Robert Webb hosts a countdown of the hippest, sexiest and quirkiest dance crazes of the last 40 years. What turns a simple bit of choreography into a worldwide phenomenon?
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Dancing is super fun. It's a form of expression and it's cool.
Oh, I know this song. Let's do the routine to it. It brings everyone together. It's great.
Having a dance craze gives us a chance to do something all together
and all feel like we are one animal.
There's been so many great dance crazes
and I've partaken in most of them.
It's fun, it's something that everyone can do.
Oh, it's camp as Christmas.
Dance is a way to free the soul and ease the mind.
The moment any of these songs start, you're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't.
Better to slap on a smile and get stuck in, I reckon.
Hello, I'm TV's Robert Webb
and welcome to the finale of Pop's Greatest Dance Crazes.
Tonight we find out, what are the craziest of all dance crazes?
But who decides which dance crazes are best?
Some know-it-all panel of so-called experts? Yes, actually.
And together, these dance specialists have picked out
the hippest, the sexiest, the quirkiest and, let's be honest,
the gayest dance crazes from the last 40 years.
So finish your drink, kick off your shoes and join me for a
journey towards the craziest of all pop's great dance crazes. Hit it.
# Yes! So crazy right now
# Most incredibly Crazy right now... #
Crazy In Love was definitely a breakthrough video for Beyonce.
It was her first video coming into her solo career, outside of Destiny's Child.
# Ready? #
I remember watching the video and literally looking at the TV screen like this...
She's walking, the hair's blowing and it's like, wow.
Like, you walk down the street like that?
# I look and stare so deep in your eyes
# I touch on you more and more every time... #
Beyonce is queen.
She walks down and struts. Oh, she's dropped on the floor!
Why's she dropped on the floor? No, she hasn't.
She's really popping and dancing around.
Everything Beyonce does, I love.
She just looks so hot in the red high heels, the denim shorts, and they were short.
You know, hello!
# Got me lookin' so crazy right now Your touch got me... #
She's just this woman who just wanted to dance and it was just like, wow.
Wow, wow, wow.
# Uh-oh, uh-oh, uh-oh Oh, no, no... #
Crazy In Love, you cannot forget the, "Uh-oh".
And the moment the... # Uh-oh, uh-oh.... #
It's just hot!
The key move is the booty shake
and it does help if you've got some junk in your trunk as well.
Can I show you my booty shake?
I've been practising and this is my Beyonce.
It turns out I have to start quite slow, like that.
And then you have to really get going like that.
# So crazy right now... #
# Uh-oh, uh-oh, uh-oh Oh, no, no... #
Beyonce's all about the bum.
I can't keep it going, I can't sustain.
I'm quite knackered after that. How does she do it?
All of that, without a bra on?
# Young hov, y'all know when the flow is loco... #
Everyone was doing the Beyonce, even boys were doing it and someone comes
who wouldn't know the words, but he'd know how to do that, Uh-oh...
3-year-olds were doing it. 52-year-olds doing it.
-103-year-olds doing it.
-# Got me looking
# So crazy, my baby... #
Where she kicked the fire extinguisher
and she just starts to go all in the water and her hair's all wet.
It's like, whoo! She means business.
# Your love's got the best of me
# And baby you're makin' a fool of me... #
Crazy In Love, for me, it's just hot.
It's the cheekiness of the walk and the nipple lick
where she's kind of nipple licking
and it's so cheeky and I absolutely love it.
Lick your thumb and rub yourself and you've got yourself a Beyonce move.
For some reason it's less sexy when a man is doing it
and just slightly moistening a tiny bit of chest hair
that they've got. When Beyonce does it down her cleavage, it's somehow sexy.
She's also got a tiny bit of chest hair.
I knew that one where she was like that, that way, head, that way, that way, up, down, spin around.
I think people just love the fact that she's all woman.
You know, she had something to shake and she shook it.
I fully approved.
So, ooh, here we are, perched on the brink of the top 10
and what can I say about the dance craze that's at Number 11?
Well, that's easy, really. I just say what's written on the autocue.
Ever since I learned how to read last year, it's not really been a problem.
Anyway, it says here that our Number 11 is none other than Can't Touch This, by MC Hammer.
Here he is.
# Can't touch this
# Can't touch this
# Can't touch this... #
It came to me, I was doing it and I just say, you can't touch this.
When it's time to do it, it's Hammertime.
# My music hits me, so hard
# Makes me say, oh, my Lord
# Thank you, for blessing me... #
When you think of MC Hammer, you think of dancing, having a good time, partying on the dance floor.
I don't know anybody who doesn't know the MC Hammer dance.
There's something about the way that geezer moves his feet.
I've just never seen anybody do that side-to-side, jerky crab movement
quite like the Hammer.
# You got it like that and you know you want to dance... #
Dance craze, MC Hammer.
We want to show you how we get down. 5, 6, 7...
# Why are you standing there, man? You can't touch this... #
That's what I'm talking about.
MC Hammer in the place.
Everybody would remember the running man from MC Hammer.
I used to do that move at weddings and stuff.
I'd be the first on the dance floor with my dad, we'd be in the middle, doing the running man.
The running man is like this...
You've just got to run on the spot, with a little bounce to it, you know?
# Break it down... #
You get your knees up, put your arms down and then some people take that to the side and go this way.
