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The Twist: A True Dance Revolution

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Monday, April 30, 2012

The move itself was as simple as drying off with a towel – but the cultural shift that the Twist represented set off shockwaves around the world. Today, we kick off a week-long series on dance crazes as dance historian Sally Sommer joins us for a look back at the hip shaking revolution. Plus: we learn about the role television played in dance-fad history with author and TV producer Jake Austen. And: a live performance from vocalist Kat Edmonson.

Dance Craze: Everybody Do The Twist Now

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.

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Dance Craze: Dancing on Air

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.”


Kat Edmonson: In Studio

Kat Edmonson just wasn’t made for these times…or so she sings on her just-released album, "Way Down Low." The Texas-born vocalist returns to our studio with a delicate new collection of songs infusing blues, bebop and the Beach Boys. She performs live.

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Gig Alert: Zammuto

Experimental electronic-rock outfit Zammuto performs with Lymbyc Systym at Glasslands Gallery on Monday night. Download the quartet's song "Shape of Things to Come."