Thursday, March 10, 2011

Dance Moves: The Stroll, The Twist, The Limbo Rock, and The Cool Jerk

dancing the stroll

The Diamonds: The Stroll (1958)


Chubby Checker: The Twist (1960)


Chubby Checker: The Limbo Rock (1962)


The Capitals: Cool Jerk (1966)


I know a few weeks ago, I opined that SMM wasn't meant to be the definitive resource for the weekly theme. But somehow, I just think that one of us has to chat about the raft of dances and their respective songs that blossomed in the late 50's and early 60's. Not that this list is at all definitive – it's just a few of the songs I really remember from those days.

One of the precursors to the boom in dance songs is the first song, a 1958 gem. I can't say I remember it exactly, but notice that photo up there? Well, that's yours truly in the frilly slip, along with my older sister and mother, doing my best at learning the Stroll, dancing along to American Bandstand on the TV.

The next song is much more vivid in my mind. I'm not sure if this was a universality, but in our suburban mecca, people actually did the Twist at weekend parties. I remember all the parents in the neighborhood twisting in our basement. And they did the Limbo, too---well, that was only possible, as far as I could tell, after a few of those funny-smelling highballs. Although we limbo'd a lot in school. It was the Macarena of the early 60s – everyone knew how it was supposed to be done, although the actual execution was wobbly.

Finally comes my personal favorite, the Cool Jerk. My sister bought me the 45 for my birthday (mostly because she knew she could "borrow" it whenever she liked.) I still own this 45, too. The top-notch Motown backing group, the Funk Brothers, provide the backing.

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