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  • Andy Przybyla

Party Dances (Busting a Move)

There are probably more songs out there with dances than you are aware of, from quite simple dances all the way to full complex routines. I'm willing to bet at some point in your life you've been on the dance floor caught up in the euphoria and done one or two of them. These songs aren't even a new or old thing, there seems to have been a steady stream over the years of songs that have a dance.

The Disco Era saw a load of dances added to songs of the era, including the bump, the hustle, and the boogaloo:


YMCA - Village People

Probably the greatest hit from the village people, it wasn't actually the band who came up with the dance for this it was the crowds frequenting the disco hall. It's a very popular song at sporting events and was played as the wake up call on the Space Shuttle STS-106.


Oops Up's Side Your Head - Gap Band

Originally titled I don't believe you want to get and dance it was released on the album Gap Band II. Again the dance to this song came later and is credited to a DJ Nigel Tolley in the UK in 1980. The dance mimics the rowing of a boat and grew very popular in disco and later for weddings.


Saturday Night Fever - Bee Gees

John Travolta performed the dance in the movie of the same title. The title song is a massive disco hit and the signature dance was copied in discotheques in many countries. The dance is often also performed to Night Fever another track from the album.


Apache - Sugar Hill Gang

In 1981 the Sugar Hill Gang created a cover of the Incredible Bongo Band's hit Apache adding words to the instrumental. The dance however came a long time later when Will Smith performed a dance to it during an episode of the Fresh Prince alongside Alfonso Ribeirio.


Saturday Night - Whigfield

This eurodance track was released and before you knew it was massive in nightclubs and discos everywhere. The dance is believed to have been inspired by a version of the Macarena used as an aerobic routine but did feature on top of the pops.


The next batch of songs with dances are probably the holiday songs that creep out of the mini disco and back home with you:


Macarena - Los Del Rio

We have the Spanish to thank for this one, it was a one hit wonder from the band and the video featured the dance which became huge at parties. It's actually a flamenco song which was remixed with English lyrics later due to its popularity.


Cha Cha Slide - Mr C (Casper the Slide Man)

Its most specifically the Casper Slide Part II with the Platinum Band that gets played at there are quite a few versions of this electric slide track. The song came from the Chicago stepping movement for step aerobics classes but it wasn't long before it was in the discos all over. The dance moves are described during the song making it popular with many audiences.


Ketchup Song - Las Ketchup The Spanish were at it again with this track originally known as Asereje but that wasn't really going to cut it in the UK chart. The signature dance is done during the chorus on the songs video and made it into the mini discos pretty fast.


Chocolate - Soul Control

A pretty recent addition to the holiday mini discos and the band Soul Control are actually a punk band who have been around for about 18 years. Choco Choco Chocolate is by far the most well known track and the dance is the product of many spanish animation teams.


Pizza Hut - Fast Food Rockers

The song is a parody of the Dutch folk song A Ram Sam Sam. The song was aimed at kids and the video featured the dance moves as well as catchy lyrics and named a few places you can eat fast food.


Songs from TV and the Movies often feature dances:


Grease Megamix - John Travolta & Olivia Newton

The whole film is packed with dance moves and the megamix is a great way to get them all onto the dance floor in one easy sitting. A lot of films are have dances and musical content however this was was quite easy to do on the dance floor.


Thriller - Michael Jackson

The dance is featured in the 14 minute video in which Michael Jackson plays the parts of both a zombie and a werewolf. It's a complex dance that had featured in several movies and tv shows. There is also a more recent version where the song is mixed with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs Heads Will Roll which was performed in Glee. Strangely the famous Moonwalk isn't part of the dance.


Time Warp - Damian (Rocky Horror Picture Show)

The Time Warp is taken from the stage and film production the Rocky Horror Picture Show and is probably one of the most well known dances due to its age and exposure. Damian did a cover of the song in 1987 which was mastered much better and became the go to version in discos.


Men In Black - Will Smith

Will Smith is well known for his dance moves and in the 1997 song (from the film of the same name) he introduced a bit of a dance routine via the video. The song itself is pretty much a sample from Forget Me Nots a practice Will Smith did with most of his songs.


Candy - Cameo

Well this one is strange. There was a very basic dance in the video but the Movie the Best Man in 1999 added the Electric Slide dance to it. There have been a few songs adopt the electric slide, and it featured at the end of the Javone Prince Show.


Line Dance Inspired Dances are very American and we kind of have Billy Ray Cyrus to thank for its popularity:


5678 - Steps

This techno-pop song featured a dance choreographed by Lisa Scott Lee which was very heavily influenced by American Line Dancing. Like YMCA its seen as a bit of a gay anthem and the dance was taken into the disco by the more astute dancers.


Cotton Eye Joe - Rednex

This song along with a similar song Everybody's Gonfi Gon featured a very American Redneck dance in which people linked arms and span around. It's an easy dance to remember when alcohol fuelled however I've seen a few people come a cropper during it.


Achy Breaky Heart

Yes it's a bit of a cheat this one as the song doesn't really have a dance, but it is a classic used by line dancers either doing routines such as the Tush Push, Electric Slide or San Francisco Stomp.


Others with a more short term appeal:


Lambada - Kaoma

Lambada the dance style actually came before the song. A prelude to dirty dancing its a partner dance designed to expose underwear. It was 1989 when french group Kaoma brought the dance to the charts.


Gangnam Style - Psy

Psy went viral almost overnight with his invisible horse dance which was part of the video. Nobody has any idea about the words to the song bar the chorus. The dance is pretty complex as dances go but loads of fun.


Watch Me (Whip /Nae Nae) - Silento

The song was the debut from the band and the video featured two popular local dance moves, the whip and the Nae Nae hence the title. It's a catchy little hip-hop track but one i'm sure will be out of mind after a year or two.


Crank That - Soulja Boy

The dance features people bouncing back on their heels while revving there hands like on a motorbike followed by a superman pose. Many other similar dances like the stanky legg are popular in this genre called Snap.


Utah Saints - Something Good '08

This remixed version was not actually done by the Utah Saints, it was Australian electro band Van She. The music video for the new version was much better than the original and featured the Running man dance made famous by MC Hammer amongst others. The running man is an advanced version of the Melbourne Shuffle and for a while it was popular on dancefloors.


So there you have it - better get your dancing shoes on as the next disco you go to could have any number of these songs and even more that we haven't covered. Party dances are a great way to have fun.


Andy P