Strolling through American teen-dance history 1

Dancing to a hit song of late 1957, “The Stroll” by The Diamonds, these kids clearly did not get the memo that being a teen in in the ’50s was a boss thing to be. Their charming shyness — and, ahem, terrible dancing — is precious. And it’s the polar opposite of today’s Tweeting, Instagraming, self-promoting youngsters.

Televised teen dance-party programs are getting intense scrutiny, these days, by dance historian Julie Malnig. A book is on the horizon. Friend of arts·meme, Steve Vilarino was a teen dance-party devotee but in a later era than this video. Steve danced in the sixties.

Speaking of the ’60s, this is a wild one, below. It juxtaposes teenagers doing The Stroll in both 1957 and ’68, with a decade of cultural revolution separating the two videos.

One comment on “Strolling through American teen-dance history

  1. Jim Feb 23,2019 1:30 am

    I’d usually not bother suggesting bad dance on film to anyone, but here’s an interesting comparison for you with what was happening in conservative Sixties West Germany. One broadcaster decided to put on a learn to dance programme, introduced by married couple and professional dance teachers Ernst and Helga Fern, Tanzparty mit dem Ehepaar Fern (Ehepaar is the german word for married couple). By the standards of the time it was very slickly produced, the Ferns would demonstrate two dances a week to a group of five to ten couples, and it was all done live and with an decent sized group of musicians in the studio. Half of each programme would be pretty uncontroversial, focussing on the established classics, like the waltz. But then every week Ernst would try to keep up with what he believed were modern trends, create a style of dancing with a modern sounding name, and in doing so show himself to be one of the worst choreographers ever recorded on film. Here are a couple of his funniest:

    The Wiggle-Twist
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVetRSYfbUk

    The Bro-Bro
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1rxqMkfyBo

    The Pop Art
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=elt28cN555A

    And if you watch enough episodes you will eventually find one where Helga gets to speak, rather than just gaze adoringly at her man. It really was another age.

Leave a Reply