Friday, February 11, 2011

Dance In Your Pants

I don't know much about the currently popular hit music, but from scanning the titles of the songs that ride atop the charts, I see an awful lot of Sturm Und Drang in just the titles of the songs.  Any time that a society's favorite songs include something called " 'F' You" by the cheery Cee-Lo Green, and "What The Hell," by Canadian teen-forever Avril Lavigne is a good time to say, hey, come on, get happy!

So I got to thinking, where are the dance hits? There hasn't been a dance hit on the charts since the days of "The Lambada" and "Tango # Five" over a decade ago. Not that I could ever dance, nor was there any great demand among the young women of our town for me to demonstrate my terpsichorean skills, but I know that songs like "Land of a Thousand Dances," made popular by both Cannibal And The Headhunters  and by Wilson Pickett - a song in which no fewer that sixteen different dance steps are mentioned - could get couples back on the floor, shaking their groove things, as it were.

The dances mentioned?  The Pony ("like Boney Maronie!"), the Watusi, the Slop, the Chicken,  the Alligator, the Twist, the Fly, the Jerk, the Tango, the Yo-Yo, the Mashed Potato, the Hand Jive, the Bop, the Fish, the Popeye and the Sweet Pea.  You had to know all those steps just to be allowed in the gym for a Friday Night Teen Center.  There were adults at the door, selling cokes and donuts and monitoring the dancing.  Not for nothing did they have that scene in "Grease" about how any couple doing vulgar or suggestive dance moves would get the boot.  In some places, adults walked around with a sawed-off ruler to make sure that a 7" gap was in place between each guy and each girl, lest accidental arousal occur.  Later on, when it was discovered that the average teenage male could achieve ten-hut status over the cartoon image of Wilma Flintstone, the rulers were discarded in favor of baking salt peter into the doughnuts.

"Dirty Dancing"
The Fish was a dance move of unbridled libido, banned in most schools and malt shoppes, as the main step involved simulated upright coitus.  For some reason, in our part of Baltimore it was known as the "Bodie Green."   That was the dance that made Eve Arden blanch in "Grease."  This was the original "forbidden dance of love," long before the Lambada came along.

Teen Centers have gone the way of all things from the 60's, leaving today's hormonally-charged youth to cluster in eddying knots of testosterone or estrogen in the malls of our nation.  I say, let's get the kids together, teach 'em to Hand Jive, and things will be better soon.  As Avril would say, what the hell?

1 comment:

Our Genealoly said...

As for the Alligator, see: