Let's Do The Twist!

Jan 17, 2016 By Jake Brannon

Dance crazes may come and go, but people's love for moving to the beat of a song is something that'll never disappear. Recently, the Whip/NaeNae dance has been dominating dance clubs, schools and even football fields across the country. The steps are simple and the beat is catchy, making it a dance craze that'll be remembered for years to come. But before dancers were asking you to watch them "whip," or showing off their best "stanky leg," teenagers were dancing to what some have called America's first dance craze: The Twist.

The Twist was made famous by Chubby Checker in 1960, but, believe it or not, people were dancing those classic moves long before Checker ever sang that tune. Hank Ballard was the first artist to record and release "The Twist" in 1959 after he saw teenagers in Florida doing the dance. Then, Dick Clark, host of the popular television program American Bandstand, noticed how popular the dance was becoming. Seeing the potential for wider appeal, Dick Clark urged Cameo Records to have Chubby Checker rerecord Ballard's song. They took his advice, and, later that year, Chubby Checker released his own version of the song that would make the dance an all-out craze by 1960.

The Twist stayed popular for a number of years, and was even rereleased in 1962. But, just like anything that's popular among teenagers, it became "uncool" as soon as parents and adults were mimicking the moves. In 2012, over 4,000 people set the world record for "Most People Twisting in the Streets At Once" when Chubby Checker sang the song in DeLand, Florida. It just goes to show that over 50 years later, people are still excited to do the dance that goes a little something like this ...

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