Every Step, to Every Line

By: Sabina Wex

I remember dancing the Crank Dat dance at every single bar mitzvah in grade 7. Everyone was so obsessed with it. People would do that dance anywhere and everywhere. I even remember getting in trouble for doing that dance in the hall. There were different renditions of the dance because there were so many different ways of interpreting it.

But what makes songs with dance moves so incredibly popular? Is it the catchy beat? Or the level of comfort you feel because you know exactly what to do? Maybe it’s the feeling of unity?

Whatever the reason is, songs with dance moves have been around forever. Think about it: from the time you were in kindergarten, there were tons of song-dance combos. Does the Hokie-Pokie ring any bells? I bet 99% of the students at NT can still do that one. I’m a Little Teapot had some crazy steps, too. We probably enjoyed these dance moves so much that  our preschool selves immediately showed them to our parents when we got home. .

As we got older, we moved on from these primary dance moves. People took moves from music videos and many kids, especially girls, took up dance lessons. Whether it was jazz, hip hop or ballet, if you were a girl, you most likely attended a dance lesson or two. The school yard was packed with girls teaching each other routines that they had learned. But these dance lessons didn’t totally fad out. The kids who really enjoyed dancing continued on with their lessons—sometimes even going into competitive or professional dance. Even at NT, not just dancers, but models too, have to learn certain dance moves for certain songs.

But you have to realize that songs accompanied by dances have been around way longer than any NT student. During the Renaissance, there were many instrumental pieces that were accompanied by dance moves based on the beat of the music, such as waltzes, sambas, and etc. However, the rise of modern song-dances didn’t begin until the 1950s. The Locomotion, which was a song that was sung by Little Eva in the 50s, was also a dance move. It was basically a pelvic thrust, which was popular until the 80s. Another very trendy move that has lived on is the Twist. It was accompanied by any song that had the word “twist” in the title—and due to the popularity of the dance moves, there were many songs of this kind. The dance move consisted of twisting your body and moving up and down. The 50s dances went on well into the 60s.

There was a dramatic change in popular dance moves, beginning in the 1970s and 80s. This was when amazing dancers like Madonna and Michael Jackson came into play. And with the beginning of music videos, people began to imitate what singers were doing in the videos. If you looked at any video from this time period, you would see structured routines with lots of turns and twists. In 13 Going on 30, Jenna, who is played by Jennifer Garner, knows every single step to Thriller by Michael Jackson, as do most of the people who attended the same party.

The 80s dances were similar to those of the90s, which went well into the 2000s. The only difference in 21st century dances is that there’s more hip hop dancing, whereas in the other eras there was more pop music dancing. The Cha Cha Slide, the Two Step and the Jerk are a bit more RNB than they are pop.

Songs with dances are a crazy fad, but they are clearly never going away. Yes, they do get annoying after you do them 7000 times, but they definitely will never be forgotten. So who’s up for a douggie contest?