All week we're looking at dance crazes - from The Twist to the Cupid Shuffle. Plus, we dig into the roots of fad dances, and we head (bravely!) into the mosh pit.
We kick off our series on dance crazes with a half-century look back at the Twist – a simple dance floor move that came to represent so much more. Dance historian and Florida State University dance professor Sally Sommer joins us to examine the many cultural implications of the hip-shaking phenomenon.
Longtime TV host Dick Clark’s death last month reminded many of the Twist - perhaps the most notable of the many dance crazes (from The Stroll to The Watusi) that were sparked by American Bandstand’s shimmying teenagers. But Bandstand was just one of many dance floor-driven shows on the air in the latter-20th century – and in fact, there are still a few around today. We examine television’s important role in dance fads with Jake Austen, author of “TV-a-Go-Go” and founder (and co-host) of Chicago’s public access all-ages dance show, “Chic-a-Go-Go.”
The word's roots go back to the early 20th century slang for alcoholics who suffered from tremors - but the "jitterbug" truly caught hold when bandleader Cab Calloway starred in the short film "Cab Calloway's Jitterbug Party" in 1935. Since then, the term has been associated with dances like Lindy Hop and swing - and even developed into its own dance craze. Today, we look back at the acrobatic moves of the 1930s and ‘40s with Chris Calloway Brooks - grandson of Cab Calloway and leader of the modern-day Cab Calloway Orchestra.
From the Charleston to the Dougie, popular dances in the U.S. are often rooted in African American social dances – some that stretch all the way back to times of slavery. Professional dancer, writer and historian Thomas DeFrantz joins us to talk about the echoes of black history evident in 20th century dance crazes.
In the early ‘80s, audiences at hardcore punk shows began pushing, shoving and slamming into each other – in the friendliest way, of course. Musician, critic and author Michael Azerrad joins us to talk about the evolution of moshing - plus we hear from Jack Rabid, editor of the music magazine The Big Takeover.
It was the one-hit wonder that took the world’s bar mitzvahs, high school dances and wedding receptions by storm – Los del Rio’s “Macarena.” We look back at the song’s wild popularity in the nineties with Melinda Russell, professor of music at Carleton College.
Wrapping up our week-long series on dance, we look today at some of the most recent dance crazes to arrive via hip-hop, from the Dougie to the Cat Daddy. To help school us in the latest moves, we’re joined by New York-based dancer and choreographer Joey Dowling, as well as California-based hip hop dancer Brice Johnson, who teaches the masses about the latest street dance crazes via YouTube under the alias "Professor Lock." Plus, we’ll take your calls about the various dance crazes you’ve lived through over the years.