Mistress of the Mix: Dance Craze!

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.

  1. Psy – Gangnam Style It’s Korean, it’s fantastic, it’s a resurgence of The Pony!
  2. Los Del Rio – Macarena
  3. The Commitments – Land of 1000 Dances
  4. Rocky Horror Soundtrack – The Time Warp My personal favorite. I’ve taught it to many a kid!
  5. 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!
  6. Family Force 5 – Wobble It’s all the rage with those pesky teenagers
  7. Cupid – Cupid Shuffle
  8. Big & Rich – Fake ID There are so many great country line dances, but this one’s pretty sweet.
  9. Michael Jackson – Thriller
  10. Village People – YMCA
  11. Van McCoy – The Hustle
  12. Bo Diddley – Hand Jive
  13. Chubby Checker – Let’s Do The Twist
  14. The Diamonds – The Stroll
  15. Nat Kendricks & His Swans – Do The Mashed Potato
  16. Dee Dee Sharp – Mashed Potato Time
  17. Grandmaster Flash – Electric Slide A wedding favorite
  18. 69 Boyz – Tootsie Roll Thanks to the gals in my book club who clued me in to this craze!
  19. The Upgrade – Teach Me To Dougie I’m still not sure I understand this one.
  20. Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames – Do The Dog
  21. Kaoma – Lambada
  22. The Rolling Stones – Harlem Shuffle
  23. Sweet Charity Soundtrack – Rich Man’s Frug I want this dance craze to come back in the worst way!
  24. 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.

Valerie Ing
Valerie Ing has been the Northern California Program Coordinator for Jefferson Public Radio in Redding for 14 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 and her husband are parents to a couple of college students and a pair of West Highland Terriers, and Valerie can’t imagine life without them or music. The Mistress of the Mix wakes up every day with a song in her head, she sings in the shower and at the top of her lungs in the car.
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4 Responses

  1. Avatar Canda says:

    Love it, Val! I know I'm showing my age, but I loved the Mashed Potato, Bristol Stomp, Watusi, and dancing to Splish Splash. My friends and I made up a dance for The Stripper where we'd stick dozens of scarves in our (very modest) two piece bathing suits. The stripping part was pulling off the scarves as we did what we thought were really cool moves. I'm sure we looked like complete dorks, but we were wise enough to never do the dance in front of anyone else. Gonna go dance around the kitchen now with your playlist. Thanks!

  2. Avatar name says:

    2012 Oakland Athletics – The Bernie Lean! (to 2 or 3 different songs)

  3. Avatar Kirsten says:

    Love your musings, Val.

    I MISS dancing SSSSOOOOOOOOOOO much! Was always out there on the dancefloor back, (way back!) when you had school dances.

    One VERY good thing has happened over the last 2 or 3 decades: It is no longer weird for chicks to just go out there and DO IT! We no longer have to wait for that cute (or not so cute) boy to find his way across the gymnasium floor to bow in font of you. Yes……….. that is truly what occurred!…………………… way back then.

    Where can I dance now????

  4. Avatar Kandis says:

    Love this list, brings back great memories. 🙂 @Canda – It was before my time, but I also loved Splish Splash. My 5th grade teacher loved older music and made us do a dance to it in class, and I still remember all the words and most of the moves! Sometimes I'll break out into song at home and my husband will ask me "How do you know all of the words to that song??"

    Val, I also love to square dance. You are not alone!