So, there's this dance craze, or so a song insists.
If everybody's doing it now, then you might want to know the steps. The lyrics may explain a few easy-to-do steps, but often keep it intentionally vague if a choreographer is responsible for the real
Mostly, the lyrics tend to say how popular the dance is and how it makes people feel while they do it, maybe throwing in a few references to other dances which it is or isn't like.
One thing is required: the rhythm has to be catchy
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Live Action TV
- "Do The Urkel" from Family Matters.
- "The Chicken Song" from Spitting Image parodies this
Hold a chicken in the air
Stick a deckchair up your nose
Buy a jumbo jet
And then bury all your clothes
Paint your left knee green
Then extract your wisdom teeth
Form a string quartet
And pretend your name is Keith
- The Hannah Montana movie has the "Hoedown Throwdown". Even in-universe, this one is stretching Willing Suspension of Disbelief a bit.
- In Bear in the Big Blue House, the mice at Tutter's school all do the "Mumble Mambo," but Tutter is uncomfortable with it and can't seem to get into it.
- Tiswas, a Saturday morning staple of British TV in The Seventies, came up with "The Dying Fly".
- Leather Tuscadero wrote & performed "Do the Fonzie" on Happy Days.
- Carmine Ragusa sang "Do the Carmine" on Laverne and Shirley.
- The Goodies spoofed this in one episode where they were being tasked — by a musical Mad Hatter, no less — with writing a hit song. They belted up a squaredance tune, and Bill improvised fairly ordinary squaredance lyrics which were being followed exactly by the Mad Hatter's goons, ending with this (paraphrased):
Now with your partner you shout
Open the window and jump out
- Also, The Funky Gibbon. And in another routine called "Poor Old Soul" on Almost Live, they named dance sensations like the "loony moth", "festering ferret", and "dead dog".
- On "Do the Roo" from The Book of Pooh, Roo creates one with the help of his mama Kanga called "The Roo," which can basically be done any way you want. "Any which way, throw out your compass! Swing your partner, do a wild rompus! How you move is up to you, when you're doin' the Roo!"
- Inexplicably popular in pop music from the mid-1950s to the early 1960s:
- Usher had "U-Turn" from his 8701 album
Put your hands up
Bend your knees
Bounce around in a circle
Get down with me
Come on, come on (it ain't hard to learn)
Come on, come on (it's called the U Turn)
- "Baila en tu cuerpo alegría, Macarena, que tu cuerpo es pa' dar alegría, cosa buena..."
- Parodied in Lemon Demon's "Dance Like An Idiot"
Put your hands on your knees, and hobble to the right
Then do a three-sixty with your eyes shut tight
While you're dizzy, get busy and pretend you're a mime
Then make whiny noises, and clap five times
Hold out your arms, start running in place
Try to do the moonwalk, and fall on your face
Get up and stomp around like a big fat lummox
Then jump out the window with your hands on your buttocks.
- Similarly but more scatologically parodied by Rappy McRapperson's "Lick Your Own Butthole Party Dance" which is about exactly what you think it is.
- DJ Casper's "Cha Cha Slide"
- "Mambo Number Five" by Pérez Prado, covered by Lou Bega.
Jump up and down and move it all around,
Shake your head to the sound, put your hands on the ground.
Take one step left and one step right,
One to the front and one to the side.
Clap your hands once and clap your hands twice
And if it look like this then you're doing it right.
- Just some songs from The New Tens:
Everybody just have a good time
And even when you lose your mind
We just wanna see ya...
Everyday I'm shufflin'...
- The Metropolitan Glide. Are you ready?
- Marcia Griffiths's "Electric Slide"
- "Caramelldansen" is pure this (though the dance described in the lyrics has nothing in common with the "dance" from the looped video clip that made it popular). Translated, it goes something like this:
Dance with us
Clap your hands
Do like we do
Take some steps to the left
Listen and learn
Don't miss the chance
Now we're here with
The Caramell Dance!
- Before the Velvet Underground came about, Lou Reed wrote a version of these called "The Ostrich" featuring a ridiculous dance that involved people stepping on other people's heads.
- Limbo good, Limbo fine, Everybody gets a chance... Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuh!
- "The Compromise" by the Format satirizes this by describing a dance whose steps are "Throw your partner behind a desk, where they'll do absolutely nothing so it's your job to dance and smile". It's a retaliation against the record company, who asked them to write a hit (hence "The Compromise").
- You put your left leg in, your left leg out...
- Put your elbow up tight, make a step with the right, tilt your head to the side and smile real, real wide! LEO STRUT!
- "Do the Strand" by Roxy Music. There are almost no instructions on how to do it in the lyrics, so it's possible it's just a long reference to other songs of this trope.
- Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show had a song called "Levitate". It started out like it was trying to teach a dance, and then continued to lifting both feet off the ground and crossing your legs in midair.
- Parodied in "The Sacro-Iliac" by 10CC:
Here's what you gotta do...
In any tempo, in any rhythm...
Come right back and do the Sacro-Iliac.
- Sort of parodied by The Goodies in 'The Funky Gibbon'...
Weve just been down to the zoo,
Saw a monkey in a cage,
Doin' a dance that could be the rage!
- "Do The Reggay" by Toots & The Maytals. Possibly the most successful one of all, since instead of popularizing a dance, it wound up naming a genre of music (with a minor change in spelling).
- "The Vatican Rag" by Tom Lehrer is another satirical example.
- The Humpty Dance is your chance to do the hump!
- "The Calloway Boogie"
- Older than Television: The Ragtime Dance by Scott Joplin. Good luck finding a version with the lyrics, though.
