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Dance Craze ~ Twist Nostalgia in 1960 Era ~ Chubby Checker

Updated on March 4, 2017
Peggy W profile image

I have many fond memories of growing up as a child in the 1950s in Wisconsin. The 1960s saw many changes including a family move to Texas.

Nostalgic memories of the fun we had during the 1960s dancing the TWIST made famous by Chubby Checker popped into my head the other day.

Talk about terrific exercise and fun...that was a dance that accomplished it all!

This goes back in time when I was in high school and I vividly remember slumber parties with my girlfriends when we would try out the various dance moves of the day and talk about the boys whom we wished would ask us for dates.

Generally speaking most of those wishes never came to fruition...but it did not stop our speculating and dreaming about what it would have been like to have dated this young man or that handsome fellow.

We would practice the dance moves so that we would be prepared for those dates if and when they would occur.

The TWIST was a favorite!

My brothers and me in the heyday of the twist era...1960s
My brothers and me in the heyday of the twist era...1960s | Source

"Let's Twist Again"

Chubby Checker and The Twist

The song, "The Twist" got almost everybody up on the floor dancing...or at least wanting to dance.

The picture at the top of this page portrays both of my brothers and me during the time of the 1960s when Chubby Checker burst upon the scene with his hit single "The Twist." This picture was taken probably around 1965 or somewhere near that date.

Chubby Checker's real name was Ernest Evans and he was born on October 3, 1941.

One of his schoolmates was Fabiano Forte who later became known as Fabian. I can clearly remember many a girl swooning over Fabian!

Working at the Produce Market in South Philadelphia, Ernest picked up his nickname of Chubby which morphed into Chubby Checker for his first television broadcast.

Chubby Checker debuted at The Clay Cole Show in New York when he first introduced The Twist in July of 1960.

He had many other hit songs through the years which also became popular some of which include the following:

  • The Huckleback
  • The Fly
  • Dance the Mess Around
  • Pony Time
  • Let's Twist Again
  • Slow Twistin'
  • Limbo Rock
  • Twistin' USA

and there were others.

My Dad
My Dad | Source

This video shows people still doing the Twist in 2007 and having fun!

Chubby Checker's The Twist was known for getting adults up on the dance floor and joining their teens in this dance.

From a personal perspective, I can verify that it had my entire family up and learning how to do The Twist.

My Dad was an expert!

He could not only do the dance moves as well as any teenager, but he could do it double time! It was so much fun having him join our twisting parties with not only family but some friends we had over as well. I am certain that he amazed my girlfriends with his aptitude for that particular dance.

My Dad was an excellent dancer in general.

In performing the twist dance, he would not only be gyrating back and forth but lower himself almost to the floor by bending his knees and then slowly rise up again all the while keeping to the beat of the song.

The grin on his face while performing was priceless!

My Dad was always jovial and a fun character as most all of my friends back then would attest.

He was light on his feet and quite athletic in his day. I guess it just translated well into his rendition of doing Chubby Checker's The Twist . I am smiling just thinking back to those days of family fun and times we shared together.

Doing The Twist was fun and also great exercise at the same time. We were burning calories, toning our bodies and having a blast at the same time which was certainly a winning combination.

Did you ever dance The Twist made popular by Chubby Checker?

See results

Other Dance Crazes in the 1960s

There were other dance crazes in the sixties, but none as popular and long lasting as The Twist.

A few of the others included these:

  • The Madison
  • Mashed Potato
  • The Mambo
  • The Pony
  • Watusi
  • The Monkey
  • The Swim
  • The Monster Mash
  • The Locomotion

Slow dancing and partners holding their other half will always be popular. But The Twist made it OK to go out on the dance floor unaccompanied and join in with the mass of others just enjoying the beat of the song and keeping time to the music.

Hopefully you enjoyed this nostalgic look back into the 1960s when the dance craze The Twist by Chubby Checker broke onto the scene and impacted my life and many others around the globe.

© 2009 Peggy Woods

Comments are welcomed.

