level.
On count 1, the outward sweep, "push" your hands out into the outward sweep, giving a jerky motion.
For a little more style, snap your fingers on the two outward movements - the first and third counts of your hand motion.
1: Stand in a fighter's stance facing your partner, with your feet apart and your knees bent. Hold your hands so that they are out on either side of your body, with your hands about level with your face.
2: Bend forward with your body toward your partner and turn to your left. As you do so, cross your hands before you at the wrists. The hands should still be held up at the same level. Remember to bob your head forward as you bend your body.
3: Straighten your body and spread your hands wide again.
4: Lean forward again toward your partner, turn to the centre and cross your hands in front of you. Bow your head as you bend.
5: Raise yourself up straight again, spread your arms wide then repeat the above steps to the right.
6: Vary the steps a little by snapping your fingers as you throw out your hands.
7: Check yourself out in a mirror - you should be looking like a rather jerky monkey conducting a band!
The Righteous Brothers - The Jerk
Jamaican Ska (A and B)
The upper half of the body (waist up) keeps the beat by bowing forward
with a straight back and a slight bend in the knees as in B.
At the first bow the arms extend out to the sides A.
At the second bow the arms cross in front of the body B.
The body straightens up in the change from one position to the other.
Continue in this way for the basic Ska step done on the spot.
For the basic side step, turn to the right by moving the right leg on the
extension of the arms A then bringing up the left leg on the closing of the arms B.
Then to the left by doing the same with the left leg.
The basic 'body beat' continues to be done during these moves.
Ska Rowing (C and D)
A similar action to rowing a boat is carried out facing, or alongside, your partner.
The first step is to reach out with the arms C keeping both back and legs perfectly
straight to form an angle at the waist.
Pull back D by throwing the upper body, from the knees up, backwards.
The Ska beat is maintained first with the forward movement in C and then the
backward movement in D.
The weight of the body is shiffted alternately from right to left on each pull
back action. If done properly, the heavy Ska beat is on the pull back action D.
Ska Riding (E and F)
Ska riding is similar to the action of riding a horse.
Both dancers pretend to be riding a horse by making a pumping action with the
hands in front of the body while at the same time bending the knees E.
The bend of the knees and the push out of the hands are done together on the
fast guitar beat. Occasionally, as in F, one hand is used to 'whip your horse',
again done in time with the beat.
The Bunny Hop
The participants dance in a line, holding on to the hips of the person in front of them. They tap the floor two times with their right foot, then with their left foot.
Then they hop forwards, backwards, and finally three hops forward to finish the sequence, which continues throughout the song.
The first person in the line leads the group around the floor, much like a conga.
The Boston Monkey
Feet together, knees bent. Body bent from the waist. Hands in front of you, palms down, at waist level. Movement: Hips to the left, hips to the right.
You push your right hip out and slightly back, at the same time moving your hands to the left. You push your left hip out and slightly back, at the same time moving your hands to the right. All done bobbing, monkey-like.
Form two lines, men on one side, facing the women on the other.
The first man and woman make their way down the line, strutting their stuff to the end of the row where they separate, with the man rejoining the men's aisle and the woman lining up with the women.
Then the next couple make ther way down the line.
Meanwhile, the people in the line move to the music and try to look real cool.
The original Stroll dance
The Hand Jive
Another dance that was born in the Fifties but kept coming back to haunt us. This is usually performed to fast rock'n'roll music so each movement in this sequence needs to be done in rapid succession - keeping in time to the music - the faster the better!
It can be done while sitting down or standing up and can get you quite confused and out of sequence after a while so, although simple, needs to be well-practised, especially as you increase the number of variant movements. The most basic form of the dance is as follows.:
Begin the dance by slapping your open palms on the tops of your thighs twice.
Clap your hands twice.
Put your hands out with the palms facing down and wave the right hand over the top of the left twice then switch hands and wave the left over the right twice.
Make a fist with each hand with the thumbs over the fingers and facing each other. Take the right fist and tap the top of the left fist twice then switch hands and tap the right fist with the left fist twice.
Cup the left elbow in your right hand and make a circle in the air with your left index finger.
Repeat for the other arm.
Flip your thumbs up and make a hitchhiking gesture with your right hand, jerking the thumb over your right shoulder twice.
Do the same thing with your left hand then repeat from the start for the duration of the song.
1. Form a circle
2. Get in the circle
3. Combat the rug
4. Start scratchin'
5. Pass the bug
6. Repeat steps 1-5
Stomp right forward, stomp left forward. Heel, hook, heel, together.
Heel split, hitch left. Charleston kicks. Left step forward, kick right,
right together, stomp left. Point, sway, step, sway. Vine left with
one-quarter counter-clockwise turn, hitch right knee. Walk back,
stomp right two times. Keep going! An enjoyable 'free-form' dance
that requires little dancing talent but some degree of imagination.
Well, yes... steps 3 and 5 are a bit of a mystery to me as well....
so thanks to 'Ed' for some clarification.
The dance begins by forming a circle. Everyone in the circle dances in place.
One person gets into the centre of the circle and begins dancing, swatting and scratching like they have a bug in their clothes.
The dancer in the circle then 'catches the bug' and 'throws' it onto someone else who is in the circle. This person moves into the centre of the circle and the first dancer moves back to the circle.
It's a lot of fun, but the song generally needs to be played several times to
make it really enjoyable as 'The Bug' is only a 2 minute 15 second song.
Thanks again to 'Ed' who writes:
"You can get a good feel for this dance by watching John Water's 'Hairspray' - the original film from the late 80s (The Bug is also part of this film).
I'm unsure of the entire nature of the dance, but I do know that it starts with a line. There is a stomping, squishing motion with the feet and an arm movement like you are 'fumigating' to kill a roach.