- Parodied in this Songs To Wear Pants To song.
- The Cabbage Patch. Actually there were two competing versions of the Cabbage Patch: One came from the West Coast via the World Class Wreckin' Cru (featuring a pre-NWA Dr. Dre), and the other originated in Miami with a single from Gucci Crew II.
- Dance Dance Revolution has a song called The 7 Jump. Unfortunately the lyrics seem to assume that you're watching the music video to the song so you'd never learn how to do it just from hearing it. Hilariously, the lyrics comment about how easy it is to do.
- Open the door, get on the floor, everybody walk the dinosaur.
- Well everybody's heard about the bird... (The Bird was originally a dance, and was indeed "the word.")
- Even the 2 Live Crew made their own dance, called "Throw The D."note (What, you were expecting something G-rated?)
It's all in the hips, so go berserk and let that dick do the work!
- "The Wilbury Twist" by The Traveling Wilburys invites the dancer to, among other things, fall on his ass, put his teeth in a glass, and put his blindfold on so his friends can get away from him ("Could be years before you're missed!").
- The Cramps usually had one of these on every album, including "Surfin' Dead", "Alligator Stomp", "Cramp Stomp", "The Crusher", and others. In most of them, everyone's dead by the final verse (but still dancing).
- "The Crusher" was originally by obscure 60's garage rock group The Novas, who used Guttural Growler vocals to fit with the wrestling-themed "dance" of the title: the only two moves given for the crusher itself are "take your fist and put it on your waist" and "squeeze your partner's head 'til she's blue in the face", and the listener is also repeatedly urged to "do the hammerlock" and "the eye-gouge".
- Parodied with The Lonely Island's "The Creep", a dance specifically designed to make one look like, well, a creep.
- The Cupid Shuffle. To the right! To the right! To the right! To the right!
- MC Frontalot has the 'Margaret Thatcher' from his song Wallflowers, which describes exactly the Adorkable dance that would be performed by an awkward geek with no idea how to dance. Notable for taking 'vague steps' Up to Eleven - after all, if it's an awkward nerd dance, you're not supposed to know what you're doing.
Wiggle, wobble, wriggle,
coddle your young,
intensify your ennui,
then before you get done,
put your left foot over to the left if you dare,
then pretend you got scared,
then point at your hair.
- A slew of awkwardly titled rap-dance sensation songs were released after the success of the Soulja Boy, with varied amounts of success:
- The Stanky Legg
- The Cat Daddy
- The Dougie (discussed in TWO songs)
- Lean Like a Cholo
- Walk like an Egyptian.
- The Dismemberment Plan's "Do The Standing Still", which uses the lyrical format of a typical dance sensation song to satirize how non-demonstrative indie rock audiences often are:
Oh whoa-oh, well it's a sensation
Across the entire nation
Oh whoa-oh, a hundred million kids
All dancing in suspended animation
- Oddly predated by 15 years with an identically titled song by Belgian New Wave band The Employees, which had the same lyrical premise.
- "The Crunge" by Led Zeppelin is another parody of this style of song, influenced by James Brown, but with an undanceable, oddly-timed rhythm.
- Eels' "Going Fetal" is a pretty sardonic parody: According to the lyrics, the latest dance craze is the Troubled Fetal Position.
- The Butterfly? Uh-uh, that's old. Lemme see that Tootsee Roll!
- The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band's Do The Trouser Press, Baby (Yeahhhh!)
- It's officially called "Peewee's Dance", but Joeski Love actually came up with a dance called The Pee Wee Herman. No Celebrities Were Harmed, obviously.
Just swing your hands up to the front
And if you can't hear the music, say "Huh? What?"
As you're doin' your dance, you might hurt your back
Just look at the crowd, and say "I meant to do that!"
- And then you have the songs that pack a bunch of dance moves into one track, something like a dance-move Medley.
- There are several line dance songs that faded away after coming out but are still popular among African-Americans, for example, "The Cupid Shuffle" and "Wobble".
- Fats Domino's "Dance With Mr. Domino" was about the "Domino Twist."
- Steppenwolf sang about the "Hippo Stomp."
- Hüsker Dü's "Do the Bee."
- The Replacements' "Mr. Whirly"
- The Simpsons with "Do the Bartman".
- Sponge Bob Square Pants had kids at the prom doing "The Sponge." Unfortunately, anyone who wasn't a sponge ended up mangled.
- In another episode, Patrick wins a dance contest after rolling around because of a cramp. (He won by default, as the only dancer who did his own dancing.) This is followed by a fake commercial for "The Cramp".
- In "The Lost Mattress" when Mr. Krabs throws his back out opening the front door to the Krusty Krab and SpongeBob asks if he's okay he sarcastically retorts "I'm just doubled over in pain, fightin' back tears in me eyes because it's a new dance craze!"
- The Super Mario Bros. Super Show's ending credits instructed viewers on how to "Do the Mario."
- For those unfamiliar, you swing your arms from side to side, take one step, and then again. The Mario is just running.
- The Flintstones had "The Twitch", created by a singer after an allergic reaction to pickled dodo eggs.
- The Schmeerskahoven in Pinky and the Brain stimulated every pressure point on the body during the dance, allowing the dancer to be completely brainwashed.
- "The Michigan Rag", from the Looney Tunes short One Froggy Evening. It was the only original song written for the short.
- Buzzbee, the main character of The Hive creates one in "Dancing Bee."
- "There's a great new craze that's sweeping the nation! Come on! Do the Circulation!"
That's it for now! Until next time, everybody, DO THE MARIO!