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    • Peggy W profile image
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      Peggy Woods 20 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello Druca Fate,

      So glad you enjoyed the video showing Chubby Checker and his twist dance.

    • profile image

      Druca Fate 20 months ago

      I adored the video! Many thanks for share it.

    • Peggy W profile image
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      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Au fait,

      Glad you liked this hub about the twist and Chubby Checker. HP has not featured it due to quality. Perhaps it was too personal? Oh well! At least hubbers can still see it.

      It is sizzling down here also. I also remember the summers up in Wisconsin when I was a child. No triple digit numbers like here in Texas back then. Stay cool up there!

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 2 years ago from North Texas

      Your father must have been doing the Peppermint Twist, another song and dance made famous by Chubby Checker. It was slightly more complicated and faster. www.youtube.com/watch?v=tF80F79rywM

      Voted up, interesting, and shared with followers.

      Hope you are staying cool. We are into the triple digits daily and should peak at 107 in a couple of days. When I was growing up in Wisconsin 80 degrees was a hot day. Yesterday's low temp was 81.

    • Peggy W profile image
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      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Charlu,

      I'm in the same boat as you from the sounds of it. Easier to get down but not as easy to get back up with these aged knees. Ha! The twist was really fun and would still be good exercise if dancing to it today.

      My dad was a fun and great guy in so many ways. Everybody loved him! Thanks for your comment and votes.

    • Charlu profile image

      Charlu 5 years ago from Florida

      I use to love the twist and the "How low can you go?" from the song. Now if I tried that I'd be doing the commercial "I've fallen and I can't get up" I wonder how famous he would have been if he had used Ernest Evans?? Your dad sounds like a great guy. Voted all the ups except funny.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Gail,

      I have not had the occasion to try a hula hoop in a long time, but would probably not be able to do it either. Can still do the twist dance, however! :))

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 5 years ago from South Carolina

      Funny how our minds work. I thought of the hula hoop, too, when I read this hub. Yes, as a kid I was great at keeping that hoop going. Tried it several different times as an adult and absolutely couldn't do it!

    • Peggy W profile image
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      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Happyboomernurse,

      I was also never the most coordinated person on the planet but could do the twist and at the time, a pretty good show of keeping a hula hoop going. Ha! My Dad did have a great smile. Thanks for your comment.

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 5 years ago from South Carolina

      Wonderful, nostalgic hub about the twist which was one of the few dances I could do. I've always been uncoordinated, but as you said in this hub the twist was one of those dances that got almost everyone up and it could be done simply, or fancy and with flair as your dad apparantly did it.

      Thanks for this fun trip down memory lane. You look gorgeous in that photo with your brothers and I love the picture of your dad. What a great smile!

    • Peggy W profile image
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      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello Sun-Girl,

      Nice thing about the Twist is that even if not a great dancer in other respects, most people can do a fairly credible Twist dance. And...it's fun! Glad you enjoyed this and thanks for your comment.

    • Sun-Girl profile image

      Sun-Girl 6 years ago from Nigeria

      Great hub which i so much like though i can't really dance well but that doesn't mean i can,t twist what my mama gave to me.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi KoffeeKlatch Gals,

      I know what you mean about our knees not being what they were when younger and enjoying the dance craze of Chubby Checker's twist. Those were the days! Ha! Thanks for the comment.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Haze 6 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Peggy, i remember doing the twist. I bet if my knees could stand it it would be a heck of a workout. What a way to shed weight. That must be why I was so slender growing up, I was always doing the twist. Thanks for the memories.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Pat,

      Actually it makes sense that doing the twist would be easier in sock clad feet as opposed to shoes...unless it was a smooth leather bottom and nicely waxed surface dance floor. Oh...those were the days...the 1960's! Haha!

    • 2patricias profile image

      2patricias 6 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

      Hi Peggy,

      When "The Twist" first came out I was too young to go to dances. The boy next door was about 3 or 4 years older, and he announced that we would teach outselves how to dance the twist. We practised in his mother's kitchen on the polished floor. I wore socks on my feet and soon I could do it really well.