Or this way... And then some people do some jumping
and MC Hammer took it a bit further we had some of this.
-# So wave your hands in the air... #
Forget about the music.
It was all about the pants. I mean, the pants were amazing.
MC Hammer's pants were brilliant.
They've just been back in fashion, haven't they?
We call them pooh catchers.
# Look, man You can't touch this... #
We all like to dance and when you're dancing, the baggy pants
capture the wind, so all your movements are accentuated by having the nice loose-fitting pants.
I used to try and wear the pants.
I didn't know where to get them from, so gym pants, they're similar,
like bodybuilder pants.
I had a pair of those, really awkward colours, like purples and turquoise.
I'm just grateful nobody's got photos of that stuff.
People always say, "Hammer, I had the pants, I had the pants!"
You know, from current adults to young kids, "When I was little, I had some Hammer pants".
# You can't touch this... #
MC Hammer, with that one dance, became a phenomenon.
I mean, that bloke made an absolute fortune
for being the biggest thing in the world for all of about six months.
And that dance was pretty much why.
# You can't touch this.
We're in the top 10!
So, "What's the 10th best dance craze of all time?" I hear you ask.
What's the 10th best dance craze of all time?
The 10th best dance craze of all time is the Macarena.
This staggeringly repetitive tune by the evil geniuses of Los Del Rio
comes with a dance that's as simple as it is simple.
The Macarena. Oh, Macarena!
Those people should have been shot.
Those men singing that song, they should have been put in a small room,
and they should have been played that record
for the rest of their natural lives.
It was dreadful.
You never really know the words.
You just know the bit that goes, # Hey, macarena! All right! #
I love the Macarena.
-The Macarena is just genius.
-You all move the same, then you all turn around and do the same movements.
It's just another form of line-dancing.
Whether you loathe it or just hate it, nobody knew what it was actually about until right now.
In 1992, Spanish lounge singers Los Del Rio saw a Venezuelan dancer
who inspired them to write these poetic words.
-Give your body joy and good things.
Because your body is meant to be given joy and good things.
Their song about a flamenco-dancing floozie became a worldwide hit after a club remix was released in 1996.
Souped up with a funky new video that taught everyone that groovy little dance.
When you make up those kind of dances, you have to remember that
you are appealing to people that maybe have no notions of dance.
So it was like, let's do something easy.
If you want to learn how to do the Macarena, all you have to do is follow me.
You just go right arm out, left arm out. Then you turn your hand
towards the ceiling, right and then left.
Then you cross on your shoulder, right and then left.
Put it behind your head, right then left.
Then you cross on your hip, right, then on your left.
Then you go back on your booty on your right and then on your left.
Then you go down, and you just rock it. To the right, to the left, to the right, to the left.
And then you pop and jump to the side.
Rock, you know, like a clock that's ticking.
And don't forget your smile!
It was like, let's do something that, if you make a mistake,
it doesn't really matter because maybe you will be popping in front of someone else.
They'd say it's funny.
-We wanted to show that the song is meant for the whole world.
And that's why there's an Indian girl and one from the Netherlands, and an African girl.
It was a beautiful thing and we loved it.
Oh, I see. World peace via the Macarena.
The Macarena got massive attention.
Everybody just got the virus of the Macarena.
It was a pandemic, and all across the globe, people began dancing like simpletons.
The single spent an astonishing 14 weeks at the top of the US charts.
A crowd of 50,000 people danced the Macarena together at the New York Yankees stadium.
And if you get 50,000 Americans to do anything, it must be straightforward.
-We never thought that they would be dancing to one of our songs in India, or in Chile,
or in Italy, or in Japan.
We knew it was out of hand when even US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright
was grooving with the minister for Botswana at the United Nations.
Yes, you heard me correctly. That's the UN.
The minute the song would come on, people would actually freak.
They would be hypnotised and just drawn to start doing it.
I have done the Macarena,
but only in the comfort of my own living room.
I have danced it a few times in my life, I've got to say.
I'm quite good at it, actually.
Everybody could do it, and it was like, you needed to do it.
And if you didn't participate, you look bad.
This dance is cool!
Everyone does it.
Even the boyfriends at a party or at a wedding that don't want to dance,
they go, "All right, we'll do this one.
"We know this one, boys, come on, let's do this one."
It's a song that's inviting everyone to have a laugh, have a dance.
We're not being serious, everyone's smiling and having a good time.
The dance is like a legend.
It's a creature, and it goes on.
It's a monster, and it goes on, you know, with or without me.
# Hey, Macarena! #
At number nine, it's his Royal Highness, Michael Jackson, the King of Pop.
That's pop as in pop music, not pop as in fizzy drinks.
Although, I'm told he did enjoy the feeling of Bubbles.
In the '80s, he bestrode the music scene like a slightly weedy-looking Goliath.
And up there with his very best is this song about a person by the name of Billie Jean.
Michael Jackson has to be one of the most influential dancers in history.
# She was more like a beauty queen from a movie scene... #
When it comes to dancing, Michael is funky and he dances inside the music.
He wasn't a trained dancer.
You know, it's not like he went to ballet classes or jazz.
He did all this... He had his own unique style.
# I'm bad, I'm bad, chamone... #
Michael Jackson was a self-taught dancer to start with.
