Dancing is the loftiest, the most moving, the most beautiful of the arts, because it is no mere translation or abstraction from life; it is life itself. ~ Havelock Ellis .... Whether it is salsa, tango, ballroom, thriller, folk or twist...
Twist Dance History: Origin and Evolution
The history of twist dance is quite interesting. This dance form was originally inspired from the African-American folk dance style in the year 1890. During that period, it was popular as "wringin' and twistin". The twist or the pelvic movements were highly liked by the West Africans.
This dance gained proper recognition only during the nineteenth century, being inspired by the rock and roll music. Most famous among the youngsters, the song The Twist became a hit in the year 1960 where subtle movements with twists made up the entire song. The song is actually one of the 12 bar blues composed by Hank Ballards, that was released originally as Teardrops on Your Letter.
The Twist was covered single and with a different tune by Chubby Checker that gave a new craze to twist dance form. It gained a number one position in the year 1960 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The story got a new turn when Dick Clark, a musical powerhouse hosting the show the American Bandstand, hired Chubby Checker to remake the tune of The Twist. The remake was requested by contacting the Philadelphia label Cameo/Parkway. His attempt was to make a newer version of the video made originally by Ballard.
Kids gyrated the original version in a very novel way that was considered as raunchy for teenagers. The newer version had similar tune and the song name was changed to The Class, once again a hit. Bo Diddley further propagated this dance form with tracks like Mama Don't Allow No Twistin, The Twister and Bo's Twist.
Finally, it was a hit in Latin America in the year 1962. The famous rock and roll band Bill Haley & His Comets gave birth to newer genres like, the Florida and the Spanish Twist. That was a brief history about evolution of twist dance.
Twist Dance Music
As the popularity of Twist dance increased, its craze was felt among all age groups although teenagers were on the brighter side. It's due to the simplicity of the dance form that it became so popular. The twist culture gained a unique momentum with The Beatles performing on the songs Hippy Hippy Shake, Twist and Shout and Swinging Blue Jeans. Some of the renowned music for twist dance are enlisted below:
- All my baby wants to do is twist ~ Billy Martin & His Orchestra
- Twist caldonia ~ Gene Simmons
- All-of-a-twist rag ~ Frank E. Hersom
- Bald headed twister ~ Oneda Harding
- Babylon twist party ~ Tom Kerry
- Banjo rock and roll ~ Boydd Bennett
- Boston twist and freeze ~ Orlie & The Saints
- Buffalo twist ~ Bob Wills
- Somebody stole my dog ~ Rufus Thomas
- Baby, do the philly dog ~ The Olympics
- Twistin' the night away ~ Sam Cooke
- The hoochi coochi coo ~ Hank Ballard and the Midnighters
- Let's twist again ~ Chubby Checker
- Do the) ush and pull, art 1 ~ Rufus Thomas
Twist Dance Steps
Twist your body completely. Your legs, hips and waist, all must move in an angle. Play the music and start the steps. Check out the steps.
- Take a position with a maximum width of two feet apart.
- For a better leverage, take your left (or right) foot in the front .
- Keep your arms by your side with elbows bent.
- Your arms will also twist along with your body.
- Start twisting your waist from both the sides.
- Move your torso by leaning back and forth.
- While moving your knees, try to squat while twisting.
- Check the moves from popular videos to try out the different forms.
Watch the renowned videos and practice the dance form to gain perfection.