Dance Master Robert Webb explains the high concept behind the robo-dance video for Daft Punk's Around the World. Plus the stories behind the routines for Hey Mickey and Praise You.
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Hello, I'm TV's Robert Webb, and tonight I'm going to tantalise you
with just a few of pop's greatest dance crazes.
Daft Punk Around The World is sort of like a weird modern music box.
You open up the lid and think, "What the hell is going on here?"
-It's the most bizarre video in the world.
-Visually, it was amazing.
It was so simple. Yet there was a lot going on.
Top pop video director Michel Gondry's vision
was to make each of the dancers represent the instruments.
It brought us some pretty crazy choreography.
So the synchronised swimmers are the high-pitched keyboard synth.
It's art, go with it.
What you are watching is the human representation
of what Daft Punk have created digitally.
It's an incredibly clever idea.
The tall B-boys symbolise the ascending and descending bass guitar.
The mummies are dancing in time with the song's drumbeat.
The itchy skeletons are the guitars.
And the astronauts represent the robot voice repeating that
one famous vocal over and over and over again.
I used to be able to do the skeleton dance.
My favourite thing is the random spacemen. Just walk around.
And then when they get to the front, they all get confused.
One of them turns back on himself. He's like that and going...
He goes, no, keep going forward and it's just a really nice little
ripple of that happening and you sort of think it's gone wrong but it hasn't.
Daft Punk brought robotics back. Thanks, Daft Punk!
Robo-dance was popular in the '80s,
back when a home computer was a Sinclair ZX80 or Commodore 64.
But if robotic dancers really wanted to mimic computers,
they should have moved like they were about to print a spreadsheet
before inexplicably freezing until they are put to sleep.
I think that the robot is up there with the greatest dance crazes.
At the point to the robot was revealed to the world,
I don't know a single human being who didn't then give it a go.
Oh, Mickey, you're so fine,
you're so fine you blow my mind, hey, Mickey.
I love a cheerleader, don't you?
At 45 in our Top 50 countdown is Mickey by Toni Basil.
She was a lady, by the way.
Toni, that is, not Mickey.
# Oh, Mickey, you're so fine
# You're so fine you blow my mind
# Hey Mickey, hey Mickey
Hey, Mickey, you're so fine,
you're so fine you blow my mind. Hey Mickey!
Hey Mickey! Hey, Mickey, you're so fine... Oh, I love that.
She had a little ra-ra, wasn't it, and with the pom poms.
They used to fall into splits at the end, of course. Yes, yes. Oh, Mickey Basil.
Toni Basil, even.
Whatever. I wasn't interested in her name, just in her skirt.
Toni Basil was choreographer to the stars before she donned
her old high school cheerleader outfit and topped the charts
in 1982 with this high-octane ditty.
# Hey Mickey
# You been around all night And that's a little long
When you think of Hey Mickey,
you think of high energy, and you think of cheerleading,
you think of Toni just looking hot.
I was on the floor with poms poms and mini-skirts, of course I did.
That's a really stupid question.
-Ooh, pardon me for asking.
-You know, dating a cheerleader isn't easy.
If you see those American cheerleaders, what they do,
it's an art form in itself.
# Oh, what you do, Mickey do, Mickey
# Don't break my heart, Mickey... #
It's actually quite a butch song.
It's not the most feminine dance.
It's really graaah!
# Oh, Mickey, what a pity you don't understand... #
She just looks a bit deranged throughout the whole dance.
Oh, Mickey, you're so fine You're so fine you blow my mind Hey, Mickey.
# Can't you understand... #
The main bit to remember was the...
that bit. Very, very, very sharp, jerking movements like that.
You roll your wrist and you point
at whoever you want to go home with that night. It's true.
It's such a macho dance!
# You take me by the heart when you take me by the hand... #
But Toni doesn't really mind a bit of butch,
just take a look at the cheerleaders in her video.
I think a couple of her dancers are really quite hefty young women,
but she used a couple of men
and dressed them up in a couple of cheerleading outfits, because of all the lifting.
I didn't realise that then.
Maybe that's why I thought they were quite cute.
It does answer a lot of questions now, actually.
Actually, Louis, it doesn't. That's in fact an urban myth.
The dancers you're drooling over were real cheerleaders
from Carson High California.
# What a pity you don't understand... #
Many of the dancers in our top 50 are about freedom and fun and having what I can only describe
as a gay old time, and that's fine, there's a place for that.
But it's not now, because the only way one can successfully perform the
dance to Fatboy Slim's Praise You is with the solemnity that it deserves.
I thank you.
# We've come a long long way together
# Through the hard times and the good
Praise you was a guerilla-style
video featuring the Torrance Community Dance Troupe.
This genuine-looking footage from 1999 sees them pitching up,
uninvited, to perform some wacky
dancing on the street outside an LA cinema.
It is almost like a drama class. It isn't a dance, it's a drama
class, but they're expressing themselves through movement.
Whatever they're taking, can I have some?
There's a routine of sorts, but it's a routine unlike
anything that would come out of a professional dance studio.
The video got everyone talking.
Was it amateur footage? Who were these people?
But those with too much time on their hands spotted Norman Cook
peering into the camera, which kind of gave the game away.
Turns out that they were professional dancers and the stunt
was the brainchild of troupe leader Spike Jonze.
Movie writer, promo director, and co-creator of Jackass.
We kind of did it like burglar style, so nobody knew that we were filming,
and even the people in the theatre
didn't know that we were out there doing, like, these crazy steps.
# I have to praise you like I should... #
I think it was the seriousness and how we played it
which made it even funnier, because we weren't playing it for laughs.
But you'd have to be pretty dumb to be taken in by this.
When I watched that video it was 100% real.
They meant every moment of it.
So that is genuine expression in that video.
You know when something's being faked and they were definitely mental.
I gave every step a funny name, so when we would do, like,
the broken pony.
Yeehaw! You're off to go in that broken pony land.
And then the second step is called the bad fish cos it's swimming in the wrong direction on the river.
But then another current comes along and you float the
other way and you're a bad fishie and you're stuck in the current.
As long as you danced weird, you kind of suited that...
It was, like, mysterious.
# Praise you... #
That's the sort of thing you can see yourself in your own front room.
I do, any way. Just sort of leaping around
and doing all that and thinking you're burning off calories.
It really wasn't a hit at the discos. Not at the time.
I don't think, if you're going to be in some disco
and taking you're date out, you're going to just go into a broken pony or do the bad fish, do the bad fish.
It's just not becoming. It's not style-wise, you know, romantic.
# I have to praise you... #