He learned from absolutely everyone.
# Tell you once again, who's bad? #
His stuff was very like a super hero.
If a super hero was going to dance, he'd dance like Michael Jackson.
Anything where it's like, bah-bah! A little, jigga-jigga-dah! Like that.
And the spin, then grabbing his scrotum.
He danced with a passion. And that's what made him unique and stand out.
# Annie, are you OK? Will you tell us that you're OK? #
And just hold that for, like, a minute.
Only Michael Jackson could get away with stuff like that. But he invented it.
Michael Jackson, and one of the moves he patented that he does
in his Smooth Criminal video, it's no problem for you, for me.
Here he comes into the lean, grabbing it, there he goes. You can!
Hold, you can... Hee-hee!
Chamone. That's what I'm talking about.
Michael also took a lot of influences from magicians.
So he would take a move, say something like the lean,
and you would have somebody maybe doing the cuffs.
So the attention would be brought to the cuffs, where what was going on
was the guys would hit their feet on the floor.
The spikes would come out, and they would lean forward. And that is the trick.
You know the move where you go on the level like that,
your feet are like that?
Tried it, tried it, boosh! Over.
Bleeding, crying, teeth out.
You've got to be a total showman.
And Michael Jackson was an absolute showman.
And never more so than at the 25 Years Of Motown concert when he first performed his signature move,
the moonwalk, in a routine that shook the world.
I remember feeling like I was right there,
feeling like I was in the audience, watching it on TV.
Because everybody went completely mad.
I was so excited and right away tried to do it on the carpet.
But Michael Jackson did not actually invent the moonwalk.
Body popper Jeffrey Daniel from Shalamar had performed his version of Top Of the Pops in 1982.
And it was Jeffrey who taught Michael how to do the iconic step.
We started showing Michael the backslide in 1980.
It wasn't called the moonwalk yet.
It wasn't just a backside, it's a series of dances.
You're working on popping, working on dances that are in the clubs.
Michael Jackson would take something, repolish it and do it even better.
Look at the moonwalk which originally was a backslide that Jeffrey Daniel did.
And then Michael Jackson took it, and gave it that kind of magic, made it his own,
brought it to the world, and hey presto, it's a Michael Jackson move.
I spent a long time trying to do the moonwalk.
And I think I might have just done it once.
It's weird. You suddenly think, I'm doing it!
It's like riding a bike for the first time.
The moment you realise you're doing it, you've stopped.
I was lucky enough to meet Michael Jackson, I had dinner with him.
He took me through the theory of the moonwalk,
and it's actually opposite to what people think in their heads.
If you want me to show you. You start with your forefoot on the floor.
And then you keep it on the floor as long as you possibly can,
and drag it all the way back until you have to start lifting your heel.
You transfer your weight and repeat with the other foot.
So it's actually heel-toe,
and not toe-heel as a lot of people think.
Anyone can do it. Simply purchase your very own rhinestone glove -
maybe go halves on a pair with your friend.
Resign from your job, practise just 10 hours a day for 200 days,
and you too can impress your mates with a moonwalk like mine.
There is not a single person that can do the moonwalk
and not think of Michael Jackson or have somebody say, "Michael Jackson, yeah!"
He's... One and the same, synonymous with him. The moonwalk.
Michael Jackson, the legend lives on.
Bill Medley might sound like the best bits from an ITV police drama but it's also the name of a man.
And together with Jennifer Warnes, that man gave the world the song you're about to hear.
Brackets - I've had - close brackets - The Time Of My Life.
OK, guys. Let's do the lift! We're doing the lift!
Yeah? Just like the film!
It's a bit like the film, yeah?!
# With my body and soul
# I want you more than you'll ever know. #
The plot of Dirty Dancing is really about
the sexual awakening of a teenage girl.
And also Patrick Swayze with his top off, yes!
I think every woman's dream is to be taught how to dance
by someone like Patrick Swayze.
Patrick Swayze was the alpha male of dance for a long time.
He is the most sexiest dancer I think I've ever seen.
Apart from when I've caught myself in the mirror.
In the final, climactic scene of the film,
Baby and Johnny perform a dance routine that reveals their secret love.
When she's dancing her last dance with Johnny,
just the lifting the arm up and the tickle down there,
that is just brilliant.
# I've had the time of my life
# No, I've never felt this way before
# Yes, I swear... #
The final dance, that's what the movie has been about.
It's all about, is she going to do this lift?
That lift is hard to do.
It involves strength, a lot of balance and a lot of technique.
And, done badly, could be quite catastrophic.
It takes a bit of practice. You need a strong man.
And I guess, it is all about the timing.
That's a lift you attempt when you're drunk - probably the worst time to try it.
If that Dirty Dancing song comes on and I have had enough to drink,
I...usually try to jump.
And hope someone catches you!
So iconic as the lift become, that the routine is now a popular
first dance for Swayze-loving brides around the world.
Ready, steady...catch the bride!
I've seen a few of the wedding routines on the internet.
I think it's hilarious the way it's turned into a craze
and they've really reinvented the first dance.
It's gone from being something where people are a bit embarrassed and maybe they just have a little smooch
on the dance floor to actually, this is our wedding,
this is our first dance, and it's something for everyone to remember.
And this couple, Julia and James, danced their way to
becoming an internet phenomenon with 8 million people watching their first dance on YouTube.
