Top 10 Dance Crazes

Please join me for a little Deep-Fried Friday Dance Craze! After my How Well Do You Know the 90’s post, in which I mentioned the Macarena, I started thinking about some of the most fun dance crazes I’ve come across. I put together another Top 10 List with fun dance crazes and songs that inspired them.

10. Hand Jive by Johnny Otis. It was so much fun, it was resurrected in Grease. After all, whether or not you can dance, we are all born to hand jive.

9. Chicken Dance – So easy a caveman chicken could do it. And not to be confused with the Bluth family chicken dance from Arrested Development.

8. Macarena by Los Del Rio – When translated, this Spanish song is about a loose-morals gal named Macarena. But let’s face it: Most of us don’t know what it means; we merely enjoy the rhythm and the moves.

7. The Twist by Chubby Checker. It didn’t stop with this song in 1960. Chubby Checker recorded “Let’s Twist Again” in 1961, and the Beatles recorded “Twist and Shout” in 1963.

6. The Bird by The Time – This one didn’t catch on much, but it was a fun few minutes of dancing that interrupted the otherwise too-serious Purple Rain movie. (We get it, Prince: You’re a tortured soul.) Get your bok-bok and your hands goin’!

5. Interlude Dance by Attack! Attack! There is a strange history to this dance craze. Two University of Northern Iowa students came up with the six-step dance and taught it to fellow students. It became all the rage at sporting events. Even the most rhythm-challenged can manage this one, and it’s has a party feel.

4. Cotton-Eyed Joe – This post was also motivated by my appalled realization that my Texas-born and bred children did not know what the Cotton-Eyed Joe was. What are they teaching in P.E.? When I was growing up, it was a rite of passage to learn the Cotton-Eyed Joe and do it at every school dance.

As I started looking for a video for this dance, I passed appalled and ended up at horrified as I learned that the cotton-eyed joe I remember has been largely replaced by a version sung by some band named Reddix and new dance moves. This is the original song I recall, performed here by Asleep at the Wheel in Austin, Texas.

3. Vogue by Madonna – Voguing was popular in clubs before Madonna’s song, but her tune made this a craze across the nation. The official video is good, but her MTV performance of this song (wearing Michelle Pfeiffer’s dress from Dangerous Liaisons by the way) was a classic.

2. Electric Slide. The original dance came with the song Electric Boogie by Marcia Griffiths. However, it works with just about any song, so I’ve seen the electric slide done at school dances, night clubs, and country dance halls to all kinds of music. Here’s a quick sample from Six Flags.

1. Time Warp by Rocky Horror Picture Show Original Cast. I have a confession to make: I have NEVER seen The Rocky Horror Picture Show (Gasp! A virgin.) But I have done the Time Warp many a time. It’s so easy, you see: It’s just a jump to the left . . .

I’m sure I missed a LOT of dances. I’ve recently been in a Twitter conversation about line dancing (don’t ask). I’m not as “up” on dance crazes as I thought, since Gloria Richard pointed out something called “The Freeze.” Anyone know this dance? I don’t.

What are your favorites? Do you know of any other up-and-coming crazes that we should all learn? What dances did you grow up doing?

29 thoughts on “Top 10 Dance Crazes

  1. Okay. My favorite version of The Hand Jive is Eric Clapton’s version. But, yes, the dance is cool. And I love that scene in Grease. My favorite dance based on a Chubby Checker song is “Pony Time.”

    As for Cotton-eyed Joe, the song predates the Civil War Era. My favorite version is Nina Simone’s. 😀

    Fun post. I enjoyed reading it.

  2. Super fun, blog!! My favorite has to be the hand jive from Grease. i used to want to be a pink lady SO bad!!

  3. You haven’t seen Rocky Horror??? Check your movie listings – look for it at indie theaters. There’s a group around here that shows it every now and then at a historic opera house (hmmm, sounds like a My Town Monday post!). Because you can’t get a true appreciation of it just watching at home on DVD – you must see it at a theater. It’s an experience!

    And hmmm, no Hokey Pokey? That was a nightly tradition at 4-H camp! Even uncoordinated me could do it. 🙂

    My college friends doing the Time Warp is one of the best photos in my wedding album – along with one showing my parents doing the Loco Motion (another good one)!

    1. Jennette – I just waited so long to go see RHP that now I can’t see myself going! Everyone says that you’re mocked on your first time out.

      I did leave out the Hokey Pokey. Even though that is what it’s all about! I do recall doing the Loco Motion at a couple of dances.

  4. The only version of Cotton Eyed Joe I know is the song you probably found most on YouTube. I didn’t know other versions existed (I grew up in Michigan…what can I say??).

    We also called The Electric Slide by the name of The Hustle. Which I don’t think is the same The Hustle most people think of. And we dance to a Stevie Wonder song. *Phew* Which really means it’s not the same at all…

    What about the Cha Cha Slide. There are about 18 versions of it and I STILL don’t know how to do the Charlie Brown!

    1. Did y’all yell the words during your Cotton-Eyed Joe, Erin? Down here, it’s also known as the “BS song.” Is the Electric Slide the same as the Hustle? Huh.

      I have no idea what the Charlie Brown is, but my sister and I have been known to try to dance like the Peanuts Gang from time to time. The Snoopy dance is fun!

  5. The Hand-Jive!! I hadn’t ever heard of The Bird? And the Macarena drove me nuts my senior year in high school. Everyone was doing it in Cancun in 1995 – then we came back to the states after our senior trip and were Macarena’d out! Fun post, Julie!!

    1. You’re too young to know the Bird! And it was WAY past my senior year of high school that the Macarena came out. LOL. Thanks, Tiffany! I’ll try to keep up with your young, hip self!

  6. I loved Vogue but I’ve never seen this video before. I really like this version of Cotton Eyed Joe, never seen it before. I once won a disco competition for twisting lol. These are all a fab flashback. I like the sporting event one too. Gets the crowd in a great mood for a game. Cool post!

  7. I have two left feet, so I like the Saturday Night Live dancing skit to “What is Love” (Baby Don’t Hurt Me). I can do the head motion, no worries. Love your list!

  8. Uhhmm…I’ve never been much of a dancer…unless you refer to ‘Elaine’ from Seinfield style dancing…ha! But I love to watch dancing. Good choices and a fun post. The Hokey Pokey is my boys’ favorite alongside the chicken dance.

    1. I can relate to Elaine/Seinfeld dancing, Nadja. The Hokey Pokey is an all-time favorite, isn’t it? I have sung it often with young children. I especially like seeing my kids do the chicken dance at a skating rink. It’s always better on skates.

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