The lyrics to the song say "You stomp, step, skip, 2,3,4,5,6,7, you stomp, step, skip, 2,3,4,5,6,7, you stomp, step, skip, 2,3,4,5,6,7, you stomp, step, skip, 2,3,4,5,6,7, squish, squash, kill that roach."
This suggests that it may have been a box-style dance since there are so many steps. Not sure that this helps much..."
1. Hands reach above head - 2 counts
2. Swing arms left and pull twice as if pulling on a rope - 2 counts, 1 each pull
3. Swing arms right and repeat 'pull' as in 2
4. Bend your knees and stretch up with hands to waist as if pulling on jeans - 2 counts
5. Repeat steps 1 through 4
6. Do steps 1, 2, 3, then back to 2
7. Bend your knees - arms down at knees - palms down, fingers intertwined, gradually stretch body and
arms up for 4 counts (on 4th count hands are above head in full stretch)
8. While hands are above head, shake hips - 4 counts
Feet: A few inches apart - they stay in place
Arms: Outstretched - they are your wings
Body: Bent from the waist, head forward
Movement: Bending one knee, then the other, alternately, you wave your
arms gracefully. Up and down, up and down, sideways - in flight.
There's a sort of 'hula' feeling in the arm motion.
Essentially, you do The Twist or The Pony with your hips and legs while doing all sorts of swimming (or diving) motions with your hands.
Move your arms in a swimming motion as you continue moving your lower body.
Bring your right arm behind your body and circle it toward your head with the elbow bent.
Extend your hand straight forward in line with your ear and repeat the motion with your other arm.
Act like you are jumping into a swimming pool or the ocean.
Hold your nose with one hand and wave your free arm back and forth.
Bend your knees and lower your body so it looks like you're ducking under the waves.
(this style of arm movement works best with The Twist).
Add backstrokes to your lower body movement. Keep your arms straight and your fingers together.
Circle your arm in front of your body and back toward your head.
Tilt your torso back slightly so it looks like your strokes are propelling you backward.
Alternate between different kinds of "strokes" as you dance.
Try mixing and matching the different lower body movements with the swimming motions of your arms and add your own variations to the steps by bending your arm a different way or altering the speed at which you dance.
'C'Mon and Swim' - Bobby Freeman
The Surfer Stomp
Feet slightly apart, straight ahead
Partners stand about 1.5 feet apart, facing each other
Both partners at the same time:
Snap your fingers
A: Slide your right foot back
Then forward stomp
Do it again
B: Slide your left foot back
Then forward stomp
Do it again
Repeat A twice right foot
Repeat B twice left foot
Pretzel - Dance Parody
The Hitch-Hiker, The Twist and The Boston Monkey
The Bird, The Bombay and The Buzzard
The Frug and The Swim The Nitty Gritty
Rockabilly / Lindy Hop Dance Moves Demo
The Hully Gully The Camel Walk
Stand facing the center of the room with your feet together.
On the beat, lift your right foot and tap the floor about a shoulder's width from your left foot, tap the floor next to your left foot and tap the floor about a shoulder's width away from your left foot.
Bring your right foot back to your left foot, then repeat the steps with your right foot.
Tap the heel of your right foot in front of you twice, bringing your foot back next to your left foot between each heel tap, then repeat the heel taps with your left foot.
Bend your right knee, bring your right foot in front of your left knee twice, then do the same with your left knee.
Kick left once with your right foot, kick once right with your left foot, then kick each foot once more left and right.
Put your left foot down about a shoulder's width from your right, jump up and land with your left side facing the center of the room and your feet about shoulder's width apart.
Jump up again, clicking your feet together, and continue the steps from the beginning.
Keep on going, doing a quarter turn each time, until you end up facing front again.
When you do the quarter turn add two leg crosses for effect. After you do the two sets of single leg kicks to the left and to the right, jump up and turn so your left side is facing the center of the room.
Leap up and land with your legs crossed, your right foot in front of your left. Leap up again and cross your legs the other way so your left foot's in front.
Leap up again and land with your right foot again, then leap up and land with your feet together,side by side.
Continue on with the dance steps described above.
After the first steps of the Hucklebuck where you tap your right foot to the side twice and do the same with your left foot, add a subtle dance step that will add more pizazz to your dance steps.
Without moving your foot from the ground, raise your right toe off the ground and pivot your toe to the right with your heel on the ground.
Tap your right toe on the ground, pivot your right toe back so it's facing front again and tap the ground again.
Raise your right toe a second time and pivot your foot to the right and tap the ground with your right without raising your heel.
Return your right toe to the front again, tapping the ground, then repeat the toes taps with your left toe.
Continue on with the rest of the dance steps.
As long as you keep with the beat and the general swing of things, you can't go wrong - pretty much anything goes. The dance can get quite sensual in nature with the male dancing behind the female, one hand on her waist or hip and the other on her shoulder, gyrating their hips in unison - and the woman can even lie on the floor as her partner dances over her.
There is also a 'line dance version' for the less energetic, which can be found on You Tube.
|Well, that's about
it - these are the best I can provide at the moment in good old 'cut and
paste' style. . . . with a great many thanks to the interest, input and
generosity of Denver for many of the more obscure dance names
There are many instructional videos available on You Tube as well.
A thing of the past? No sir, the Sixties dance scene is still hugely alive and rockin'! Check out 'Little Miss Go-Go' presented by Kathy of The Hipster Go-Go Dancers - who has a great love of the 1960's and has done so for most of her life.
For over two decades she has been involved in a variety of events, mainly around Melbourne, Australia, specialising in 1960's music and dance.
Still here? What are you waiting for . . . . . . go and practice!
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