It wasn't his idea! It was my idea.
Let's be honest, every woman has the fantasy of doing that.
-It was my day, and...
Sorry, OUR day! It was OUR day.
The first thing that popped into my head when Julia said,
"Let's do that dance from Dirty Dancing as our first dance," was the lift.
We didn't go to a lake to practise, we went to my friend's back garden.
So if we fell, we actually fell into his flowerbeds.
There were 120 people there.
And if I really screwed up badly, what they would remember was me dropping my bride on her face.
We've had millions of people contacting us telling us that that dance made them cry.
It just made them feel all warm and fantastic.
-It's so beautiful!
At number seven, it's the Time Warp from the Rocky Horror Picture Show.
A musical all about... Actually, it doesn't matter.
But why is the Time Warp so popular?
Perhaps because the song contains instructions in the lyrics
that explain how to do the dance as you go along.
It's basically the hokey-cokey for transvestites.
Time is fleeting.
What is the Time Warp about? It's not about anything. Should it be about anything?
Most dances are just about getting people to move on the dance floor,
encourage them to actually make fools of themselves,
most of the time.
# Let's do the time warp again... #
This isn't a dance for intellectuals.
This is a dance for people...
You can have an IQ in single figures.
# It's just a jump to the left And then a step to the right... #
It's just a jump to the left.
You see? Easy. And then a step to the right, two, three, four, one.
With your hands on your hips.
We all know where they are, don't we? There they are, yes, that's it.
You bring your knees in tight.
Got it? # Then it's the pelvic thrust... #
That's the sexy bit.
# Really drives you insa-a-a-ane
# Let's do the time warp again
# Let's do the time warp again. #
It's so simple.
-It's just to jump to the left.
-The Time Warp is the signature song from the Rocky Horror Show,
the transgender-bending musical that brilliantly parodies science fiction and B-movie horror films.
You've seen all kinds of movies, but you've never seen anything like the Rocky Horror Picture Show.
# Let's do the Time Warp again... #
Bafflingly, the film is said to be
the longest-running cinema release in history, and is still being shown in some cinemas 35 years later.
-They're probably foreigners with ways different than our own.
-It's fabulously freaky.
It's a perfect opportunity for men to don a basque,
seemingly for the sake of
Rocky Horror, but actually just to satisfy a strange fetish they have.
I think the British men have got an awful lot, deep down inside of them, that's dying to get out
and any excuse that makes it look OK, Rocky Horror Show is there to supply that OKness.
# Transvestite! #
The Rocky Horror Show comes to town and you'll see your neighbour,
Gerald and Sandra, dressed up in their S&M outfits.
You're like, "Where are you off?" "Off to see the Rocky Horror Show."
You're like, "Oh, this is awkward."
Sandra's got Gerald on a lead.
They never went that far in the Rocky Horror, but...
Got him on a lead!
# Let's do the Time Warp again... #
The Time Warp encapsulates the freak show party atmosphere of Rocky Horror, and the dance that
actually started out as a parody of Simon Says routines has become the very thing it was poking fun at.
-It's just a jump to the left.
-We've got a song where the instructions come in the lyrics.
It was getting them up there to join in and do something collectively.
It did, strangely, become accepted as a dance, and a big hit.
Let's do the Time Warp again.
I'm a massive Rocky Horror fan and I don't like the Time Warp, it cheapens it.
The Time Warp is now owned by drunkards just thrusting
at you in night clubs, whereas the theatre and the film experience is actually way more than that.
It's a little bit annoying, actually.
# Let's do the Time Warp again. #
Do-do-do-do. Wasn't that easy?
Piece of cake. I'm not going to do it again. No, I'm not, I'm sorry.
At number six, it's everyone's favourite
Danish pop singer, Whigfield, with her 1994 song, Saturday Night.
In her video, she doesn't seem to do the dance.
I was once in a room with about 300 people all doing the dance.
It was my first intimation of what it might like to be to attend a fascist rally,
and I've been attending fascists rallies ever since. Here she comes.
Do be do be do noo. Whatever she said.
Dee de da la da da.
Noo me noo me na na.
Dee dee na na na. Dee dee na na na.
-never had rollers in on a Saturday night.
Heated rollers went out in the '70s.
# Saturday night, I feel the air is getting hot... #
Saturday Night topped the charts for four weeks in 1994, and got a whole generation up and dancing.
For me, it was the first dance craze that was of my generation, being in a pub, it coming on
and it feeling important that you did know the moves, that you weren't being left out.
# Da ba da dan dee dee dee da nee na na na
# Be my baby... #
It's just easy and it's fun, and it's drunk proof, isn't it?
# Pretty baby... #
The moves didn't originate in a dance studio, but on a Spanish beach.
The aerobics instructor responsible has never stepped up to take credit,
or maybe the blame, whichever way you look at it!
Every time he'd do his classes on the beach, he'd play this track
and do this dance to this song,
and people went to clubs at night and heard the song, and it just moved around.
# Saturday night, I feel the air is getting hot
# Like you, baby... #
The record labels around, they didn't believe in the song, they didn't like it very much.
It was actually a song that was built up by the audience.
By the public.
# Viva Espana. #
People just went on holiday in Spain and in Portugal and came back and requested the song.
