That Russian Squat Dance
aka: Cossack Dance
One of the lesser-known skills all KGB
agents must master.
You know the one — the dancers squat down with arms folded and kick. If a Husky Russkie
is celebrating a victory for Glorious Mother Russia
, he is 90% likely to be doing this dance.
It's commonly known as the Cossack Dance, but this is one of those cases of mislabeling by foreigners. In Ukraine, "Cossack Dance" or Kazatsky
, is another name for the Ukrainian Hopak
stage dance. The squat-and-kick move is properly called Preesyadkee
(knee-bending) and is just one part of the dance, but it's the only part known to most non-Russians
. It's one of the more difficult parts of the dance, requiring good balance and substantial leg muscle strength, but of course Mother Russia Makes You Strong
is a Ukrainian folk dance sometimes confused with it.
Fun fact: There is a martial art based on Hopak dancing
Anime and Manga
- Spoofed as part of the disco-dance flashback scene in Airplane!, in which Ted Stryker defies the laws of physics.
- A Shot In The Dark, one of the films in The Pink Panther series, Clouseau is coaxed into joining in a troupe of dancers - and promptly rips his trousers. In the same film, a dancer doing this move is killed after drinking poisoned vodka.
- Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull features some soldiers dancing happily like this in front of a campfire.
- The climax of The Man Who Knew Too Little has the titular character stand in for the lead dancer in one of these.
- Simon is doing the Cossack Dance in the music video of "Christmas Don't be Late" in the film Alvinandthe Chipmunks.
- The Mask - Stanley easily dodges a hail of bullets, transforming into a matador, a Cossack, Vegas Elvis, and a movie cowboy.
- The Mamushka in The Addams Family is one of these. The fact that Gordon is able to dance it is one of the tip-offs that he is really Fester Addams.
- One of the many dances that shows up in Bedknobs and Broomsticks during the musical number "Portobello Road."
- The Three Stooges had a famous running gag involving this, wherein somebody would hurt their foot or otherwise hop around in pain rhythmically. The Stooges would then begin clapping in rhythm and take up the dance with multiple variations and vaguely Russian chanting.
- The Leningrad Cowboys miserably fail to dance like this at a campfire in Leningrad Cowboys Go America. And they're supposed to be Russians.
- A rare female example: Tib in Betsy-Tacy is mentioned as being able to do this dance, using it as the grand finale of her show dance.
- At one point, Drew Carey appeared to be about to do some of this, then his back gave out.
- Parodied on The Muppet Show: Pig Muppets in cossack costumes dance like this, one of them kicks with both legs at once and hovers in the air for a split second before falling to the floor.
- Three Sheets included host Zane Lamprey asking a Russian about the dance in the Moscow episode. The Russian explained that they didn't dance like that...but that he knew how to, from watching American movies.
- Battle Fever J, the third Super Sentai series, had each team member representing a different country and performing a national dance; no points for guessing what Battle Cossack's dance was.
- Happy Days had an episode with a dance marathon, with Fonzie throwing this out as a challenge dance at the end, allowing he and his partner, Joanie, to win.
- Fiddler on the Roof during the song "To Life".
- A bit of this shows up in the choreography for "The Soviet Machine" in the London production of Chess.
- Act 2 of Riverdance features an elaborate (and awesome) Russian dance number. It starts with Hopek-style dancing and turns it Up to Eleven.
- Moskau by German band Dschinghis Khan seems to be associated with this in the minds of many. They never actually perform this at any point in the video, though.
- Featured a lot in the Basement Jaxx's music video for "Take Me Back to Your House". Bears get to dance, too.
- Pictured above is Zangief's ending from Street Fighter II, where Mikhail Gorbachev arrives to congratulate him* . In Pocket Fighters he has it as one of his special attacks — he advances while dancing, kicking his opponent further and further back.
- In Street Fighter IV, when you get to the rival battle as El Fuerte, Zangief does this while introducing himself.
- Since they're made in Russia, the Jack series in Tekken has this this as one of their attacks.
- In Punch-Out!!!!, Soda Popinski does this in one of his win animations.
- Part of the male dwarf dance in World of Warcraft. But not the Slavic-accented Draenei, oddly enough. They dance to "Tunak Tunak Tun", which is Indian. Perhaps because the squat dance would be anatomically difficult with the draenei's goat-like legs.
- Jack from Tekken has something like this in his moveset.
- The routine for "Rasputin" in Just Dance 2 involves this move.
- In Majora's Mask a mask can be used to make ReDeads dance in this fashion. Also, the final boss may randomly do this when you fight it.
- The Soviet Conscript from Red Alert 3 does it as an Idle Animation.
- Unpatched copies and the shareware demo of Duke Nukem 3D allow Duke to use both the off hand "Mighty Foot" (kick with left foot) and Emergency Weapon kick (kick with right foot) at the same time. Fans tend to see it as Duke either doing this trope, or imitating Liu Kang.
- In Rayman 2, Rayman does this after completing every level.
- Fable has this as one of the animations you can make your character do. In the first game, you even get it almost at the start.
- Russian Dancing Men is a rhythm game for iPhone & iPad based on the flash music vid below.
- In the second game in the Destroy All Humans! series, while Crypto is in Tunguska, the locals will usually do this kind of dance whenever they are under his Free Love spell.
- In Devil Summoner: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. The Soulless Army, Rasputin does this dance at the start of the boss battle against him.
- In Super Hero Squad Online, this is Colossus's dance animation. Naturaliski.
- The Footloose episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender had a similar dance.
- The Futurama episode "A Taste of Freedom" opens with Fry walking in on everyone watching Zoidberg doing one of these in honour of the "Freedom Day" holiday. Fry decides to join in to avoid standing out. Subverts the traditional association with Communist Mother Russia with the chanted lyrics "freedom, freedom, freedom, OY!"
- Later, a bunch of Uncle Sams on stilts are seen doing the dance.
- Anastasia during the "Rumor in St. Petersburg" number.
- The Russian puppets in Pinocchio do this.
- Performed by thistles in Fantasia.
- Boris the Russian goose performs one in Balto (complete with accompanying yells of "HEY!") in an attempt to cheer Balto up. For some reason, it doesn't work.
- In the Phineas and Ferb episode "The Wizard of Odd", Doofenschmirtz's guards do this dance during their big number.
- A Woody Woodpecker short where Woody disguises himself as a Russian visitor takes advantage of this dance to position himself to literally kick Wally Walrus in the butt but good.
- A file photo of Homer Simpson doing this comes back to haunt him when he's accused of being a Communist after heading into Russian waters with a nuclear submarine.
- In one Looney Tunes cartoon, Elmer Fudd is afraid he has Rabbititis, and rushes to see a doctor (who's Bugs Bunny in disguise). Bugs tests Elmer Fudd's reflexes by alternately hitting each knee with a rubber mallet, and alternates between each knee faster and faster until Elmer is doing this dance.
- Done in The Critic by Franklin during a square dance with either Ross Perot or his running mate.
- This one of the Goofalototots' main shticks, the one that is based off Wakko from Animaniacs, in an episode of The Mask.
- In an episode of Pinky and the Brain, both mice are subjected to Pavlovian conditioning, and every time a bell rings, Pinky does That Russian Squat Dance while Brain sings "I'm A Little Teapot" complete with actions.
- In the Dilbert episode "The Dupey" after Dilbert's Dupey goes through it's metamorphosis and becomes an ugly creature, Ratbert then does this dance after declaring himself the cutest thing in the house again.
- In Oggy and the Cockroaches, this is the cockroaches' victory dance.