      Some time later my mother said that I could go to a dance. To my surprise, it was much harder to dance the twist wearing shoes!

      Happy days - thanks for the memory.

      Pat

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Tony,

      40+ years ago now when Chubby Checker broke out with that dance craze, the twist. The 1960's...doesn't seem that long ago but like your knees...mine tell me that it was a while back. Haha!

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 6 years ago from South Africa

      Ah yes! What a wave of nostalgia for those days of fun and dancing! Can you believe we're talking 40 years ago! No wonder my knee is aching right now!

      Thanks for the memories.

      Love and peace

      Tony

    • Peggy W profile image
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      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Micky,

      You can come back and visit this Chubby Checker hub about The Twist dance popular in the 1960's and afterwards anytime you like. :-)

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 6 years ago

      Peggy, I was wandering around, got lost and wound right back here where I've been before! I'll just have to dance on some buttons and find another! God bless you Dear!

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi billyaustindillon,

      Ah yes...the twist and older knees (speaking of mine) don't seem to go together as well as younger knees. Oh well...still brings a smile to my face.

    • billyaustindillon profile image

      billyaustindillon 7 years ago

      A classic dance - had fun doing the twist but I don;t think my knees appreciate it now, One of the best renditions is the twist scene from Pulp Fiction - classic.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Not weird at all. Nostalgic! :-)

    • oscillationatend profile image

      oscillationatend 7 years ago from a recovering narcissist.

      Well, in these times..kinda hard to justify having such large machines when an iPod can do both. I miss it, though. Especially the sight and sound..smell..I know, weird.

    • Peggy W profile image
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      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi oscillationatend,

      I know that when my parents and grandparents moved to Texas from Wisconsin, many things were also left behind. We used to have a great rec room in our basement with ping pong table, etc. My dad's mother had a pinball machine in her basement. Have no idea what happened to it either.

    • oscillationatend profile image

      oscillationatend 7 years ago from a recovering narcissist.

      Sadly, Peggy, when we ventured west to California we departed with much of our oversized possessions. The Jukebox I'm sure is still kicking around in a parlor, though.

      There was also three arcade cabinets and a pinball game...I really have no idea how we ended up with such a basement of fun.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi oscillationatend,

      Do you still have that jukebox and the twist 45 record? Would probably be a collector's item by now. I got rid of all my old 45's years ago.

    • oscillationatend profile image

      oscillationatend 7 years ago from a recovering narcissist.

      I love the twist--great song. We had a 45 of it in this old jukebox that my dad somehow acquired when I was younger.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Ben,

      You ARE indeed a charmer! :-) As to "The Madison"...never did that one so I can't help you with that.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBeAqPwmZx8 Here is a link for you regarding The Madison. You will now know as much as I do. Looks like fun!

    • Ben Zoltak profile image

      Ben Zoltak 7 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Hey Peggy, on the way to the South Dakota Vacation article of yours I got distracted by the hottie in the bullet bra! Lo and behold it's you! What a looker! Anyway, great hub, it must have been something to here this song on the radio, the first to really break out of couples/swing dancing, what a great time to be alive. I've always been a fan of Chubby's "I want to walk you home song." I sing it myself all the time. I also want to know, what "The Madison" dance was?

      Ben

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi BkCreative,

      Hearing Chubby Checker and the Twist certainly is nostalgic for many of us. I would have joined you in that street fair! A Twist Party.......sounds like FUN!!!!! :-) Thanks for your great comments.

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Love the twist - it is time to bring it back because it was a dance almost anyone can do. Perhaps it is time for me to have a twist party. Hmmm.

      Anyway last summer a friend and I went to a street fair and one vendor actually played Chubby on the best sound system ever. I tell you I was not embarrassed to step out there by myself and do the twist - even mix it up a bit. It just does that to me.

      Oh, yes, it's time for a party!

      Thanks for this fun hub!

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello Truth From Truth,

      Yes, Chubby Checker's Twist and Shout song certainly does get a group up and moving! Thanks for the fun comment.