We go on holiday, two weeks out of the year, Costa Brava, Costa del Sol
and we crave quite a rubbish song with a bit of a silly dance routine. What's that about?
When you go there, it's contagious.
You come back and you're like, "Guys..."
I bet Whigfield loved doing that dance.
I just saw people doing these moves, but it's not like, "Oh, I want to learn it too."
Because it's not, "I'm going on stage, I've got to do the dance."
I said, "I'll never do the dance,"
-I don't want people to think it's something that we did, you know?
-Stop it, will you, hey?
-He's just a bit, how do you say it in Danish?
-Yeah, thick, that's the word.
You know, it's a rite of passage, is just one of those things when you get a bit older,
it's on the list of things that are valid to look back and hate about yourself.
17 years on, Whigfield is still making music, but a different kind of music - the kind you never hear.
I used to be quite sick of this song.
I think maybe after one, two, three years, I was fed up, I couldn't hear it.
And now, it's part of me, you know?
# Saturday night... #
It's under my skin.
Better get some ointment for that!
It's 1978 and the world has gone disco crazy.
Saturday Night Fever is in the cinemas and dance floors are
full of hairy-chested men dancing like absolute idiots.
Every man jack of them is trying to copy the sexy moves of Mr John Travolta.
We just think of him now as a crazy Scientologist who makes often bad films, but in the 1970s,
he was responsible for the dance craze that makes it to number five on our list.
It's Night Fever, take it away, John.
I think if you put Saturday Night Fever on, everyone
starts to do the John Travolta, and you can't get away from that.
# Night fever, night fever... #
When you think about Saturday Night Fever, you think of the disco and the lights
and the white suit and the moves, and people living for the weekend.
Saturday Night Fever is a gritty portrayal of alcohol abuse and rape,
but what people really remember is John Travolta doing this.
It was the first time a normal person, who did a nine-to-five job,
went to a disco on a Saturday night and became the star of that disco,
the king of that disco.
# Night fever, night fever... #
Travolta really could bust some moves,
but it took him five months' dance training to get ready for the role.
It's kind of a squiggly move, and very weird, because you can roll the arms this way and this way.
I met Travolta. Of course, John came walking in, strutting, you know.
I said, "Can I see how you dance?" He goes, "I already know how to dance."
I said, "Sit down," and I started doing the splits and all the points.
He said, "That's it, that's what I want to learn."
John particularly liked this step here, where he was stepping back.
It was a step he could work with,
and he'd do this, and turn like this, and he'd roll his hips and
point out the women.
Everybody knew that. It's like the roll...
Down, up, down, up.
Saturday Night Fever was a shock for the audience, when they saw guys giving it large. Amazing.
Saturday Night Fever captured a way of life, and Travolta encapsulated the attitude and style of the era.
People look at the wardrobe in the film
-and they laugh at the polyester look.
-He was a hunk, wasn't he?
There was a bit porno about him.
The clothes were a funny thing.
The polyester, if you dropped cigarette ash on it, forget it, you had a big hole.
# You can tell by the way I use my walk, I'm a woman's man... #
He was just so hot. It was the '70s and he came out with this little swagger.
Your hair was perfect, the shirt was open and the chains...
It was like the chest was up, and you had that walk.
"Hi, how you doing?", "Hey, girls."
# Stayin' alive, staying alive... #
John originally wanted to wear black suits.
I said, I think a white suit would be a lot better.
He said, "No, no, it has to be black because black is cool."
I said, "You know, I guess that will make Karen Lynn Gorney very happy."
His leading lady. He said, "Why is that?"
I said, "Because you won't be able to see you, all you'll see is Karen."
He kind of glowered and went out, and the next thing I knew, he came back with two white suits.
When one movie can dictate clothing trends, music trends, dance trends,
how you talk, how you wear your hair, how much jewellery you wear, that's an incredible, phenomenal thing.
# You should be dancin'... #
The Bee Gees sold more than 15 million copies of their soundtrack,
people lined up to learn the dance moves and DJs playing vinyl records replaced live bands.
Disco, as we know it, was born.
The whole nation in the '70s was doing Saturday Night Fever,
everyone wanted to be John Travolta.
A very popular one is called the roly-poly.
Get your John Travolta thumb, roll the hands and mark the rhythm at the same time.
And one, and two, one, and two.
So many guys took dance lessons and all this stuff, just to be noticed.
Dance clubs all over the world, and dance studios, were just jam-packed with people you'd never expect.
People with two left feet, two right feet.
Everyone wanted to dance. Like me at the family weddings...
Before, I was just a solo boy on the floor.
Soon as John Travolta started, that was it. Didn't have room for an elbow.
It would start with one person, then someone else would join in,
then someone else would join in, till the whole room is going mad, doing the same dance.
It was mad, I loved that time.
Never, ever, did I think it would become mainstream.
And now it's found its place in history.
You can go into clubs now and see a lot of sampling done
of disco music, and they'll play straight disco, they'll play retro.
So it's found its place in history as great dance music.
# My woman keeps me warm... #
Madonna is such an icon of pop music,
it's sometimes hard to believe that she's now 83 years of age.
In 1990, when Vogue was released, she was a mere slip of a gal
in her early 60s, long before her arthritis started giving her all that gip.
Back then, she was one heck of a dancer.
