Dances from the Past

This week I have been marathoning on an old TV series Abby McBeal. This is the first viewing for me, and I have fallen in love with the music. All the wonderful old tunes I loved in my teens encourage memories of that part of my life. So many nights were spent dancing to these great songs. It was fun growing up in the 60s as part of the baby boomers generation and the dance explosion. These dances have lived through time in movies and Broadway productions, so younger generations will remember many of these as well.

– “The Stroll” appeared in the 50s, but was still present in the 60s. We would break out in a stroll to almost any slow song. You could say it was the first line dance, with girls on one side and boys on the other. Each couple would meet at the beginning of the line, and stroll to the music between the others take their place at the end of the line.

– “The Twist” was named after the song that it originated from, and was the first major international rock and roll dance style, and was said to be like, “putting out a cigarette with both feet, and wiping your bottom with a towel, to the beat of the music.”

– “The Mashed Potato” is a dance move where you “ground” your foot (as if putting out a cigarette butt) while pulling it backwards then stepping onto the opposite foot to do the same thing.

– “The Monster Mash”  was a variation created for the song “Monster Mash” which added arms held in goulash positions.

– “The Watusi” was extremely simple, based on the hitchhiker’s gesture of waving the stuck out thumb (three times right thumb to the right over the shoulder, clap hands, three times left thumb to the left over the shoulder, clap hands).

– “The Swim,” similar to the Hully Gully (but not as slow), a little like the monkey and the twist, all the while pretending to swim.

– “The Monkey” and “The Jerk” are similar. Arms and hands move as if conducting, with wrists crossing in front of the chest and then sweeping out in time with the music. Hands are at face level then quickly pushed out with a jerky motion.

Source: K. P. Guessen