    • Truth From Truth profile image

      Truth From Truth 7 years ago from Michigan

      Twist and shout was an excellent song, it gets crowds going when they play it at basketball games. Twist and shout along with many other songs of his are in many movies also.

      Thanks.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Sally's Trove,

      Since you were introduced to the Twist at the YMCA, you know how much fun that dance could be. Thanks for the mention of my Dad. He was so much fun! Enjoyed your comment.

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      What a great look back in time. I remember trying the Twist as a young teenager at our local YMCA, as part of a summer activities program. Bless the director of that program! She had our adolescent selves getting on with the music.

      LOVE the photo of and the words about your dad.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Rose,

      Glad that this twist dance article brought back good memories for you. Good for you...still doing the Twist when it is played! Thanks for the comment and enjoy your dancing.

    • Rose Kolowinski profile image

      Rose Kolowinski 7 years ago

      Thanks for the memories, Peggy! I'm more of a country dancer, but I still get out and do the Twist whenever it is played!

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello jill of alltrades,

      I agree! Those nostalgic days of dancing the twist and listening to Chubby Checker just do not seem that long ago...although more than a few years have definitely passed. Glad you enjoyed this and keep dancing the twist!

    • jill of alltrades profile image

      jill of alltrades 7 years ago from Philippines

      Ha ha...that dates us, but so what, I also enjoyed the twist and all of those other moves! Those were really fun days!

      Thanks for bringing up those happy memories Peggy! I love dancing!

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello The Old Hack,

      Haha! I can relate to that remark! Lots of bobbing up and down in my day also. At least the twist had some actual moves that defined it from some of that other "dancing." Thanks for the comment.

    • The Old Hack profile image

      The Old Hack 7 years ago

      It sounds great fun. I was bought-up during the disco era when everyone lost the ability to dance and just bobbed up and down to the music.

    • Peggy W profile image
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      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello loveroflife,

      Golden oldies indeed! The Twist dance and others from the 1960's certainly qualify as such. Thanks for the comment.

    • profile image

      loveroflife 7 years ago

      Great memories of the golden oldies.

    • Peggy W profile image
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      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Dolores,

      You undoubtedly get enough exercise on a daily basis without thoughts of doing the twist. Ha! But fun to remember that dance and others...right? Thanks for the comment.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 7 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Peggy, I remember doing the Twist as well as some of those other dances, the Pony and the Swim and I dimly recall one called the Watusi. Nowadays just the thought of doing the Twist gives me a back ache!

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello bearclawmedia,

      Happy to hear that you also enjoyed dancing the twist by Chubby Checker. That was so much fun! Thanks for the comment.

    • bearclawmedia profile image

      bearclawmedia 7 years ago from Mining Planet Earth

      You are the best, I love your hubs. Yes, I danced the twist. Thanks again

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Mike,

      Enjoyed your ending..."As Bob Hope used to sing, Thanks for the memories." Memories of Chubby Checker's twist dance and the 1960's does it for me! That home movie your parents made is such a fun reminder of your early years. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • Mike Lickteig profile image

      Mike Lickteig 7 years ago from Lawrence KS USA

      My parents have some home movies of me as a small boy dancing so vigorously to the Twist I lost my balance. I remember the Monster Mash and the Locomotion, but not how to do them. Anyone remember an old Elvis movie called "Girl Happy"? He sang a song called "Do the Clam," or something like that, and I remembered reading the film's producers hoped it would become another dance craze. But, it never did....

      As Bob Hope used to sing, Thanks for the memories. This was a fun hub.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello GNelson,

      Happy to have brought back memories for you of Chubby Checker's the twist. As to going to a barn dance...no. That is something I've missed. Have you gone to barn dances? Thanks for the comment.

    • Peggy W profile image
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      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi dahoglund,

      Much as I enjoyed dancing, I married a guy who is not crazy about it. So I am very much out of practice these days. Nice thing about the twist...one does not need a partner! Ha! You mentioned the polka. Now THAT is an energetic dance that will get the heart pumping! Did just a little of that in earlier days. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.