# Shiny and new
# Like a virgin
# Touched for the very first time... #
I love Madonna. Madonna was really of my time, when I was going to clubs
and dancing, so her videos are always great.
# Next to mine... #
What's very powerful about Madonna is that she's always ahead of time,
and she's actually inspired a lot of people.
Madonna is one of those people that she'll see something
on the street, and really study it, and bring it to the mainstream.
# We are living in a material world and I am a material girl... #
Madonna is someone who's shown us that she's not just a one-trick pony,
she can turn herself to many different styles.
I understand that Madonna had trained a lot as a dancer.
She kept everybody in the world on their toes.
And in 1990, the material girl with all the moves topped the UK charts
with this iconic track that introduced Voguing to a global audience.
When I first saw Madonna's Vogue, those moves were just amazing.
Everybody was doing that dance in the clubs, including moi.
Strike a pose.
You can just do your thing, you know what I'm saying, you know?
# Vogue... #
When Vogue came out, that was enormous, darling.
Everyone wanted to Vogue and it is, I have to say, one of the most technically difficult things to do.
# Come on, Vogue
# Let your body move to the music Hey, hey, hey... #
Vogue comes from the actual magazine, Vogue,
and portraying the images that you'd see in that magazine.
# Come on, Vogue... #
It's dance put into modelling shapes.
You know, it'll be that, it'll be that, it'll be that.
# All you need is your own imagination... #
It's really about the attitude.
Every movement should be photogenic.
# It makes no difference if you're black or white
# If you're a boy or a girl... #
Then you do your poses, poses.
# If the music's pumping It'll give you new life.
Have you ever tried to dance with someone who's Voguing?
It's like a barrier. "Get away from me, I'm Voguing."
It's so elitist, isn't it?
"I'm not trying to dance.
"I'm just going to do it." That's Vogue.
Vogue was Madonna's seventh UK number one and if you've
ever struck a pose a la Madge, you might be surprised to learn that
she pinched the dance from the New York gay scene that was strutting its stuff around Harlem in the '80s.
Everyone thinks Madonna invented it, and of course, she didn't.
It was happening in underground clubs all around New York.
I first saw Vogue in New York in the mid-'80s. I was amazed.
It was such a visual impact, seeing all these confident,
flamboyant children, working the disco dance floor threadbare.
Ghetto queens wanted to run competitions,
and what they would have are houses, and each week they would compete against different boroughs.
When you're competing with somebody, it's like...
"I'm so much better than you."
It's possibly one of the gayest dances ever, in the world.
Madonna's very good at picking up whatever's current or happening underground
at that moment, and making it more mainstream.
-She has the power to popularise it.
-# Let your body... #
Even though it was, at that time, considered a dance craze
for the masses, to us, it's not a dance craze, it's a way of life.
# Vogue, Vogue, Vogue, Vogue. #
I love Single Ladies.
I mean, the song, Single Ladies, not ladies who are single. I can't be doing with them.
At number three on our list, it's Beyonce, who's most certainly not a single lady.
I get that, now, Beyonce, I'm fine with it, and I'm sorry about the e-mails...
# All the single ladies All the single ladies
# All the single ladies All the single ladies
# All the single ladies All the single ladies
# All the single ladies, Now put your hands up... #
The Single Ladies message is saying to a man who isn't prepared
to ask you to marry him, that you'll just go out and find someone else.
is a little bit 19th century.
# He up on me Don't pay him any attention... #
Single Ladies is basically that girl song for the clubs,
to talk junk to the guys.
It says, "Hey, you know, too late, you know, he looking at it now,
"you can't get me."
# Don't be mad once you seen That he want it... #
The first time I watched Single Ladies, I said to myself,
"Self, you need to learn this dance, because it's going to be big."
# Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh... #
You had to know it from the beginning to the end, everything. All this bit, all this bit.
# If you liked it, then you should have put a ring on it... #
Single Ladies is such an intricate routine but it still has a sense of being approachable.
You can take it and you can make it your own.
Beyonce's Single Ladies video, I really like, because she's all woman in that video.
# If you liked it, then you should have put a ring on it... #
The iconic look of Single Ladies is definitely the ring dance,
and people played with it. # Uh oh oh uh... # ta ta, click, hey.
You're at a party and they put on Single Ladies, the first thing people start doing is the hand.
# If you liked it, then you should have put a ring on it... #
I think my favourite was... I call it the choo-choo train.
You can go around with it...
a tee tee ta.
It still had Beyonce's style and flavour and bounce and it was really quite original.
Beyonce's video may look fresh but nothing is 100% original,
and the Single Ladies dance routine is no exception.
It was influenced by the moves of legendary Broadway choreographer Bob Fosse.
Single Ladies was inspired by Bob Fosse and I don't think a lot of people know that.
Fosse himself was a master of minimal movement, and making minimal movement extraordinary.
And that's exactly what they did.
They made it small, they contained it and they made it iconic.
Going into Single Ladies, we knew Beyonce had this Bob Fosse reference
and we knew that she wanted to create something iconic and fun and just funky.
I think that's why people can relate to it so easily.
# Don't treat me to the things of the world... #
Beyonce's look was simple but striking, in her asymmetrical
leotard, metallic glove, and of course, her high heels.
