Released in 1996, Los Del Rio’s “Macarena” was only a few weeks old when attendees of the 1996 DNC got down with their get down by dancing the Macarena on the convention floor. Where politics meet mass choreographed dancing is the apex of sheer joy. It’s even better than Bill Clinton’s love of balloons. But beyond that, those giddy politicos were part of a dance craze that kept the song in the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for 14 weeks. This week marks the song’s 20th anniversary and it has us thinking about other dance fads.
Sadly, most don’t have the enduring appeal of the Macarena. A lot of pop culture inspired/created dances simply don’t outlive their brief vogue while others somehow find a way like the Electric Slide. It’s totally random and thus, it is unjust. Here are a few dance crazes that were too easily dismissed by the public. Read about them, feel the nostalgia feels, and then help the cause by busting out these moves next time you’re in the club.
This is Batman’s answer to the Watusi. His swiveling hips and seductive face framing with his hands broke the hearts of Batman comic nerds everywhere when it debuted. They needed their Dark Knight. But, it delighted people when it was resurrected in Pulp Fiction. Pairing it with the Mashed Potato seems to be the answer. It’s simultaneously erotic and absurd. In other words: it’s perfect.
If you have never found yourself in a biker bar and dancing to “Tequila,” you may not have had the opportunity to bust these moves. The reality is that you make your own moment. Get some platforms, break some glasses, and move like you mean it. But, don’t knock over a bunch of motorcycles to get an audience; it won’t work out for your big adventure.
The Humpty Dance
How did a dance that looks like a fit or a convulsion drop out of favor? Shenanigans, that’s how. This song is generally considered some of the best hip-hop from that period and it certainly tried to ruin the image and the style viewers were used to. Bottom line: Tupac was part of the Digital Underground, and if a dance is good enough for Tupac, what’s your problem? Check him out on The Arsenio Hall Show; he’s the dude in red.
The Tom Jones
Not to be confused with The Carlton, the Tom Jones is one-part Pony, one-part Jerk, and three-parts hip action. At least, it’s that at first. After that, all bets are off and it’s possible Tom is doing the Humpty Dance. So offensive was Tom Jones’ gyrating that he wasn’t allowed to do it on the BBC, and this was after the BBC let Mick Jagger’s snake hips grind all over the airwaves.
’60s Go-Go Dancing
This isn’t just one style; you have your Hitchhiker and your Monkey and your Shimmy, among others. Present day Go-go dancers tend to be a little more risqué, but classic cage dancers of the sixties shook their fringe with sex lite. The one commonality is that every movement makes you look like a superhot Fembot. Is there anything sexier than making sure people know what your boots are for?
Between this song and “Jump Around,” it can safely be inferred that people of the ’90s liked nothing more than bouncing up and down. Some might argue that this Kris Kross named dance is more jump than dance, and that’s somewhat fair. But those people are overlooking the walking in place and pointing. All superlative dancing hinges on pointing… and a backward clothing gimmick.
The Kid n’ Play
This dance is heavy on Running Man and the Roger Rabbit; Kid n’ Play love them some bounce grooves. But, the real heart of the dance is kicking the soles of your partner’s shoe and locking ankles. It seems to bring down the house at any house party you attend. Well, the house parties that have dance-offs. It’s unconventional but delightful, and you shouldn’t have to wait for a Pajama Jammy Jam to bust it out.
This dance got a brief shout-out via the first Charlie’s Angels movie, but that isn’t enough. The Hustle is disco’s gimme. It is essentially walking in place and circling your arms: all the ’70s flair and none of the difficulty. Throw in some Saturday Night Fever pointing (see? it’s all about pointing) and you can consider yourself a disco queen or king. Why aren’t you doing it right now?
Next time you hear a beat drop, take a moment and think about whether you want to trot out some stale ass moves or not. Vote for not and show people how you do it by resurrecting a lost dance craze.