Contra dancing hails from 17th-century English country dances and French dances. Couples partner up for the folk-style moves, though it can be performed in groups or lines of dancers facing each other. It’s a social dance that’s catching on with a whole new generation, according to a new report from the Wall Street Journal.
“In one of the latest revivals of all things old-timey, more millennial New Yorkers are choosing to spend their Friday and Saturday nights sober and dancing in circles with strangers,” writes Tyler J. Kelley. “Contra offers young urbanites an inclusive atmosphere where they can work up a little sweat away from the gym and touch human beings instead of screens.” Currently, the dance is taking off in Brooklyn where monthly events have reached peak popularity.
Dance fads can reveal a lot about a generation. Twerking has been the dance craze of late, but its ties to traditional West African dances show the move has been around for ages. Still, many people find it bizarre and offensive.
For fun (since we respect dance as an art form in all forms of expression), here are ten other weird dance fads that caught on like crazy.
The “Oops Upside Your Head” Dance
With roots in funk music and anthems reminiscent of early hip hop, R&B group The Gap Band’s 1979 single “I Don’t Believe You Want to Get Up and Dance (Oops!)” is more popularly known as the “Oops Up Side Your Head” song. Like most great anthems, there’s a dance that goes along with it — if you can call sitting on the floor in rows and rocking around “dancing.”
The “Stanky Legg”
“Stanky Legg” was a hit 2008 single from Texas hip hop group the GS Boyz. Urban Dictionary-esque meanings for “stanky” aside — all of them pretty gross — the foul-sounding Stanky Leg dance involves moving your leg in a shaky, circular motion.
The “Meatstick” Dance
If you’re speaking the language that jam rock icons Phish are talking, then the Meatstick is for you. The name doesn’t exactly conjure pleasant images, but fans are crazy for it: From Phish.net:
“Meatstick” proudly emerged from the abattoir at the Lakewood Amphitheatre on 7/3/99. The now-legendary international dance craze — the “Meatstick” dance — was unveiled by the entire crew the following day in a reprise of the song at the conclusion of a monstrous “Carini” encore. It was suggested by Trey [Anastasio] that the “Meatstick” dance would be bigger than the “Macarena.”
The “Gangnam Style” Dance
Since we’ve all endured the “Gangnam Style” pistachios commercial like troopers, we’ll just say that musician Psy really knows how to milk the most out of a horse trot.
Because you want to look like a monkey holding two bananas when you stroll up in the club.
The Chicken Dance
Nothing good ever comes from performing dances named after barnyard animals when you’re an adult — like the chicken dance, which originated in the 1950s. Please stop it, wedding people.
Daggering, which is the nicest way to describe this dance combination of dry humping, wrestling, body slamming, and rough play, originated from Jamaican dancehall and has only recently been given a name. Doctors are reporting men with broken penises due to vigorous daggering — and we can only imagine what complication the women are seeing as male partners often jump from great heights to slam between their legs.
Waacking is basically dancing for your arms with lots of posing and some footwork. It started popping up in clubs during the 1970s, though many Americans probably watched it for the first time on Soul Train. Its interpretive qualities offer dancers freedom of expression, but waacking can also look like you’re having a major meltdown (then again, so can many dances, like moshing). It’s similar to voguing, but dancer Aus Ninja says: “Waacking is more fluent, you hit poses, but in between poses you’re still hitting the beat with your hands and your body moving all across the floor. Vogue is just posing, and vogue is what you do in between the pose, so it’s like posing and then the transition between the next pose.”
“The Robot is just the Pony,” says godfather of all dance crazes Chubby Checker. He made the “The Twist” dance popular, before introducing this galloping move for his song 1961 song “Pony Time.” With feet together and a bouncy trot, pony dancers indeed look like herds of ponies on the dance floor — which isn’t always the best look when you’re trying to show you’ve got game.
It’s catchy (like an STD), and it’s utterly ‘90s. The dance for 1995 international hit single “Macarena” by Spanish pop-dance duo Los del Río brought attention to Latino music and became an anthem for Latino communities around the world. The downside to the “Macarena’s” popularity is that it’s one of the most annoying songs we can recall and has tormented wedding guests for over a decade.