    • Peggy W profile image
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      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Celesta,

      Nice to see you here! You mentioned so many of those other dances that were also popular around the same time as the twist. Are you teaching Cain any of them? Good and fun exercise as you mentioned. Thanks for the comment.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Micky Dee,

      Yes...there are apparently many others who also enjoyed the dance craze, the twist. Were you one of them? Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • Peggy W profile image
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      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Greetings Kathryn Plasencia,

      Good for you!...twisting with your kids. As you said, it is great exercise and so much fun at the same time. Guess The Twist Dance will stay alive as long as people like you keep introducing it to the next generation. Chubby Checker started something that has taken on a life of its own. Thanks for the comment.

    • Peggy W profile image
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      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Ethel,

      So you and your Dad also enjoyed The Twist. Nice! Let's not talk about the old knees...OK? I'd rather think about the days when mine were also more limber. Ah...Youth! :-)

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Pete,

      Those days of dancing the Twist and the other ones you mentioned were fun, weren't they! Sounds like you tried almost all of them out. Still dance any of them?

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello DiamondRN,

      Congratulations on winning those twist contests! Obviously you and Gayle were very good doing that fun dance together. Happy to have sparked this fun memory for you, and thanks for the comment.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Hello, hello,

      Yes, those were carefree days for many of us who enjoyed the 1960's and Chubby Checker's Twist dance. Fun times! Glad you enjoyed them also. Thanks for the comment.

    • GNelson profile image

      GNelson 7 years ago from Florida

      Wow! Brings back memories. Ever go to a barn dance?

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      I remember Chubby Checkers and always liked rock a billy and other such music. I'm afraid I am not a very good dancer. Partners tended to avoid me when it came to polkas or anything more complicated than the Lindy.

    • profile image

      Celesta 7 years ago

      Your waist tells the story. Good exercise for the waistline. I still dance. I like the Monkey, Jerk, Mash Potato, Pony, Hucklebuck and the Fly. Any of these dance maneuvers will give you a good work out.

      This is a good hub, Peggy...Just keep on dancing the night away!

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 7 years ago

      Lot of "twisters" here! Thanks

    • Kathryn Plasencia profile image

      Kathryn Plasencia 7 years ago from USA

      LOVE this! Thank you! I may only be in my 20s, but I do the twist with my kids all the time. It's a great way to exercise my mommy hips and act silly with the little ones at the same time. And now I have links to the video so they'llno I'm not just making it up =P

    • ethel smith profile image

      Eileen Kersey 7 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      I can't dance but I can twist. Well if my old knees will let me these days.

      Yes my Dad liked to twist also.

    • Pete Maida profile image

      Pete Maida 7 years ago

      I like The Twist. I really like the Jerk and The Monkey. Mickey's The Monkey I think was the best song of all of the dance songs follow by the Locomotion.

    • DiamondRN profile image

      Bob Diamond RPh 7 years ago from Charlotte, NC USA

      Thanks for the memory, Peggy.

      When I was in high school we would have dances on Friday nights after the football games. There was almost always a Twist contest. Me and my partner Gayle were frequent winners. What a blast!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      Oh, Peggy, you bringing back all my youth. Thank you and it was such a lovely time. We were so carefree.

    • Peggy W profile image
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      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Candie,

      Thanks for the condolences. Yes...I could definitely tell some stories and may work on that in the future.

    • Candie V profile image

      Candie V 7 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

      Ah Peggy, I'm so sorry to hear that! You probably have some stories of them you could share?

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Candie,

      Hula hoops were also fun! Loved doing that as well as doing the Twist. Per your question...sad to say...both of my brothers have gone on to the next life. Not fair as I am the oldest! I'll agree with you that they were both handsome fellows. Thanks!

    • Candie V profile image

      Candie V 7 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

      OOOOH!! What fun!! I can't dance worth a lick, but for those that can.. this is fun! Funny tho, cuz I could hula hoop like crazy! Kinda the same hip twirl thing!! By the way.. you have handsome brothers... are they.. um... available.. per chance?? HAHAHA!! (ok, I'm not kidding)