I have fond childhood memories of mimicking classic music video dances, pulled from the likes of Weezer, Beck and Radiohead. And I may or may not have been standing in front of a mirror in my underwear as I did so. And it may not have been to Weezer — it may have been Britney Spears and N*SYNC. What?! Don’t judge. We’ve all been there, and don’t you lie about it.
Our elementary, middle school and high school dances were the main events — the arenas in which we’d put all our private practices to the test, if you will. When that familiar song came on, the performer in you would burst forth in an elegant display of pops, locks, spins, kicks and broken-down-doll poses as you mimicked those famous music videos. (At least, that’s what you thought. I can’t speak for everyone else looking on in either shock, awe or horror.)
No matter your particular brand of music at the time, there were handfuls of dances from famous music videos that everyone tried to do. Chalk it up to peer pressure, but it’s practically a matter of record that everyone was doing the Britney, the Michael, the Janet, the Backstreet Boys or what have you on the playground, in the parking lot, or… you know… standing in front of your mirror.
Let's take a walk down memory lane and relive some of these classic music video dances.
Let's face it, we were all Will & Grace's Jack MacFarland and Grace Adler, memorizing the moves of one of pop music's pioneers. If you could pull off the entire routine, you were considered a god amongst men.
"Bye Bye Bye" is full of hidden gems to mine, but speaks more to *NSYNC's signature dance style. The most famous one is, obviously, the titular sprinkler hand waves shown above. The others include the "no strings attached" and pop-'n'-lock moves.
When Madonna's "Vogue" came on the scene, all of our stark moves transformed into lush, fluid voguing. If you weren't pulling these moves off on the dance floor at some point in your younger lives, then you weren't fabulous, you were basic.
Who wasn't trying to be like Mike? "Thriller" was his most thrilling (wink, wink) music video of all. Aside from the moonwalk, which originated on stage at the Motown 25th Anniversary special after a performance of "Billie Jean," the iconic zombie is still being performed to this day. Though, I doubt we're any better than we were as kids.
Just for my fellow Millennials, there's something called a typewriter. It was used to type things on paper in a time without MacBooks. Yes, that ironic vintage accessory that some of you have sitting in your homes were actually used for something besides decoration. Then there's the typewriter dance move, which MC Hammer made famous — no, iconic — in his "U Can't Touch This" music video.
Who wasn't obsessed with this dance when they were a kid?
This is more of a personal staple, but there's no doubt Janet Jackson's moves in her "Rhythm Nation" video influenced the likes of Beyoncé, Britney Spears and Lady Gaga in the years to come. The head jostling, the sharp arm gestures and the attitude help the R&B/pop icon keep everything "in control!" And I definitely wanted a piece of that power.