# Here's a man that makes me... #
The beautiful thing about that video was actually to get girls back in heels, dancing.
Beyonce doesn't have little heels, she has HEELS.
-# All the single ladies
-All the single ladies
-# All the single ladies
-All the single ladies... #
It's not easy, dancing in heels. It's more of an art form and I think it takes a lot of practice.
# Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh... #
I've had to dance in high heels once and I don't know how women do it,
because you feel it right in your shin, you're like a flamingo.
It's horrible, it's very difficult.
I hear you, girlfriend! No pain, no gain, that's what I say.
But it's worth it if you end up looking like Ms Knowles.
Hers was a dance craze that inspired thousands of imitations,
including Katy Brand in Let's Dance For Sport Relief.
The Single Ladies dance is really difficult.
The steps don't follow a regular pattern of beats. I only refer to them as the punchy bit,
the fally down bit, the hurty bit. I don't think...
I'm not sure Beyonce referred to things like the hurty bit,
or the groin strain bit.
# ..then you should have put a ring on it... #
People do copy moves from Single Ladies, and
I've been at the concert and I watch them do the entire routine.
"Are you really going to do that full routine?
"It's a long one and it's hard."
If anyone's got about 47 consecutive hours that they can donate directly
to learning to dance, then anyone can do the Single Ladies dance.
# If you liked it, then you should have put a ring on it Uh oh oh. #
In second place, it's the Village People and Y-M-C-A.
In this good-natured and uplifting anthem, well-built and highly sexed gay men sing...
Hang on, who says they're highly sexed?
And how do we know they're gay?
They might be gay.
Which is brilliant, I wish I was gay. Sometimes...
Mainly when I watch this!
Being gay looks amazing!
# Young man... #
is about spelling the letters of the alphabet, Y, M, C and A.
# Y-M-C-A! It's fun to stay at the Y-M-C-A... #
It's Y, M, C...
It's Y, M, C, A?
The routine was created to encourage audience participation when the Village People performed
on Dick Clark's American Bandstand in January 1979.
Dick Clark surprised us by announcing
that the dancers on the show
were going to show us a new dance step.
# Y-M-C-A! #
They introduced the arm movements.
So, we liked it,
we took it.
# Y-M-C-A... #
Y, M, C, A.
Y-M-C-A was really cool.
I don't think it's cool now but it was cool at the time.
It really brought people together.
It was quite sensational, actually.
The band was the brainchild of a French disco producer
who brought to public attention some of the colourful characters
that lived in New York's Greenwich Village.
This is Greenwich Village, centred in and around Christopher Street,
on the west side of this traditionally bohemian district of Manhattan,
is a vast community of gay men.
We presented to America
six young guys, good-looking,
each one of them was one of the stereotype
of the American male.
It was like a comic strip or a bunch of superheroes to me.
You have your policeman, your leather man, your cowboy and your construction worker.
Everyone loves a bit of dress-up, don't they?
# It's fun to stay at the... #
I think the macho stereotypes are all the people that gay guys want to get off with, to be honest.
You know, it's all the gay, iconic, porno stars, I suppose.
I do remember thinking, "Oh, I quite like that."
You know, I'd wear that. I knew that my dad wouldn't really wear something like that.
I did think, "Maybe they're a bit more like me."
# Together, we will go our way.. #
Their unique look caught the public's imagination
and back in the late '70s, when the gay community was still fighting to be out and proud,
the Village People danced straight to the top of the charts and into the mainstream.
If it was perceived as one of the first gay bands, good, I'm happy about it.
# Tell our friends goodbye... #
There was a huge moment, I think, in liberation, wasn't it, really.
It did wave a sort of rainbow flag.
# Go west! Life is peaceful there... #
It got the message out there that it's all right to be out and proud.
It was a gay anthem and the family audience loved it, too.
But they had no idea it was about cruising for male company at a youth hostel.
Everyone knew Y-M-C-A, didn't they? Your dad and your uncle and the whole football team.
# Y-M-C-A... #
The melody and the dance just made it very
family friendly and you didn't really listen to the words.
You didn't really look at it as being gay because it was so overt.
So you thought, "No, it can't be."
It confused me in the '70s.
I thought, "Hold on, my uncle was a Y-M-C-A-er"
and then my dad started and then I was like, "Whoa! This is all wrong."
I don't think about the double entendre that there is in the lyrics.
I think only of the fact that someone is getting fun in doing the Y-M-C-A, that's all.
The original line-up may have changed a little but the Village People is still packing them in
on the gay nostalgia circuit and three decades on, hapless punters are still getting the moves wrong.
You've got to do a Y,
a great big Y. It's easy enough
but apparently it gets harder when we get to M, which is M -
not the monkey thing.
Is it possible to get Y, M, C, A wrong.
Not the Joan Crawford thing.
-Y, M, C, A.
-Then we say C and they all do it the wrong way.
-Is it that way, or that way.
-Did I just get it different. Like, maybe.
What do I do?
Then the A.
But you look out there...
And you see all kinds of variety.
So if you've been made to look an idiot when attempting the Y-M-C-A, you know who to blame.
A bit late for apologies.
# Body moving, body moving, body moving
# We be body moving Body moving, body moving... #
Well, we've almost reached our dance craze destination.
We've danced ourselves dizzy
and now it's time to find out what is pop's greatest dance craze.
