Growing Up Dancing
by Tommy Towery
The Two Step
I wrote last week I would expand on the first dance I learned to do - the two step. Well, I tried very hard to find a video of how I remember doing the dance, but today all the two-step videos are about how to do the country version of a two step dance.
The way I remember doing it was for me as the lead to step forward two steps, and then do one sideways step to the left I believe. I remember doing it to the count of one-two-one, while making very definite steps while doing so, and leaving at least a foot of space between me and the girl with which I was dancing.
Search as I may, I cannot find a video of anyone dancing that way, so it may have been a local (or family) version of the dance.
The Bunny Hop
With that being the case, I guess I will move on to the first group dance I ever learned - The Bunny Hop. I remember quite well doing this with my mother and her friends in the middle Fifties when I was about nine or 10. Here is some information I found on the internet about the dance.
The Bunny Hop has been generally done to Ray Anthony's big band recording of the song. It is a social mixer dance, sometimes also referred to as a "party" or "dance party" dance. The dance is a variation on a conga line. Participants dance in a line or a circle, holding on to the hips of the person in front of them. They tap the floor two times with their right foot, then with their left foot, then they hop forwards, backwards, and finally three hops forward to finish the sequence, which continues throughout the tune. The first person in the line or the open circle leads the group around the floor. The original 1952 recording was a vocal hit of the trendy dance, although a later Anthony instrumental version ( around 1955) was the only one commonly reissued.
Perhaps some of you might also remember this dance and can share your memories.
Memphis, TN - I was surprised to receive not one response from any of you readers sharing memories of your first dance. The only response I did receive was from someone who was not allowed to dance. I would have thought maybe James or Peggy Pierce or Craig or Jennifer Bannecke, or even Sally Stroud might have at least have a story to share, since they are all famous dancers. Perhaps they missed the call?
Anyway, since I have promised an expanded series on dances, I might have to go solo until some of you feel the beat and hit the floor with me.
Speaking of dances, Sue and I are headed to the birthplace of the Shag for a nice vacation. Hopefully we will have internet connection and can stay in touch.
This Week's Selection
by John Drummond
by Tommy Towery
"Walk Don't Run"
(Editor's Note: Since no one else stepped up to the jukebox this week, John found another virtual quarter one of my must have lost and dropped it into the slot to play the original version of this song.)
The Ventures were the first, and arguably best ever, guitar group, producing many classic songs without lyrics, beginning in the late 1950s. They appeared on "American Bandstand" with Dick Clark, performing "Walk, Don't Run" around 1959.
Looking back, we all know that singers on that show lip-synced to a recorded song, pretending to perform it live. The same was true for The Ventures, as their electric guitars were not hooked up by cord to an amplifier, leaving them free to jump all over the stage, faking it. At the time most of us probably never took notice, assumed we were watching a live performance, and loved it.
(Editor's Note: I normally despise remakes of songs, but in 1964 The Ventures issued a remake of their famous "Walk Don't Run" and called it "Walk Don't Run '64" which appeared to include some riffs from "Pipeline" and which I loved much more than the original.)
(Editor's Note: Finally, since I retired from the Air Force, I have to include one more version of "Walk Don't Run" which I think will surprise many of you. Please watch enough of it to see the surprise drummer.)
From Our Mailbox
Subject: No Dancing Back Then for Me
Ann Pat King Fanning
I really enjoyed this week's newsletter.... your first dance was so funny...wish I could have been there to see you pin on the corsage. Ironically, because of my dad's strong "beliefs" against dancing, I never went to a dance or even to prom. I think that is one reason I love our reunions so much. However, I managed to dance on roller skates, even tho' at the time I had no idea I was "dancing." Ha! Still I survived and enjoyed many memories of other school activities and all of our Lee friends. Wait! I almost forgot, Roy and I did "dance" at one or two of the reunions -- but I'm not certain if one could really call it "dancing." And I participated in the "Happy" Flash Mob Dance at this year's reunion.