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March 15, 2018

Dance Demonstration of Chubby Checker's “The Twist” (1961)

More than fifty years ago, a new dance craze swept the world and changed for ever the way people move.

It's 1961, and a new era is dawning. On the dancefloor, the Twist – which had enjoyed a brief vogue among America's teens the previous summer – is enjoying a second coming that will sweep the world and change the way people move. No more waltz, quickstep or foxtrot. No more rumba or beguine, cha-cha or tango. No more jitterbug or jive. The Twist is a dance for different times.

The absence of body contact is significant. Rather than going through a set of predetermined steps, you are free to use dancing as a means of self-expression, of doing your own thing, though that phrase will not come into use until the 60s have become fully swinging. It is a narcissistic dance, but it also gives you the chance to watch your partner's moves, and read their intentions. And since you are not physically attached to your partner, there is nothing to stop you drifting away to dance with someone else who has caught your eye (of course, you can also have that humiliation visited upon you, and find yourself dancing alone). Finally, there is no leader: here is the first dance in which the genders are created equal.


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