Remember back when you were in middle school, and the gym teacher would announce that instead of playing dodgeball or running the mile, that the class was going to spend the next two weeks learning how to square dance? And everybody would groan? I never did. I have always loved to dance, and I didn’t care if I hold the hand of the ickiest boy in school and promenade in a circle. I wanted to dance!
When I was about ten years old, in the living room of our house in Maryville, Missouri, my little sister Dana and I made up our first dance, to the Pink Panther Theme. Imagine two little blonde girl “detectives” walking backwards around the room, hunched over while pretending to hold big magnifying glasses, slowly circling, seemingly unaware of the other, until eventually we’d bump into each other at the end of the song. It was brilliant, right? I’m sure with just a short refresher, the two of us could resurrect the 35 year old choreography from memory, and now that I’ve put it out there on the world wide web, I doubt my daughter will allow the next all-family holiday gathering to go by without making sure it happens!
I’m pretty sure we made up a dance to Disco Duck not long after that, and I will never forget the amazing, expressive and passionate moves we came up with to Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” a few years later. That was right around the time Mrs. Giannini taught us how to do The Hustle (along with a multitude of variations) in gym class, and another friend and I came up with a disco dance routine we intended to perform in front of the whole school that involved the brand new and extremely popular stick-your-finger-in-the-air-then-put-it-in-your-pocket bit along with our own brand new move, the twirl-a-pocket-watch-on-a-chain-while-walking-sideways shuffle. We were amazing when rehearsing in my friend Kelly’s basement, but I’m pretty sure we lost our nerve and never actually performed the dance in public.Or perhaps I’ve just blocked the embarrassing moment from my otherwise indelible childhood memory.
Somewhere along the road to adulthood, I lost the interest in learning all the latest dance moves. I never did the Lambada or the Macarena, I never learned the dance to Thriller. But when Psy’s Gangnam Style hit the airwaves (or rather the Youtube stream), it stirred something within me. Seriously. My daughter walked into the kitchen and yelled over the music, “Mom! What are you DOING?!” as I rode a pretend horse across the room. But you know that by the end of the song, she was doing it too. Gotta love dance crazes. And I’m hoping today’s playlist will bring back all the great dance crazes of the past, from The Twist to the Time Warp to the Tootsie Roll! And if you want to learn the dance craze of today, just click on the video above.
- Psy – Gangnam Style It’s Korean, it’s fantastic, it’s a resurgence of The Pony!
- Los Del Rio – Macarena
- The Commitments – Land of 1000 Dances
- Rocky Horror Soundtrack – The Time Warp My personal favorite. I’ve taught it to many a kid!
- The B52s – Rock Lobster OK, so this one isn’t exactly a specific dance…except for one requirement…when Fred says “Down,” you get down on the floor, on your back, and flail!
- Family Force 5 – Wobble It’s all the rage with those pesky teenagers
- Cupid – Cupid Shuffle
- Big & Rich – Fake ID There are so many great country line dances, but this one’s pretty sweet.
- Michael Jackson – Thriller
- Village People – YMCA
- Van McCoy – The Hustle
- Bo Diddley – Hand Jive
- Chubby Checker – Let’s Do The Twist
- The Diamonds – The Stroll
- Nat Kendricks & His Swans – Do The Mashed Potato
- Dee Dee Sharp – Mashed Potato Time
- Grandmaster Flash – Electric Slide A wedding favorite
- 69 Boyz – Tootsie Roll Thanks to the gals in my book club who clued me in to this craze!
- The Upgrade – Teach Me To Dougie I’m still not sure I understand this one.
- Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames – Do The Dog
- Kaoma – Lambada
- The Rolling Stones – Harlem Shuffle
- Sweet Charity Soundtrack – Rich Man’s Frug I want this dance craze to come back in the worst way!
- Django Reinhardt & Stephane Grapelli – The Charleston If you’d like to see this one performed live on stage this weekend and next, check out the U-Prep Fall Musical “Thoroughly Modern Millie” at the David Marr Auditorium.
By the way friends … Grooveshark is doing a little upgrading this week. I’m not very happy about it, because they’re apparently in the middle of designing a new & improved widget for sharing streaming playlists. But it’s not finished. Which means that you can’t just click on the arrow and play today’s playlist. But you can click on this, which still takes directly to the playlist on Grooveshark, and you can play it from there (by clicking on ‘Play All.’) And because I feel kind of bad about this week’s wonky widget weirdness, here’s a few more smattering of dance craze videos below to make up for it!
Line Dancing in Footloose
The Time Warp from Rocky Horror
Let Me See You Wobble!
Hey, Macarena! AAAAAY!
The Rich Man’s Frug from Sweet Charity
Valerie Ing-Miller has been the Northern California Program Coordinator for Jefferson Public Radio in Redding for nine years and can often be found serving as Mistress of Ceremonies at the Cascade Theatre. For her, ultimate satisfaction comes from a perfect segue. She’s the mother of a teenage daughter and a 7-year-old West Highland Terrier, and can’t imagine life without them or music. Valerie wakes up with a song in her head, she sings in the shower and at the top of her lungs in the car.