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100 Years of Silly Dances

It’s already December, which means it’s just about time for Facebook newsfeeds into nostalgia mode.  This year, let’s take it back farther than last year’s silly memes and look at the last decade’s silly dances!  I’ve posted the videos, so you can try out a few moves to work off that extra turkey by doing the mashed potato!


Turkey trot – 1900s

Like any great dance, the turkey trot was made outrageously popular by being publicly denounced in the early 1900s when it was banned by the Vatican for being too suggestive.  Despite being banned at public functions, the dance was made all the more popular by its risqué status.


The Black Bottom – 1920s

The Black Bottom dance originated in New Orleans, then made its way to the Apollo Theater in New York with the George White Scandals.  It was a hugely popular dance was composed by African American pianist and dancer Perry Bradford.  The dance was so popular, it ended up overtaking the Charleston.


The Jitter Bug – 1940s


The jitterbug is a type of swing dancing that became hugely popular in the ’30s and ’40s.  The dance itself doesn’t look that silly,but the name is another matter.  Inspired by Cab Calloway’s “Call of the Jitterbug,” the name comes from these poignant lyrics: “If you’d like to be a jitter bug,First thing you must do is get a jug,Put whiskey, wine and gin within,And shake it all up and then begin.”

The Mashed Potato – 1962

Just in time for the mashed potato leftovers, this dance started with the “Mashed Potato Time” by Dee Dee Sharp.  How it resembles mashed potatoes, still remains a mystery.


Time Warp – 1973


Part parody, part genius, the Time Warp encompasses all the fun kitsch found in the movie The Rocky Horror Picture Show.  

Thriller – 1983

What’s more iconic about this music video?  The makeup, the skintight leather pantsuit, or the dance moves that even Lady Gaga wouldn’t mind stomping to?  Michael Jackson’s music video was groundbreaking in that it mixed screenplay with a music video.  Even 30 years later, it is still regarded as the most influential music video of all time.


Macarena – 1994

The Macarena is one of the the greatest international hits of all time, ranking number 7 on Billboard’s All Time Top 100.   The song is one of the few foreign hits to make #1 on American charts.  The iconic dance moves were as popular across the board as the music itself.


Dougie – 2007

Inspired by 1980s rapper Doug E. Fresh, Lil’Wil taught the whole world to how to “Dougie.”  According to Corey Fowler, member of the Cali Swag District whose “How-To Dougie” video garnered over 20,000,000 views says that “Everybody does it different…The way you do it defines you.”

Gangnam Style – 2012

No list of silly dances is complete without Gangnam Style. The song pokes fun at the trendy, high class lifestyle of those who live in the Gangnam District in Korea, but even those who can’t find South Korea on a map can appreciate the invisible horse and elevator dancing that, along with a fun beat a lots of energy, made this song an international sensation.