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5 Favorite 60s Dance Moves

Updated on August 23, 2017

Dancing and Grooving to the Tunes - 60s Dance Moves

The 60s was a great decade. I know because I was there tripping the light fantastic with some great dance moves.

Everyone generally has some music and dance moves that take them back in time to their growing up years.

I learned the popular dances from my 3 older sisters and from other kids at school. My oldest sister won a huge container full of pennies when she took 1st Place in a Twist Contest held on a televised episode of "The Benny Carle" show back in the day.

She twisted it right on down to the ground (literally)! She was a big hit for Live TV!

Yes, I confess, I was on that show. My parents booked our birthdays there sometimes and took a group of kids up the mountain to the station to appear live. We were also on the "Johnny Evans" show. Tons of fun!

So here's a walk down memory lane, mine anyway, into 5 top 60s dance moves that hold a special place in my heart.

Intro Photo Designed in PhotoShop by Yours Truly

#1 - The Twist

I put this one first because I suppose it is the dance I did the most in the 60s. This is a dance move you've seen in many beach movies such as those starring Elvis, Annette Funicello, and Frankie Avalon.

Inspired by rock and roll music, the Twist Craze reached it's height of popularity in 1961, even though it remained a choice on the dance floor for many years to come. It was not only popular in the U.S. either; it was/is fun for people all over the world.

Many of those the young people called "stuffed shirts" back then had the opinion the Twist was too provocative. Other dances the Twist inspired include the Monkey, the Mashed Potato, the Watusi, and the Funky Chicken.

The Twist itself had its inspiration from the Hank Ballard song "The Twist" which then went on to be the only single to top the Billboard's Hot 100 list twice. It was Chubby Checker who popularized the dance style in 1960 when he presented his version of the dance at the Rainbow Club in 1960 when he was 18 years old.

Here's a video so you can step back in time to a 60s dance favorite. Maybe get up out of that chair and Dance Along!

Ready to dance?

As James Brown would so eloquently put it "Get Up Offa That Thing"

Let's Twist! - 60's Dancing Is Fun!

The Movie - The Help

Let's Twist Again!

I LOVE the movie "The Help!" One of my favorites!

That song "Let's Twist Again, Like We Did Last Summer" is a personal favorite and it is on that soundtrack.

I could watch that movie over and over again. I know that for a fact. Cause I already did!

Here's to the help! "H-E-L-P"

Twisting Time Is Here! - Let's Twist Again

#2 - The Jerk

I remember this one well. I was in elementary school in the mid 60's and did not have much of a "groove on" when it came to dancing. I sometimes would pick up a "version" of a dance and adapt it as best I could for the skills I had at the time.

I think my version of the Jerk was actually a combination of the Jerk and the Monkey.

Regardless, I still did this dance a lot, or some form of it anyway, and it was always a lot of fun. I liked the name of this dance, too, even though I don't think of myself as a jerk at all and didn't then either.

I did probably LOOK like a jerk when performing this dance move, though! But wasn't that the point?

Favorite Dances from the 60s - The Jerk

#3 - The Mashed Potato

The next video has some great clips of Sammy Davis, Jr. doing the Monkey, the Jerk, the Fruit, The Swim, and the Mashed Potato.

This dance was popular around 1962 and often the choice of moves to the song "Mashed Potato Time" sung by Dee Dee Sharp. You may remember the 1988 movie "Hairspray" which featured the original Dee Dee Sharp recording.

Sammy Davis, Jr. Does the Mashed Potato

Favorite Sixties Dance Moves

Which is Your Preferred 60s Dance Move?

#4 - The Swim

I always thought the Swim was just a whole lot of fun. I'd get so dramatic with this dance.

I copied others who showed me how to do the Swim, and at one point I'd pinch my nose with one hand as if fixing to jump in the water, and maneuver to the ground in a way that made it "appear" as if I'd done just that, fluttering the other hand in a "swim" wave as I went down. A really cool dance if you get your head around the "swimming" part.

Check out Bobby Freeman in the next video. It makes you want to put on your bathing suit and hit the beaches for some summer dancing fun.

After that, campfires, a clam bake, a marshmallow roast, and some slow dancing!

I see Annette and Frankie coming now!

Bobby Freeman Does the Swim - Let's Head to the Beach!

Photo Courtesy Vojsek at PhotoXpress

#5 - The Madison

Not sure I'm really coordinated enough for the Madison, but I'd give it go in the right crowd!

I come from a family of 5 children, and with 3 older sisters there were sometimes parties and music and dancing and it was fun to watch them pull off cool dances like the Madison.

This is done as a line dance that is still performed today. This dance is also featured in the movie "Hairspray" and is still performed in the Broadway version of the "Hairspray" musical.

Looks like a lot of fun in the video below!

The Madison Dance from circa 1963

Favorite 60s Dance Moves

What was your favorite 60s dance move?

See results

And in closing, I give you Lurch and Wednesday... - Adams Family

Got 'dem moves on...

Got some dance move news you'd like to share? - Please do!

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    • profile image

      Tom 2 years ago

      I like the swim dance :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      As a teenager I delighted in most of these dances. Thanks for digging up a few old memories.

    • profile image

      clayva 5 years ago

      That was a perfect ending with lurch and wednesday! Yes, the Madison looked odd but I guess they did it anyway!

    • Ardyn25 profile image

      Ardyn25 5 years ago

      Awesome lens!

    • beckyf profile image

      beckyf 5 years ago

      Fun lens! The only dance move I wasn't familiar with was the Madison.

    • Karli McClane profile image

      Psycho Free Zone 5 years ago from USA

      Fun lens - love the videos!

    • profile image

      santadelcobre 5 years ago

      Thank you for this lens, I really enjoyed it and you made me laugh watching the videos!!

    • Close2Art LM profile image

      Close2Art LM 5 years ago

      fun lens, time to dance...angel Blessings

    • ShariSmith profile image

      ShariSmith 5 years ago

      i'm starting to love 60s dance maneuvers now!

    • profile image

      ZarisaMontgomery 5 years ago

      Definitely some great music and dances in the sixties!

    • Deadicated LM profile image

      Deadicated LM 5 years ago

      I was a little late to the party being born in 1964; but I did pretty good when it came to the torch being passed to me, I went to about 250 Grateful Dead concerts. Great Lens about a very interesting and somewhat complicated time in our history.

    • filmic profile image

      filmic 5 years ago

      Ha! great idea for a lens! well put together too!

    • RazzbarryBreeze profile image

      RazzbarryBreeze 5 years ago

      Great lens.. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

    • meloyelo profile image

      meloyelo 5 years ago

      Great list! I found myself smiling at every video. Anyone attending a 60's-themed party would really knock the socks of the dance floor after seeing this article!

    • writerkath profile image

      writerkath 5 years ago

      I don't think I could do any of this in public anymore! :)

    • Cabmgmnt LM profile image

      Corey 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      This is a fantastic lens, my mother used to show us all these dance moves when we were kids. We would have our own 60's dance party while helping in the kitchen. Thanks!