So, it's over to me again.
# Body moving, keep your body moving
# Body moving, we be body moving... #
And so we arrive at the top of the list.
And the dance craze that is the craziest craze of all the crazes.
Which could it be?
It's Thriller by Michael Jackson.
A man who sums up the twin themes of dance and crazy more than any popstar who ever lived.
In this video he plays a zombie with eerie accuracy.
Clearly, his odyssey into the depths of plastic surgery gave him
a better understanding than most of how a zombie feels facially.
The results, as you are about to see, are quite spectacular.
I have something I want to tell you.
I'm not like other guys.
Of course not, that's why I love you.
No, I mean, I'm different.
In the beginning Michael's telling me that I'm not
like everyone else and I'm like, I know you're not.
He's like, no, I'm really not like anybody else.
Michael called me and basically
he'd seen American Werewolf In London
and wanted to turn into a monster.
Are you all right?
It is quite an amazing transformation he does.
The thing I used to really flinch at is when the claws come through the ends of his fingers.
There's that noise, isn't there? Krrr.
Released on December 2nd 1983 Thriller was a horror movie in a 13-minute music video.
An epic with the biggest and best dance number we'd ever seen.
Critics called it the greatest music video ever made and now we crown it Pop's Greatest Dance Craze.
# Cos this is thriller, thriller night... #
It was groundbreaking, you know, the video was incredible. The routine was brilliant.
-Everybody knows a bit of Thriller.
-# Thriller night... #
It was amazing, absolutely amazing. When you say Thriller now, my shoulders are going.
They're like zombies but they can dance.
I've never seen zombies that can dance.
They were cool dancing zombies.
That took my breath away because it was so intricate and so unique
and just these dancers, the way they executed it was just amazing.
Michael Jackson was a hot zombie.
You wouldn't care if his arm fell off. You would just, "Ooh, take me now."
It was cool because there were all kinds of moves in that scene You know, the iconic stuff.
There's no moves that you've ever seen that have been done again.
You have this move that goes chung, chung.
It's like everyone can do that.
Just lift your arms up, grab an apple and there you have it.
You've also got the one where he goes... The zombie.
I said I demand that the dancers have two weeks' rehearsal.
Rehearsal in a rock video is unheard of.
You know, they learn it the day before.
I said it's not quick cut, I want to do it like a dance number. Michael is a brilliant performer.
# Cos this is thriller! #
The video cost £800,000, an amount unheard of for a pop promo at the time.
The production had the kind of costumes and make-up that you'd expect in a Hollywood feature film.
Each individual dancer was in the make-up chair,
for, I would say, three to four hours apiece.
By the time you were finished, you looked in the mirror and it was really frightening.
You had this hideous premonition of possibly what you'll look like
after you've been in the ground for a period of time.
I'm going to show you my Thriller teeth, OK?
This is the bottom set.
This is the top set.
As you can see, just that alone, all of a sudden makes you somebody that you're not.
In 2007, Philippine prisoners became synonymous with the Thriller dance
after a video of 1,500 inmates went viral with 46 million recorded hits.
Thriller worked absolutely everywhere.
Look at the inmates in the Filipino jail. How fantastic is that?
You can take our freedom but you'll never take the dance away from us.
The theories of Michael Jackson are rehearse, rehearse, rehearse, rehearse, rehearse
and if you're doing 25 in jail, you've got time to
rehearse, rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.
Ever since the '80s Michael's fan have wanted to be part
of the Thriller experience by learning the routine.
I bought a magazine and on each page had a perforated thing of a foot.
Once you'd cut out these feet it had various diagrams where you could lay them out
to show you how to do Michael Jackson's most iconic dances.
That is like an Amish version of a dance mat, isn't it?
The late king of pop may be infamous for many reasons but tonight we pay homage and remember him
for his unparalleled ability to light up a dance floor and get us up and busting some moves.
-The whole world watched the dance.
I remember watching it with my parents and to think everybody sat there and watched that
and then the next day everyone's trying to get the dance.
Everyone had done Thriller at some point.
To be part of the Thriller dance was the greatest highlight of my career.
So! That's your lot. If, like me, you spent the whole show
dancing along to each and every song, then, like me, you probably stink.
Take a shower. Seriously, have a shower. Now.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Robert Webb hosts a top 50 countdown of the hippest, sexiest, quirkiest and campest dance crazes of the last 40 years.
Relive guilty pleasures, celebrate fast-footed heroes and scorn those annoying ones you thought were forgotten in a fun-filled romp through the archives.
Dance master Webb takes viewers by the hand and leads them to the dance floor to find out what the biggest and best dance crazes of all time are. What turns a simple bit of choreography into a worldwide phenomenon? What do Single Ladies, Thriller, Vogue, Oops Upside Your Head and the Macarena have that the Birdie Song and the Ketchup Song do not?
Featuring interviews with Melanie C, Louie Spence, Rufus Hound, Bradley Macintosh, Katy Brand, Craig Revel Horwood, Richard O'Brien, MC Hammer, Carl Douglas, the Village People, Jarvis Cocker, Suggs, Andrew Stone, Shappi Khorsandi, Lisa Scott Lee and Whigfield.
They get under the skin of where the moves originated, how they became a sensation, and - crucially for all dance-floor show-offs - how to recreate them.